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Barbers offer men's haircuts and shaves, so becoming a barber may seem like an odd career choice for a woman. But even though barbering may seem like a man's world, about half the barbers working today are women. Still, to become successful, women may face a little more difficulty than men in becoming successful barbers and earning the trust of their male clientele.
Apprentice or Intern
Female barbers can have difficulty establishing rapport with male clients, who may expect to see only men when they walk into a barber shop. This can get your career off to a rocky start. Rather than looking for a full-time position immediately out of school, it might be best to become an apprentice or intern at a well-established barber shop first. That way you can begin to build your client base before you're a full-time barber--and when you're ready, you'll have loyal clients who trust you and may follow you to whichever shop at which you choose to work.
Have a Thick Skin
Many male clients at barber shops treat the shop as a man's world, where they can tell dirty jokes or make risqué comments about women. If you want to be a female barber, you'll need to be prepared for that kind of environment. Learn to let some comments slide.
If a client says something that offends you or makes you feel threatened, you have the right to voice your objections and set your own rules, but you may deal better with this aspect of the business if you're able to shrug off occasional crude humor or commentary.
Several well-established female barbers attribute their success to the perspective they provide. They say they offer something a male barber cannot: a woman's opinion on hair and grooming. Using your ability to offer a different point of view can help you to establish a loyal client base.
Michelle Labbe has been writing online and for print since 2004. Her work has appeared in the online journals Reflection's Edge and Cabinet des Fées as well as in Harvard Book Store's anthology, "Michrochondria." She is pursuing a Master of Arts in publishing and writing at Emerson College.