June 20, 2011: Barbers

Yes, barbers-and I promise I’m not having a flashback to the 1950s. But I can understand why you might think so, especially after seeing the numbers from
The research firm has named cosmetology and barber schools the No. 1 fastest-growing industry of the year-this year.

If you’ve been to a barber shop lately, you know this isn’t your grandfather’s barber shop. And don’t think this industry is dominated by a bunch of old men waxing nostalgic for the good old days of buzz cuts. In fact, according to the National Association of Barber Boards of America, the number of barbers has increased by about 10 percent in the last two years.
This boom is part of a broader, and booming, grooming trend. (As AnythingResearch also points out, nail salons are boasting a 9 percent year-over-year growth rate.) Savvy entrepreneurs have taken note, and beyond opening the facilities themselves, many are opting to train barbers, hair stylists and nail technicians by running cosmetology schools.
An article in Inc. magazine cites AnythingResearch statistics that cosmetology schools had “an exceptional year-over-year growth rate of 29 percent.” Part of that allure, as Inc. points out, is the relatively low cost of entry into this field.

The barber boom is further proof that the men’s grooming industry is uber-hot. According to research from MindBranch, global sales of grooming products made expressly for men will likely grow from $19.7 billion in 2009 to $28 billion by 2014. On top of that, the total male consumption of beauty products (including stuff not just made for men) will see a more than $20 billion increase and hit $85 billion by 2014.

Now that’s a beautiful business.