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Groomed to Succeed

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Barbering has been around since ancient times, and I like to refer to it as the second-oldest profession in the world. In the past 10 years, we have witnessed a resurrection in what some had called a “dying profession.”

My journey with hairdressing has had much to do with barbering itself. My obsession with  personal appearance during my adolescence consisted of many visits to the barbershop and the cosmetics section of the grocery store.

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I was never the tallest or strongest in school. I was not the boy all the girls had crushes on, and I definitely was not the smartest student in class. My hair was by far my best feature, so I focused on the many ways that I could exploit it.

I still clearly remember the feeling I got when I received a good haircut. All was good in the world when my hair was “on point.” I felt like I could walk a little prouder and even felt as if I grew an inch or two. But, what I remember even more clearly is the feeling I experienced when I received a terrible haircut. I was basically stripped of any kind of edge I felt I had. That to me was the worst feeling in the world. Maybe even worse than getting dumped as a teenager. 

I decided to pursue a career in barbering for a couple of reasons. One, the music was always good at the barbershops I visited. Two, I wanted to be in control of that good feeling people felt when they visited their barber.

Being a barber just felt right to me. I consider myself a social person that loves to entertain, so most of the time, my clients and I had some great conversations. And to top it all off, I was getting paid! Combine this with good music and the freedom to wear whatever I want; this was not a job but a dream career. According to Reuters, only 14% of Americans believe they have the perfect job. I was fortunate to have found this career at the young age of 18 and never look back.

Being a barber has so many good sides, and my favorite of all is that at the end of the workday, you feel tired in a good way. The kind of tired you feel after running a marathon or playing a game of soccer. Athletes leave it all on the field or the court—barbers leave it all behind the chair.  

Every day, I see more brands focus on men’s hair. These days, being a barber is not only cool but very profitable as well. The barbering profession is alive and well, with no signs of slowing down. I am proud of what I do and what I have built. My hands have been very good to me and the best part of this job is that you get better with time. 

For anybody that is thinking of a career in barbering or in beauty in general, something I would love to share with you is: be yourself, be authentic and be comfortable with who you are. People will gravitate towards you and your unique qualities. The haircut is the excuse to come visit you, but your personality is the reason they will come back.

Manny San Martin
Manny San Martin
Manny San Martin is a barber, educator and artist. He is Creative Director for the Bellus Academy and runs his own YouTube channel, Equis Atelier.