MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Jamal Arnold gets his tools of the trade ready to start his workday.
His first client of the day is four-year-old Dominique.
"Sit back. Relax man, it's OK."
He's patient with his young client but says over the years he's grown frustrated with the talent pool of barbers. Owning three barber shops in the Frayser Raleigh area, he meets a lot of potential candidates.
"I saw where I was hiring barbers that weren't professional."
That's why Arnold decided to open students to Masters Barber School. His goal is to not only teach students how to make their clients look good, but also how they can build character and better themselves.
"You have barbers that come up and set in shops and it's like a hustle. So it's hustle, that means anything goes."
Arnold says being a successful barber requires a strong work ethic and professionalism at all times.
"Who you are behind the chair is who you should be away from the chair."
One pair of clippers and then another. Precision cuts are his trademark, and Arnold says his clients, even little Dominique, appreciate his attention to detail.
"You don't want to give out bad quality because that comes back on the whole shop."
Students to masters can take up to 15 students and right now there are eight enrolled.
For a full-time student, it takes 10 months to complete and costs $7,000. The good news is there are scholarships available.
"Our company offered 10 scholarships. I need a one page essay on why you choose barbering," said Arnold.
The program is 1500 hours and students will be trained on how to cut and color hair as well as polish nails to prepare them for the licensing and certification process. Arnold says he also plans to teach some intangibles that aren't in the curriculum.
"So they will have financial literacy and money management before they leave our institution."
Arnold plans to offer jobs at his barber shops to the students he says prove they are ready to be a cut above the rest.