From the outside, King's Chamber Hair Studio on Foster Ave. looks like a typical barbershop. It features a red awning and a large glass front, showing a row of standard salon chairs.
But King Chamber's is not your typical lower Brooklyn barbershop.
Inside, owner Anthony Austin plays clean, if not Christian, music and gently chides any patron who smokes or curses at his establishment.
Several placards posted throughout the store read: "This is a Christian establishment; no cursing or dirty conversations permitted." Consequently, most of the conversations are mild compared to the obscenities and sexual references common in many Brooklyn barbershops.
"I like the environment a lot," said Alando Gordon, 22, who works at a nearby Jamaican restaurant. "I came straight from work and I waited here and I felt so relaxed."
Barbershops like Austin's hair studio are rare in the tough atmosphere of lower Brooklyn known for its high crime rates.
Austin, who became a Christian at age 20, created a different type of barbershop because he found it difficult to work in the usual crass environment of barbershops. "I find it offensive if people are coming into a barbershop with their kids hearing music with cursing and learning how to be a gangster," said Austin, who has a one-year-old daughter himself.
At 25, Austin opened The King's Chamber Barber Shop in his parents' garage while juggling classes in Atlas Barber Shop. He turned down an invitation to manage a new branch of the American Barber Institute, choosing instead to open his first storefront in Flatbush in 2007.
With the brand name of "The King's Chamber," Austin implicitly states his goal: "To accurately represent Christ in the hair world." Austin hopes to make it a place for locals to find not only a haircut, but also a clean and uplifting environment. Now he owns two hair stores in the Flatbush area and earns between $700 and $1,000 a week.
Despite success, Austin has faced challenges to keep his vision alive.
"One of my difficulties has been to find Christian barbers and stylists," Austin admitted. He's also been frustrated by the lack of support from many in his church: Even though he's trying to start a faith-friendly shop, many choose instead to stick with their usual barbers.
Still, Austin in hopeful. Last November, he opened a second hair studio at the intersection of Foster and Nostrand Avenue, content to continue serving whoever comes.