Sept. 15--DIAMONDHEAD -- Robbie Sanders knows what's trendy when it comes to men's hair.
Sanders has been a barber for nearly 25 years and has owned barber colleges for 13 years. "Right now, men can't get enough of short fades and a straight razor shave," Sanders said.
In June, Sanders made the decision to make a big move from north Mississippi to Diamondhead to open Gulf Coast Barber College.
"I've owned colleges in Carthage and in Starkville," Sanders said. "There was a need in this part of Mississippi for a school."
In three months, Sanders' new barber college located on Leisure Time Drive in Diamondhead has enrolled four students.
"When students join my 10 1/2-month program, they learn quickly that it's very hands-on," Sanders said.
By the second day of class, students cut real hair on a mannequin. Sanders heavily supervises students and allows them to work on clients' hair as well.
Students are in class from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In the first hour of class, they learn hair theory and practices. For the rest of class, they work on human hair and perform services such as facials, coloring and straight razor shaving.
"My goal is to teach students to prepare to pass the Mississippi state barber board exam," Sanders said.
By the end of the course, students will learn basic hair skills, theory, clipper cutting, straight razor shaving, color, perms, foils and facials.
The course is 1,500 hours, and students go to class 40 hours a week from Tuesday to Saturday.
Megan DeKleinhans, 20, of Gulfport said she plans to work in the field for a year after she graduates before opening her own barber shop.
"There are plenty of salons around, but you don't see that many barber shops," she said. "There's plenty of room for advancement."
Steven Morel of Bay St. Louis has been in class for one month and is looking forward to completing the program.
"I like the environment and like cutting hair," he said. "I'm tired of working outside."
Dillon Mandola, 20, of Mandeville, La., said the 50-minute drive to Diamondhead is worth the education he receives at Gulf Coast Barber College.
"My mom inherited the family barber shop, and I hope that it's mine one day," he said.
Michael Lahti of Lacombe, La., has been a student at Sanders' college since it opened.
"I love the feel of old school barber shops," he said. "I saw that this place was opening on Facebook, and I wanted to give it a try."