Recently I got a phone order from a barber school student. He was very happy to find my website and the sample videos there–those samples taught him more than he was getting from his schooling and he was not very happy about it. During the nearly thirty years I’ve been in the haircutting how-to business, I’ve spoken to hundreds of barber students and apprentice barbers about their training experiences. The majority, about two-thirds, have had excellent barber school training that worked well for them. The other third had training that was similar to what my phone order customer was getting, and to what my daughter Kristin and I experienced.
Kristin’s barber school training was a total waste of money. Her instructor wasn’t just a poor teacher, he didn’t do ANY teaching at all. The learning that happened was passed down from the senior students to the beginners. Fortunately I was able to fill the gaps (there were many) in her training and she came out of school ready to give excellent haircuts.
My barber school experience was similar to Kristin’s in terms of what I didn’t learn in school, but different in terms of why. My instructor was a terrific haircutter who was always willing to give demonstrations and fix-up our botched haircuts. The problem was my instructor cut hair with a “here a cut, there a cut” approach all over the head a number of times. He would “mold-in” an excellent haircut that left the observing student bewildered, and then frustrated when they tried to duplicate what they had seen. I was lucky to have my Dad for a tutor–he had been a barber since the late 1920s and had a nice systematic way of cutting hair that made sense. When I came home from barber school with my head spinning and confidence shaken, Dad’s explanations and demonstrations made all the difference.
I’m dedicated to providing the same systematic, make-sense how-to that has made barbering a pleasure for three generations of our family.
WHAT IS SUCCESS?
That person is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent people and the love of children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had.
Robert Louis Stevenson