Grow Your Business with Barbering

By Lynelle Lynch, owner Bellus Academy

Men's grooming is booming in North America and around the globe.

Global Industry Analysts predicts the global male grooming products industry will generate $33 billion in revenue by 2015, while Euromonitor estimates that the men's grooming category in the U.S. will reach nearly $6 billion by 2016 – up 10 percent from 2012.

While men's grooming includes much more than hair – including skincare products, shaving and body care – barbering is gaining traction. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook has projected employment of barbers to grow 13 percent from 2012-2022, a difference of 83,300 jobs. Among U.S. states, California ranks third in employment of barbers.

What is driving the growth in male grooming services, particularly precision haircuts? Popular culture is a heavy influence. Movies such as The Great Gatsby, along with TV programs including Boardwalk Empire, and Mad Men feature carefully coiffed and styled male leading characters. Their audiences are turning to hairstylists for help achieving the look.

Enterprising hairstylists can leverage renewed interest in men's hairstyling to energize and expand their service menu. Acquiring a barbering license can help hairstylists diversify their offerings and attract new clients. But setting up a barbering program isn't as simple as adding a barber chair or installing the iconic striped barber pole in your salon.

As a regulated profession, barbers must be licensed in accordance with their state's barber board. The good news for cosmetologists is that some barbering programs will provide cosmetology credit hours toward the barbering license.

Profile of Bellus Academy

Bellus Academy headquartered in Poway with three California campuses and a location in Manhattan, Kansas, took that approach when we launched a barbering program in March 2015. Licensed cosmetologists can enroll in the Bellus barbering program and be granted 1100 of the 1500 hours needed to graduate.

Upon deciding to offer a barbering program at Bellus, one of our first steps was to partner with D.J. Muldoon, an internationally recognized hairdresser at upscale San Diego salon The Factory. D.J. has seen an increase in demand for precision men's haircuts and was decided to create a line of 10 signature barbering cuts for Bellus, including a proprietary online video that complements the classroom experience.

D.J. worked closely with Bellus' lead barber Emanuel SanMartin to develop the signature cuts. Three of the most popular cuts are the "Blake," "Franklin" and "Nate." The curriculum's proprietary video supports the curriculum presented in textbooks and in-class lessons. While the textbooks do an excellent job of addressing state board requirements and presenting the information barbering students must master, the video element delivers an additional creativity component to the program with advanced cutting techniques.

D.J. said Bellus' barbering program provides an opportunity for licensed hairstylists to grow in their career. "I've been successful because of a solid foundation in education," he said. "Hairstylists today need to be well-rounded and I think this is an exceptional opportunity for professionals to enhance their craft."

In launching the barbering program at Bellus, Emanuel San Martin worked with our school's advisory board composed of local salon and spa owners. Many of these advisors noted the local barbering market is underserved and has an appetite for hairstylists with a barbering license.

Enthusiasm from the professional community has been strong. We held two "Look and Learn" events that featured live demos and attracted licensed hairstylists as well as aspiring barbers.

Barbering scholarships are available at Bellus and through the Beauty Changes Lives Vidal Sassoon professional beauty education scholarship program. Anthony Johnson is a 2013 Beauty Changes Lives scholarship winner and a student at Pivot Point Academy in Evanston, Illinois. He believes that offering both barbering and cosmetology will enhance his career.

"I was initially attracted to barbering because it is very technical and I was more familiar with barbering; plus I love the patience and focus that you must have to be great at barbering," Anthony explained. "But my career will be in both barbering and cosmetology. As my knowledge of this industry grows, so does my interest in all of the opportunities available."

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