Recently we shook things up at this is little beauty institute in Sacramento. For the first time ever, we merged our barbering students with our cosmetology students on the studio floor. The studio floor is where our future professionals are stationed while they take clients. If they do not have an actual client to work on, they stay in the studio and hone their skills. It looked great on paper but what we couldn’t account for is how the students would react and it raised the question: Can we all get along?
Let me paint you a picture. We have 4 rows with approximately 68 stations, another room that can hold 12 students and then a number of classrooms that can accommodate the over flow. Imagine 70 cosmo students, flossing their particular brand of fashion and hair, a sea of black aprons and smocks. And then, in walks the crisp white smocks of 20 barbering students. It conjures up the scene from Pitch Perfect, when the Bartone Bellas and the Treblemakers compete head on. It’s a classic battle scene but with a twist. It’s the clippers vs the shears. Light vs dark. The Jets vs the Sharks. What happened next? I have no idea I work in the office! In order to find out I went out in the field to survey the situation.
Upon first glance, it looked calm enough. Students are wandering around trying to get ready for appointments while others already have their mannequin heads on tripods cutting, perming, and curling away. I walk up to Amanda W., one such student. As she combing out another section of hair I ask her about what she thinks about the new seating arrangements. She said that she thought it was a good thing. “The barbers get all the clipper cuts for the most part so it’s nice to be able to watch the demos happening on the floor.” She also likes being able to ask them questions about cuts that are traditionally considered barbering cuts.
As I watch two cosmo students discussing clippers, cases, and different size guards with a barber student, I had to wonder if this conversation would have happened if we kept the two groups segregated. Aline Z. doesn’t think it would have. She said before they merged the two groups the barbers and cosmo students pretty much stayed to themselves but now they are working together. “I admit, at first I didn’t think it was going to be a good idea but it has been so awesome.” For example she said that she traded services with a barber. While she got tips on her clipper cuts, he was coached on his shampoo and blow drying techniques.
The most surprising and exciting news I received was that there was a master finger-waver hiding amongst the barbers. Alexis W. was sporting some beautiful finger waves and when asked who her stylist was, she said Danny D. I spoke to Danny and he said he has only being doing finger waves for 2 weeks. “Mr Jerry taught me two weeks ago and I’ve just been going at it ever since.” He supplemented his education with youtube videos and within this short amount of time he has already gained a little following. I asked him what the secret to a good finger wave was. “It’s all in the technique.” He grabbed a second comb and held the ridge of one wave before rounding the edges of the next. He continued by saying that “if you’re going to comb it out you need to use a non-alcohol based gel to avoid flaking and you have to wait until its completely dry. If you don’t wait, it’ll go straight.”
As I watched Danny apply passion and patience to his work I am reminded of the schools core values: Respect, Inspire, Create. You can see the respect he has for the work he’s doing. It shows in his persistence and his desire to improve. He was inspired by an educator which has led him to inspire others. Cosmo students have come seeking his knowledge and on occasion his inspirational spark has led to impromptu tutorials. This leads me to Create. In the world of hair and makeup, creativity is always present but what has been created on our studio floor is a culture. Through a small change in policy we created a shift in the learning environment of our students. We opened the doors between two different worlds and found that they’re not that different after all. This is something unique to our school and it sounds like it’s not only deepening the education of our students but its fostering cooperation and building new relationships. And while I can’t take credit for what has been created here I can sure reveal in the afterglow, and so can you. If you’re interested in becoming a part of our blossoming culture and are interested in cosmetology, esthetics or barbering please notify our admissions department for more information.