SAN FRANCISCO — For Fil-Ams Jason Gragasin and Anthony Cordero, careers as professional, licensed barbers have brought them success.
Now they are looking to put others on that same path, by opening their own barber school.
After receiving the support from local politicians — Assemblyman David Chiu, State Senator Scott Wiener, and Daly City councilman Mike Guingona, the Academy School of Barbering was officially open.
Gragasin and Cordero have a combined 20 years as barbers, which they will use to properly instruct their students.
“I wasn’t really taught what to do as I started my career. I want to make sure our students have every tool that they need before they get in the career.”
“We just want to show we care. We want to use our knowledge, skills, the knowledge of the barbering industry the best way we can to give to those students who actually want to be part of what we’re doing here.”
In partnership with the Academy, the Book-Us phone application was also launched to help people get haircuts and for barbers to find more clients.
“Basically you can create an account and already search barbers in your area, if you’re the client. If you’re the barber, there’s a different login for you and you can set up your services, set up your appointments, and your schedules as well. And it really manages your business,” says Ricky Vinas.
While this is a business venture, the academy has already been partnering with different organizations to help the less fortunate.
“People who can’t really afford a haircut we’ve given them vouchers for free haircuts in case any of their clients go for job interviews, something that can help them on their way,” said Cordero.
For Gragasin and Cordero, they hope that their school will provide young people with a new path toward success.
“The barbering industry is growing at a rapid pace, and we want to show them that this is a real career and you can make a better self out of you,” said Gragasin.
“We build up their self-esteem. We build up their self-confidence. And we can show them we can change things around.”
In California, to become a licensed barber you need to complete 1500 hours at a certified school and then take a state test.
According to the owners of the academy, a full-time student can complete the course in seven-to-eight months.