, Corbin, KY


March 17, 2011

Cutting through the recession

Barber/stylist students look to career that won’t slow with economy

CORBIN — By Bobbie Poynter and Christine Dean-Centers / Times-Tribune Staff

In order to maintain a recession-proof career, the key is to focus on work that continues, even when most people don’t have a lot of disposable income to spend. The general public will continue to need hair care services, regardless of the economy. Students at the Tri-State Institute of Hair Design have chosen a career in the field of hair design because they believe the industry holds the promise of unusually high job placement, job security, flexible hours and profitability.

“Everyone on the planet gets a haircut,” said Tri-State co-owner Jack Brown. “You can’t outsource it, it’s not computerized, it’s all about personal skill.”

Students at the school are of all ages and come from many different backgrounds and careers. Some of the students have even chosen to make hair design their second career.

Amy Hacker, 35, of London was in the medical field for 14 years, and although she admitted it was a little scary to change careers, she decided it was time and took the leap of faith and never looked back. Amy already has several opportunities for work after graduation in June.

Tim Howard, 34, was a policeman in Harlan. He is a veteran and is married with two children. Tim used to cut his father’s hair when he was young, and that, he said, was the beginning of his desire to want to work in the hair industry. When he graduates, Tim plans to work with a lifelong friend in their barbershop back home in Harlan.

A local student, Alecia Rose, 27, is a mother of two living in Williamsburg. Alecia was a Deputy Clerk for Whitley County for seven years, but has dreamed of working in the hair business since she was a child. With her children in school, the timing just seemed right to start her new career and achieve her lifelong goal of opening her own salon in Williamsburg.

Renea Carey, 48, makes the 84-mile round trip from her home in Berea five days a week. Renea was a medical lab technician at the University of Kentucky and just retired in November 2010. Renea comes from a long line of barbers and can’t wait to open her own barber/salon back in Berea.

“Everyone in my family was either a nurse or a barber, depending on whether you were a girl or boy, said Renea. “As a girl, I was expected to follow the others into the medical field. Now that my daughter is in college, its time for me to do what I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a nine-year-old kid sitting in the local barber shop dreaming of working behind that chair.”

Once she receives her license, Renea will be the eighth barber in her family.

Unlike the traditional hair styling or barber school, Tri-State Institute of Hair Design combines the two previously separate careers into one. The students learn everything from shaving to perms to spa facials and massage.

“This facility is state-of-the-art,” said Renea. “It gives you an opportunity to learn everything. It’s a professional school, making it worth the time and effort it takes to change careers.”

Tri-State Institute of Hair Design, a Kentucky Barber College, is located at the Jade London Campus, 195 Commercial Dr. Suite 100, London KY 40744. For more information on Tri-State, call 606-864-4247.                   

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