From cosmetology to barbering: Brighton Barber Institute focuses on crossover students

Brighton Barber

Brighton Barber Institute

Est. July 2017

133 W. Harwood Road, Hurst 76054


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In 2012, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation changed the laws for obtaining a barbering license, allowing those who have gotten their cosmetology license to go back for 300 hours to get their barbering license, when previously there was no way for a cosmetologist to operate as a barber in a salon.

As barbering schools adapted to this change, many simply added these students into their programs without having resources specifically focused on them. Licensed cosmetologists were working side-by-side in the same classes with barber students who were completely green and had no experience.

This kind of atmosphere could leave them feeling frustrated.

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Most of the students in these situations simply passed through their barbering school experience, just clocking hours and trying to get through it as fast as they could, said salon owner Heather Schultz.

That led Schultz, co-founder of the Boardroom Salon for Men franchise, to start her own barber school, Brighton Barber Institute in Hurst, to cater to the crossover students. Schultz is the director of the school.

“The traditional barber school has connotations of oh, yeah, they’ll do clipper cuts and flat tops or whatever,” Schultz said. “What we’re trying to bring is not the traditional barber hair styling. We want to be trendy. We want to be cutting edge. We teach our students not just the traditional barber cutting, but what is the trend for men.

“It’s not just about teaching them how to shave or do men’s hair,” Schultz said. “It’s about teaching them to be successful when they get out.”

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The company’s brochure says “BBI is the ‘graduate school’ of hair industry. We teach those who have successfully completed an accredited cosmetology program and are licensed in the field. Our graduate students want an environment crafted for this specific purpose and we are dedicated to meeting that need.”

BBI’s program focuses on understanding men’s hair and mastering the art of men’s haircuts, styles and trends and shaving.

In 2004 when Schultz and her husband, Bruce, opened their first salon in the Dallas area the men’s grooming industry in Texas was in its infancy, they said. But times have changed and not only are there more male clients looking for a tailored experience, but there are more people flocking to barber schools.

The Schultzes have been married for 29 years and have three children: Kelly, 24, Lauren, 21, and Parker, 17. Heather is vice president of the Boardroom Salon but says she’s a serial entrepreneur. She has taken a small step back from her duties at the Boardroom to start and manage BBI.

BBI was founded this year and was self-funded by Schultz for about half a million dollars. The school took about two and a half months to build and worked with ACI construction, ADG Architecture and Collins Manufacturing.

It opened its doors to both clients and students on July 10. The school will offer two sessions per quarter: a morning session Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and an evening session Monday-Friday from 3-8:30 p.m. Fulltime students taking 25 hours a week can complete the program in three months, and part-time students taking 12-13 hours a week will take six months to finish.

The remaining session for 2017 runs from Sept. 25 to Dec. 20. Sessions for 2018 will be: Jan. 2 to March 23; March 26 to June 15; June 18 to Sept. 14 and Sept. 17 to Dec. 21.

To be admitted to BBI, students must have a high school diploma or GED and a cosmetology license. Tuition is $3,400 and includes the Milady Standard Barbering Textbook and exam review book, the BBI Barber Kit and the PSI Kit. Offering the kits, Schultz said, is something else that makes BBI stand out.

“No one else really offers that in any cosmetology program, any schools,” Schultz said. “No cosmetology schools, no barber schools. We are the first school to be able to do something fun like that.”

The BBI Barber Kit includes a bearded 19-inch mannequin, razors and double-edged blades, a pure badger shaving brush, various combs and more in a travel case on wheels. Students must provide their own cutting and texturizing shears.

In the last week or so of their program the students will receive the PSI Kit, which is required for the state’s Psychology Services Incorporated (PSI) testing to get their license. The kit includes a male mannequin head, tint brush and tint bowl, diagram of shaving areas and more.

BBI has two staff members currently. Jesus “Joey” Chacon is director of education, head of staff and lead instructor, while Sonya McMillan is the barber assistant. The BBI teaching format combines theory and practice and includes video, guest speakers, field trips, competitions and interactive sessions.

“When [our students] walk out the door, they are completely prepared for both tests,” Chacon said, referring to the written and practical PSI exams.

The salon includes 24 stations for students to use. The 3,400-square-foot facility also includes six shampoo bowls, a classroom for up to 25 students and a break room.

BBI’s first four students are set to graduate Sept. 29. To help with job placement, BBI plans to host a career fair in the third month of each session for salons and barber shops to come in to interview students.

Schultz hopes to eventually have locations in major Texas cities including Dallas and Houston.

While Schultz says getting the school built was the most challenging part of the process, her favorite part is the people involved in BBI.

“The most fun is doing the school, meeting different people,” she said.