News 12 Brooklyn

Brooklyn-based barbershop offers 'pay what you can' program for haircuts

May 06, 2022

A Brooklyn barber shop owner launched a program to ensure customers get the cut of their dreams without breaking the bank. 

Sam Buffa says he founded Fellow Barber in 2006 "with the idea that I was the original customer looking for this type of shop that didn't exist at the time. Something that was a little more elevated with the right price point that can cut all types of hair,” Buffa says. 

He now has 11 shops across the city and country. 

As Buffa’s shops began the process of opening back up after shutting down due to the pandemic, they saw a new need. 

"People getting back in the workforce and just getting back out there in general - the ability to get the cut that they wanted, not the cut that they could afford,” Buffa says. 

This is when he started the “pay what you can” program, which allows junior barbers a chance to build clientele and the community to get affordable cuts.

"They can pay $1, $10, $20 -- whatever they want,” Buffa says. 

Michael Prommasit is a junior barber at the Fellow Barber in Williamsburg. He says, "It's a win-win situation. You get a great haircut and I get the experience I need."

Prommasit’s client on Monday was Carlos Garcia, who moved to Brooklyn from the Dominican Republic last year.

"Haircuts are expensive and COVID made all finances unstable,” Garcia says. 

Garcia adds that being able to get a cut through Fellow Barber’s “pay what you can program” is a game changer.

"Having a good haircut or opportunity to try different barbers and styles is beautiful and special,” he says. 

Buffa says his favorite part of the job is seeing the joy of his clients. 

“When they leave and are able to look in the mirror and see something they want to see,” he says. 

To participate in the program, there is more information on