Spotlight: Mojave Barber College in Victorville, CA

Twenty seven years ago, David Barnicoat relocated his family and opened up a barber shop in the High Desert, bringing passion and professionalism to his art. A decade and a half later, he realized that his passion for the business and for teaching could give people the opportunity to succeed and he launched Mojave Barber College. Although he had people tell him he couldn’t do it, he and his wife, and now his daughter have built a school that gives Victor Valley residents tools to build a career.

A family-run business, the Barnicoats go the extra mile to make sure their students can afford their education and find jobs, ideally before they graduate. I recently sat down with second-generation teacher and barber/hair stylist Janet Barnicoat to learn more about Mojave Barber College.

“This is my dad’s baby,” she shared. “He’s poured everything he has into this place. It’s a labor of love, with the good and the bad.” Janet herself tried going into the family business right out of high school, but it wasn’t the right time for her. “I joined the navy and 4 years later I was done and needed something to do. Then it was the right time.”

Though dealing with students can be an up and down process, Janet loves seeing them graduate and be successful. “Students come from all walks of life. One student was couldn’t find a job in the medical billing field where he had been trained, so he came here to learn another skill. Another had been working in construction and it got to be too hard physically, so he came to be retrained.” The student body is very diverse, including age diversity as people look for second or even third careers. According to Janet, they love it when students come with very little knowledge because it means they are more open-minded and teachable. And students are successful. From high-end salons on the Strip in Las Vegas to military bases and barber shops near and far, their students are successfully building careers they love.

The school trains students as barbers as well as cosmetologists. (Incidentally, an interesting fact on the difference between barbers and cosmetologists: Barbers can use a straight razor directly on the face, neck or scalp but are not licensed to do nails. Cosmetologists can use a straight razor on hair, but not touch the skin and they CAN do nails!) Their 10-13 month program includes a wide range of skills including shaving, facial and scalp massage, hair coloring, perming, and of course cutting hair. They also have a program with the Toastmasters to help students learn better communication skills. Instructors regularly attend ongoing education and the whole school will travel to haircutting competitions and hair shows to pick up new skills and show off what they’ve learned. To learn more about the business side of things, Matrix Hair Care Products and other barbers will come in and share tips and tricks of the trade.

Mojave Barber College is located in Old Town in Victorville. “My mom has been involved with the committee to revitalize downtown,” Janet said. “Its an affordable place with lots of parking and space. We want to see local businesses grow in the area and work with our neighbors when we can.” The school also participates in the Relay for Life and donates haircuts to wildfire evacuees when they are housed at the nearby fairgrounds.

Advanced students are ready and willing to make you look your best as well. Supervised by instructors, you can get a great deal. Haircuts are $5 and kids are only $3. There are weekly and monthly specials as well as Father’s Day and Mother’s Day deals. If you are interested in becoming a student, you can contact Janet Barnicoat at (760) 955-2934 or walk in at 15505 7th Street Victorville, CA, 92392. You can also find Mojave Barber College on Facebook and MySpace for more information.

If you would like to see your locally-owned business highlighted on this blog, please contact Alyssa Penman by email at AlyssaPenman {at} RelyLocal {dot} com or call her at 760-246-5400. RelyLocal.com is a locally-owned business that connects local consumers to local businesses for a thriving, robust and vibrant local economy.

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