Opening An Academy

I get a lot of questions from barbers & stylists about how to open their own academy. It’s an interesting question and one that I always answer in the same manner; it’s not something you can rush & it must be something you’re hugely passionate about doing.

I’ve been extremely fortunate to have the career I have so far. I’ve spent 25 wonderful years in this industry & dedicated the last 16 years of my career to education. I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world educating for the likes of Sassoon, Fudge & Davines (apologies for the early name dropping). The point I’m trying to make, and yes there is a point to this, is that it was only this year that I felt ready to open my own academy. I wanted to be in a position where I genuinely felt each student who enrolled at my academy was at the best place possible to receive his or her training. I’m currently at a stage in my career where I feel completely confident with my abilities as a barber, stylist & teacher.

The next thing I ask is ‘is teaching something you truly love & want to do?’ I believe being a great barber or stylist isn’t necessarily indicative of being a great teacher. I think there is quite an important distinction to be made between ‘doing’ & ‘teaching’. Of course being able to ‘do’ is a prerequisite, but teaching requires a somewhat different skill set. Obviously there are things like patience & being able to explain things clearly & concisely, but I believe the key is a real passion for teaching.

The hair industry has given me so many incredible opportunities in my life, as a young boy growing up in New York I never dreamt any of this possible. Cutting hair has given me something to strive towards and the opportunity to better myself even when the chips were down; I imagine this rings true for others as well. It hasn’t always been plain sailing. There were times where I felt like I had nothing, but my love for barbering & hairdressing kept me going. I know how powerful a love for something can be and I believe my passion for teaching stems from this. For me, there’s no great pleasure or privilege than being able to help somebody find what he or she loves in life.

When teaching I believe its hugely important to impart your enthusiasm & passion as well as your skills & knowledge. By taking a completely effusive approached with my students I aim to recreate the same feelings of excitement I had when I first started my career. Sure, I was only 14 and sweeping hair in a New York barbershop but I immediately knew that it was where I wanted to be. A student has to be motivated & driven but a teacher can make a huge difference. If you think back to school, everybody had a favourite teacher and more often than not their subject became your favourite. I bet you’re currently thinking of that teacher now aren’t you? Anyway, I see it as my duty as a teacher to draw the best out of my students. If you love what you do & you love teaching what you do, you’re students will always benefit.

I could go on for days on this subject so I’ll leave it there. I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading my first attempt at a real blog post; it was fun to write if not a little nostalgic! I’d love to hear everybody’s thoughts on the subject, after all these are just my own humble opinions. If anybody has any thoughts on a subject for my next post let me know, I’ll be scratching my head for days otherwise.

‘Til next time everybody. Take it easy.


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