Tuesday, January 8, 2013

6 Years Down: My Life As A Barber So Far

Me and Greg at Porters 2007
    So here it is the first  post of the year and it has been a week of reflection because in September I have been a licensed barber for 6 years. So I am going to share my story so far.

    The wife had been done with school for a few months by February of 2006 and it was at this point I decided to go to barber school in Spokane,WA. At this point I had been working at Hot Topic, as a dish washer and a line cook.

    Spokane had one barber school in to go to and so Beth and I decided that if they had financial aid I could apply for school and so I did. The school had a barber program and a cosmetology but unfortunately I spent more time cutting womens hair then I did mens haircuts. I had a rough patch because of some family stuff. Oh yeah did I mention that the entire time I was in school I worked at HT and in a restaurant the entire time. I worked my butt off and finished school two weeks early oh yeah and I passed state board on the first try!

AZC Haircuts-2007
    As soon as I passed first thing I did was quit one of my jobs. Telling Chef Brian I was leaving was actually tough because I have a lot of love and respect for him because he gave me a chance on the line I probably would never of had anywhere else. I stayed at Hot Topic as I was trying to find me a job in a barbershop.

    First shop I worked at was called Dan's Barbershop but unfortunately I was not there for very long because they felt I was not very fast and my skills were not where they wanted. Second shop was called Weldon Barber. It is kind of a higher end barbershop owned by a family member of the Nordstrom. Here is the finny thing about this place the owner himself had me let go because I was a man with tattooed (at this time there were no other men working for them).

    Well I was not in a shop when 2007 rolled around, still working at HT but cutting hair out of my house as often as I could until I was approached by an acquaintance who was opening a brand new barbershop. He had been an educator for American Crew at one point so I was going to rent a chair and hoped that this was going to be my chance to start developing my skills....Finally.

Hillyard Hootenany 2008
   At this point I prematurely quit HT and within two months I was unemployed because a customer had come back to the shop because they were not happy with the haircut and the owner re-cut this persons hair. At this point I am told that "I had heart but not enough experience yet" he also said "It was his name and reputation on the shop".

    Where do I go from here? What point do I just give up? In 2007 the family decided to return to California so I had to spend the rest of the year working my tail off to prepare to move back to the Golden State. I did go back to Spokane twice in the last 5 years since we have been back in California due to lack of work and our hope to return to Washington. But back in Spokane on each trip I found a way cut hair. Due to difference in state regulations and time it took me almost a year to get my California barber license.

More grease rags coming soon!
    After getting my license in California I did what I needed to do to get take care of my family, but was fortunate to get involved with my friend Luis who owns Covenant Barbershop where he could let me fill a chair once in a while, partnered with them for the Fresno Tattoo Expo and just help out at times.

    In September of 2011 I started seeing a classified show up on Craigslist and I jumped on it...I had been back from Washington since June (in time for my daughters high school graduation) and did not have anything left to loose. I interviewed and was offered a job which started when the shop opened in November of 2011. I am proud to say I have been standing behind a chair at GoldStar Barbershop since we opened in November of 2011.

Devoted Barber 2013
   The road to get here has been a rough one. I have had many people ask me why I have not given up and it really comes down to one thing....I have found a trade that I take pride in. I love what I do. I have had friends and family continue to encourage me. Am I where I want to be? NO!! Will I get there? YEAH!!!

   I have days where I feel like I still cut like I just got out of barber school. and sometimes maybe I do. I think most people at this point probably would have called it quits but I couldn't and I do not plan on it.

    Do not ask me what is to come in the next 6 years. Heck I do not know what is going to happen in the week. I am going to just continue to stand behind a chair and work hard!

   There are so many people I wish I could thank...family, friends other barbers who have all continued to encourage me. Thanks.

   As we go into 2013 I wish all you young barbers, new barber students and everyone who makes behind the chair there home away from home....Have a great and successful year!!



  1. Thanks for this story man. I like the fact that you never gave up. Congrats and good luck!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful blog! No one has written such a realistic portrayal of being a barber that I have found so far. I really like how you showed the your long tough journey of hard work and perseverance. I hope you write more to let us know where you are with your skills as a barber. What you've conquered? What you hope to conquer. ~Best A

  3. What a terrible story of the true barber life. You lack skills if you were still messing ppl up at over a year. And what do you make that's the concerns of most new barbers. Terrible blog

  4. I first read this post two years ago.... I find it to be a great read, as it gives perspective in my own career and the struggles that I have gone through (and still do) as a barber. I'm thinking about writing on msyself. Thank you for your posting.