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Confessions of a Female Barber
by Cody Moore, photography by Kayla Broadway

Defying the odds within Jonesboro’s barber scene, Jera Cobb remains one of three female barbers in the city. Cobb opened her own barber shop, Jera Cobb Barberia, in 2017; there, she strives to provide quality services to her loyal customer base.

A native of Jonesboro, Cobb didn’t think she would end up in the barbering business after graduating from high school. She attended college at both Arkansas State University and Harding University in Searcy, where she constantly found herself changing her degree focus.

“I changed majors from math to education to chemistry until finally just dropping out,” said Cobb. “Cosmetology was pretty much an afterthought. I figured that it could be a good source of income until I had more direction for a degree path.”

Cobb attended the Arkansas Academy of Hair Design in Jonesboro in 2008, where she earned her cosmetology license. She then worked in Jonesboro doing hair before moving to Austin, Texas, in 2010.

“When I moved to Austin, I took the first job offered to me,” said Cobb. “The experience from this corporate position not only taught me that I wasn’t an efficiency stylist, but also caused me to lose my passion for hair.”

After her passion for doing hair began to deteriorate, Cobb found herself applying to Austin Community College in 2011, where she began an associate program in biotechnology.

“After two semesters and two family members’ deaths, depression caused me to not be able to complete my degree,” said Cobb. “In 2012, I took a full time stylist and management position at the headquarters for Sport Clips in Georgetown, Texas. There, I got to learn about fades, beards, trending styles, products and grooming.”

After deciding to move back to Jonesboro in 2013, Cobb found herself working for a local barber in Downtown Jonesboro.

“I think, initially, my interest for being a barber began in 2012, but the vision wasn’t clear until I started working with a barber downtown in 2014,” said Cobb. “It was then that I realized that the majority of my generation had never been to a barber. I watched this barber as he did hot towel straight razor shaves and decided that I wanted to offer these types of services to potential customers.”

Cobb received her barbering license in 2017 after attending the Northeast Arkansas School of Barbering. It was during this schooling that Cobb also received her crossover license, something that most barbers in Northeast Arkansas don’t have.

“I wanted this license so that I was able to offer services that legally include the use of a straight razor,” said Cobb.

Cobb went on to open her own shop, Jera Cobb Barberia. She said she chose the word “barberia” for her business, as it is the Latin word for barbershop. After first opening along Stallings Road in 2017, she moved to her current location in the Carousel Beauty Salon.

“My mission is to provide exemplary barbering services using classic techniques paired with a modern twist,” said Cobb. “Set in a laid-back environment, my expertise suits the needs of all: the bearded and the smooth, the groomed and the rugged, the casual and the professional. Clients will always leave my barber chair with the knowledge and confidence to recreate their fresh look.”

Something that separates Cobb’s barber shop from others is the fact that she can provide certain services, such as the use of the straight razor, to her clients. She also works to educate each of her clients on their hair and how to maintain their style the proper way.

“I truly enjoy educating clients on home maintenance,” said Cobb. “This way, each haircut keeps structure until the next appointment.”
Though she remains strong most of the time, being a female barber in a male-dominated field can sometimes add pressure.

“I have at times faced discrimination from some male barbers,” said Cobb. “This further motivates me to create the right environment in my own shop, one that is totally inclusive.”

Cobb mostly finds herself focusing on the positive aspects of her profession, primarily being able to help her clients look and feel their best.

“For example, it’s hard to beat helping a groom feel confident about his wedding day look,” said Cobb. “In addition, I get to talk to a range of people all day, exchanging ideas and learning from one another. I have made many friends over the years.”

Though most of her clients are men, Cobb also allows women to visit her shop for standard cuts and colors. Jera Cobb Barberia not only offers haircuts and fades, but beard trims, mustache trims, razor shaves, eyebrow services, neck trims and more.

“The average client books for a haircut and beard package,” said Cobb. “During the summer, the trending cut was a skin fade crop; short and easy maintenance. I anticipate more beard work trending in the fall and winter.”

In addition to owning her own barbering business, Cobb has also recently started a nonprofit organization, The Jonesboro Beard Club.
“The Jonesboro Beard Club is dedicated to the awareness of facial hair and welcomes all facial hair enthusiasts,” said Cobb. “We strive to de-stigmatize facial hair through philanthropic events that will help improve our community. We usually meet once a manth, but we are still in the very beginning stages of this project and hope to have our first event at the end of ‘No-Shave November.’”

The public can find Jonesboro Beard Club on Facebook to keep up with all announcements and upcoming events.

At the end of the day, Cobb truly enjoys the feeling of satisfaction she gets when participating, creating and volunteering with local events and nonprofits.

“I have always enjoyed being able to give back to my community,” said Cobb. “I have been involved in events such as Cuts with Care, where people are able to receive a free haircut and hygiene product bags. This event has now evolved for me into helping with Annie Camp Cares. I am also involved in other local charity events such as the annual Show Them Where You Come From food drive.

“There is a huge need in our community to be involved with helping our neighbors.”

As for the future of Jera Cobb Barberia, Cobb says she sees herself opening a bigger location that encompasses her vision for a quality grooming experience where everyone is always welcome.

Jera Cobb Barberia is located at 1406 Franklin St. and is an appointment-only barber shop. All appointments with Cobb can be booked by visiting her website at jeracobb.com. For more information, find Jera Cobb Barberia on Facebook.