INDIANAPOLIS — When you visit Broad Ripple, you might see a new mobile truck called New Element Barber. Inside, you'll find a fresh new style and a familiar face.
It's Antwain Booker, and he's no stranger to Indianapolis or cutting hair. From tight hair designs to hot towel facials, he's a professional barber.
"It started on my front porch on 40th and Carrollton. Yes, here in Broad Ripple," Booker said. "When I was in college, I had fliers made, in Terre Haute, called 'Kuts By Twain.'"
Booker got his nickname Kuts from cutting lots of hair at Indiana State University. Now, he cuts hair for players every year at the NFL Combine. But buying and working from a vehicle is a first.
"I never would have thought that a mobile barber truck until 2015," he said. "That's it, true story."
It's his dream come true. It has music, candy for kids, drinks and more. Anyone can get a luxurious haircut on wheels.
He opened the mobile barber shop in October 2020, and Booker said he's already seen tons of customers.
"Honestly, hundreds," he said. "I'm serious."
Each time, people experience down-to-earth authentic interactions.
"He's having a rough day. First time meeting this guy. We cut the music off. We click like that we're just talking. And he's like, 'Man, I'm so glad I got my haircut. I was going through something,'" Booker said. "Didn't know what it was, made me feel good. I needed this haircut, didn't even know you and I'm glad I booked my appointment. I promise, has been here about five times since then."
People leave with more than a fresh cut, but a fresh perspective and confidence boost.
"It's not like a normal barber shop where you just go, go to like Great Clips or something. It's something special," one customer said.
Kick up your feet up and take their word for it.
"This is somewhere where you can come and enjoy yourself and have a wonderful experience. And he's for the community," Quincy Austin said.
Booker's customers say his work ethic goes beyond the money he makes and starting a new business during a pandemic.
"Yes, I'm proud of it and I'm proud of him. I've seen him struggling to get where he is now, and he made it," Austin said. "He didn't give up. He didn't stop. He kept going."
Booker's motivation comes down to the people in his pictures.
"I started this for them, for them," Booker said.
His motivation comes down to the people in his pictures, which can be seen in his truck.
"I started this for them, for them," Booker said looking at a photo of his grandson and son, who died six months ago.
"I watched him come into the world, yeah, I miss my son, absolutely," he said. "You know, he got in the streets and made some bad decisions."
His son's death not only fuels but focuses Booker's business mission to help everyone.
"I want to change the element," he said. "I'm just hair-cutting, cutting white, Black, Mexican, everybody. I want to be a new element."
Especially young men by providing them haircuts and mentorship through work in the community.
"Let them know there's other decisions we can make out here and have a better life to live," he said. "And by me starting this movement in Indianapolis, I promise we're gonna blaze new trails in the city."