Herman Manning explains how to go from inmate to licensed barber


Photo credit: Melanie L. Brown for Steed Media

Tell us a little about yourself and how you go started barbering.

My name is Herman Manning. I came into barbering when I was actually in the county jail where Larry [Roberts Jr., owner of Larry’s Barber College] also ran another barber college. I was given the opportunity to go down there and do a little cutting. I wasn’t really fond of it but I grew to love it after I found out I actually could do it. Larry encouraged me to come on up once I got the opportunity. Larry’s been very good at supporting me with it.

What is the mission of a barber?

The mission for most barbers is to become a licensed barber, a master barber, and eventually lead to owning your own shop in the process of hoping to give back to others.

How important is it for a man to have a distinctive look? 

I was taught that your look says a lot about you. You know it goes back to what you say, your first appearance means everything. You know if a person look you over you can almost tell what direction you’re headed in life. My grandma said where people come in with saggy pants and all that, [they’re] going to call a thug and all that. If you have a nice clean haircut you [will] usually be given a chance to at least present yourself.

Name three ways a barber stays informed of style and trends.

Mostly social media, music videos, my nieces, nephews and my son have probably been most valuable.

How do you feel about your clients using texturizers?

If a client is comfortable with a texturizer, it make them look and feel better, then it’s not a problem.

Name two types of advice you give to your clients.

If there’s something that you want to know, educate yourself about it. Education is everything. I preach a lot about hygiene. Some people come in you know they might not be informed about what’s going on with the head because you technically can’t really see your head. As a barber I see your head as I’m cutting or I’ll inform you about some products or some samples that will help you.

What are the three most important things to know about being a new barber in the business?

To be on time, to be educated and make sure your tools are always clean and sanitized.

Three favorite brand of barber products?

Right now I’m kind of in love with Andis. Wahls, they’re all right, they’re pretty good. Andis and Wahls are kind of at the top of my list right now.

A book that you would recommend anyone read?

48 Laws of Power

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