Former McNary senior opens an at home barbershop

Josh Patton
May 24, 2020

With many businesses being temporarily closed down due to quarantine, one in particular has hit home for one McNary High school senior, that business being Barber shops.

This student is Anthony Garcia, an aspiring barber who for the last two years has been enrolled in the Cosmetology department at the Career and Technical Education Center. 

What started as taking on the #selfcutquarantinechallenge and filming a timelapse of himself cutting his own hair and posting it to his Instagram account ag.the.barber., he realized that he had the opportunity to help his followers by making it into a tutorial.

Garcia released the full video and recorded a voice over so that he could make sure his followers could follow along.

“I think it’s very important because some people are still working and in most jobs you have to be well groomed and when the barber shop is closed, it’s kinda hard to do that, so I posted videos hoping to help those people out,” Garcia said.

Due to quarantine, Garcia has to practice on clients in house, meaning his parents and siblings. “I always like to practice my skills to make sure that they improve and do the best that I can when everything goes back to normal,” Garcia said.

The grind doesn’t stop when the clippers do. “I’ve been doing lotta cleaning and lots of online courses for barbering. I've gone into reading books that are about business,” Garcia said.

He has also been spray painting his clippers to give them his unique style. He’s posted pictures and tutorials on his instagram account as well.

Like his fellow seniors, Garcia has been affected by his senior year being cut short. “Definitely going to miss my teachers from both McNary and CTEC, I’m sad that I won’t be able to go to my senior prom or to even have a senior barbecue. I will always remember the trip we took to Louisville Kentucky because we had so much fun and I placed second in the nation for barbering, but most of all I will miss the family that we created in the cosmetology program,” Garcia said.

The mission of CTEC is that no matter what department you are in, the goal is that by the time you graduate you have the skills to go into your desired industry. Though his time at CTEC got cut short, Garcia is confident that he can take the skills he has learned to the next level.

“Yes, most definitely. Sence CTEC is free they gave me the opportunity to start working right after high school without any debt. Most cosmetology schools can range anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 for tuition, and I’ve gotten all that education for free just because of CTEC.” 

“Hopefully I’ll be able to get my barbers license this year so that way next year I could just go straight to work. But if for some reason I don’t get my license, I plan on going to the Paul Mitchell school of Portland,” Garcia said.

Garcia had a very successful time in the Cosmetology department. He started from cutting hair on manican heads then gave haircuts to real people. He won CTE State Champion in 2019 and won second place at nationals for barbering. His dedication was seen by his peers and teachers and in March, he was deemed one of CTE’s professionals of the year.

“I felt like all my work that I have put in the past two years really paid off. I would like to shout out to my incredible instructors at CTEC Mrs. Steph, Mrs. Hilda , and Mrs.Rachel for always pushing me to be my best. They would always come around when I finished haircuts and looked for the smallest detail to make sure that my haircuts were perfect and I didn’t leave anything undone,” Garcia said.

Garcia thanks his fellow classmates in the beginning for trusting him enough to allow him to cut their hair. Their trust is always rewarded and they always come back for another haircut.

“At first people were very nervous to have me cut their hair, but when I showed them my portfolio on Instagram they felt more comfortable with me cutting their hair. Every single time they loved their haircut and I always got compliments on how well detailed I am with the consultation and haircuts,” 

“I would say in the middle of my junior year, I felt like I had enough practice on manikins and my teachers approved of my haircuts to the point where I felt comfortable practicing on actual humans. Most of all practicing on my siblings really helped me the most,” Garcia said

Garcia recommends CTEC to anyone who is interested in the Cosmetology field. 

“Honestly the only way to explain my experience at CTEC is that it was the best two years of my life. I’ve never been a regular student, I could never remember anything by just writing it down and taking notes. I was always a hands-on learner. Learning stuff hands on really helped me through high school, especially in cosmetology.  I would definitely recommend anyone who wants to be a barber or wants to do anything in the cosmetology field to go to the cosmetology program at CTEC,” Garcia said.

To Garcia, being a barber is much more than being a person who cuts hair. “In my opinion I think a common misconception about barbering is that most people think that it is just a “Hussle”. But to me it’s much more than just making money because barbering is a craft. It started in Rome around 296 BC, barbers were highly respected individuals because of their professionalism. I want to make sure that we keep that image of professionalism and respect that we’ve always had, but it’s not only that. It’s also about how you make a person feel. As a barber you have the power to change a person's day or even lifestyle. Sure it might seem like just a haircut but at the end of the day, you made that person look in the mirror and say “dang, I look good”. You give them that confidence to love themselves,” Garcia said.

The passion for cutting hair was instilled upon him at a young age, and it will be with him for his whole life.

“Well it started when I saw my uncle cutting his own hair. I got inspired to cut my own hair and my brother's hair to save money and I thought that if I had  kids one day, I would save a ton of money because I would be able to cut their hair as well. It turns out that the more I practice cutting hair, the more I fell in love with the craft, and one day I decided to pursue barbering as a career,”

“I’m hoping to take everything that I have learned from CTEC, from both the salon floor side and the business side to start up my own barbershop. For the name of the shop I’m really leaning towards The Cultivated barbershop because the word cultivated means refined and educated. If people are going to be in my barber shop working for me, I want them to be educated on everything about barbering but most of all, I want to create a professional and fun environment.” Said Garcia