CHOOSE BEAUTY: A Profile of Rodrick Samuels

Anne Moratto | September 18, 2013 | 2:44 PM

CHOOSE BEAUTY: A Profile of Rodrick Samuels


Hometown: Summerville, SC

Industry Icon: Ivan Zoot

Career Other than Hairdressing: Neck Wear Line (Tieconic by Rodrick Edwar)

Now reading: Branding Yourself by Erick Deckers and Kyle Lacy

Hidden talent: Entertaining

Day-off pursuits: Playing Golf

Title of your autobiography: “How I Made It Over”

  “I got into the personal appearance industry through failure. I did two years of college but then I was abducted by my parents because my grades were horrible. My mom said I could go into the military or I had to find something to do.”

 With the disarming honesty and humor that has inspired students and won him admirers industry-wide, what Rodrick Samuels chose “to do” was to become a master barber, cosmetologist, artist and educator and founder of Profile Barber Institute. Working with the Andis Company, he has earned the reputation as one of the most skilled and versatile “hair designers” in the business.

 “As a young kid, I was a ‘kltchen-tician’ or bathroom barber so I went to barber school,” says Samuels. “I soon realized wasn’t being taught anything; the instructor was never there. Instead, I found an apprenticeship for a year until I got my traditional barber license. Then, I went to cosmetology school so I could do women’s hair, too. The whole time, I was building my way to being a school owner.”

 He encountered “some minor hurdles and setbacks” on a seven-year journey to establishing his school. “I would go on school visits and they were stingy with information and didn’t want to share it. And banks, lenders didn’t see the need for the school. I fought tooth and nail before I finally got funding.”

 Samuels opened the doors on Profile Barber Institute in December, 2006. He describes the curriculum as diverse, with graduates coming out with a dual license—barber and stylist—and an emphasis on entrepreneurship.

 “I want to give students the skills to open up their own salon and manage it. We teach business sense and how to use social media to brand yourself. We do photo shoots to showcase their work. When they graduate, they need a detailed portfolio because people believe what they see. My message is that success and rest don’t sleep together and my job as a leader is to create more leaders.”

 In 2008, Samuels founded Shop Talk, a campaign for colon cancer awareness that trains stylists and barbers to become educated about the disease and talk to their clients about the prevention and screening of colon cancer.

 “Barbers and stylists have as much hands-on time with their clients as doctors. We can shape lives while we shape hair.” In March, he was on Capitol Hill to advocate and call for a cure on behalf of Fight Colorectal Cancer.

 To join the fight, visit




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