When Ryelee Baros was a student at Torrington High School, a career as a barber hadn’t occurred to him. Little did he know then that he would now operate a successful up and coming business venture.
Baros, a 2011 graduate of THS began cutting his friends hair as a high school hobby. “One day one of my friends came to school with a haircut with a design cut into it and I thought to myself ‘I can do that’ so I started watching videos on how to cut art into hair,” shared Baros.
“I didn’t even think of it as a career, my real passion was art. But I just kept learning new things and stuck with it.” Baros had friends who were currently enrolled in the Cosmetology program at Eastern Wyoming College who began talking to him about the new Barbering program which would be starting soon. “They kept telling me I needed to enroll and do this as a career,” said Baros. “They were right, once I started learning about Barbershops, I fell in love with everything about it.”
Once Baros began looking for a Barbering school, the only one in Wyoming, at that time, was a private school in Casper. “I wanted to stay close to home. Going to Casper or moving to Colorado for school just wasn’t what I wanted,” added Baros. “My friends kept telling me to wait, the EWC program was coming soon. So I waited and enrolled in the first class of Barbering students at EWC.”
“He came with a lot of natural talent and realized he needed to get licensed,” said EWC Program Director and Instructor Christine Chesser. “Talent like that rarely comes around and he was easy to teach.” Chesser also shared that regardless of the talent level of students when they begin the program, they all really grow and develop their skills.
“It was fun and I am definitely glad that I did it. I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Baros. “The instructors were great. They treat it like a job and really prepare you for everything, especially the Boards.” Students completing the program must take the Wyoming State Board of Barbers examination to become licensed. The exam consists of a written test and a practical, hands-on test. Baros passed the written test and received a 100% on the practical part of the exam.
“Everyone from the first EWC class passed the exam. Thanks to our instructors, we were well prepared and were not nervous. Students from other schools who were there taking the exam at the same time seemed really nervous and less prepared,” added Baros.
“I really feel like the instructors did a good job considering it was the first year of the program, I really learned a lot about the business side of being a Barber as well.”
Chesser also added, “He has a good work-ethic which was refreshing and he has a fun sense of humor. We really enjoyed having him in the program and now we are using him to come back and share his experiences with our students.”
Baros has now opened a successful business within the His and Hers Salon which is owned and operated by Saxen Branham who is also an adjunct instructor for the College. “I met Saxen at EWC and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her,” said Baros. “She offered me the opportunity to rent space in her salon to open my business.” He was officially licensed in August and opened his business on August 13, 2018.
“My business is going better than expected for being so new,” said Baros. “I am working on building up my clientele and am promoting my business continuously online. It is still growing.”
“I love working with Ryelee,” said Saxen Branham, owner, His and Hers Salon. “He brings fresh ideas and stays up-to-date on trends and the use of social media to promote yourself. He brings a lot to the table at our salon meetings.”
When asked what he would share with others about the EWC program, Baros shared the following, “It’s not easy, but you get out of it exactly what you put into it, you have to want it and be willing to build your own brand. It was also tough going to school all day, long days, and not getting paid but a career in this field can treat you really well and give you a lot of freedom.”
The program is now expanding to include a Barbering/Stylist track. This expanded program will have the addition of work with chemicals which is a requirement for some of the surrounding states. “We are trying to make our program more mobile,” added Chesser. “There is a huge opportunity to get this education and go other places. The face of Barbering is changing and growing. Now is an excellent time to get in on it.”
Students can enroll in the Barbering program every fall semester. There is also an option for individuals who already possess licensing as a cosmetologist if they are interested in becoming certified as a Barber. Those seeking more information about the Barbering options at EWC should contact Chesser at 307.532.8363 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Barbering Instructor Amanda Lashley at 307.532.8362 or by email at email@example.com.
Baros finished by adding “Success leaves clues. Look around you and what is the common theme of those who have been successful. Also be a sponge and learn as many different techniques as you can.”
Ryelee the Barber, Baros’ business name, is available at His and Hers Salon located at 2039 East A Street in Torrington or by calling 307.401.0144.
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