Ralph Cole has become a hit wonder. Cole went from being in the United States military to many people’s favorite barber. His mother always told him he’d be involved with hair in his life and she couldn’t have been more right. While being enlisted, Ralph made his quick money by cutting his fellow servicemen’s hair. SHEEN caught up with Ralph Cole to find out the story of this barber and educator.
Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you became Ralph Cole The Barber?
Ah man, it’s a long story (laughs) I’m a North Carolina native. I joined the military in 2013 and got stationed here in Seattle, Washington. I was never a barber before the military. It wasn’t until 2014 when I needed a little extra money. Growing up, my mom used to do hair on the side. I never took interest in hair but she always told me when I was young that I would do hair when I got older. Of course, I never saw myself joining the military or being in the hair industry. I remember going to Sally’s to buy a pair of clippers and trimmers and I began to cut my hair as well as a co-worker’s. After much practice and seeing myself progress, clientele started adding up and that’s when I decided to attend barber school so I could work in a barber shop in order to bring in more income. I attended school at Olympia Barber School and was able to learn so much about the industry. In 2015, I got injured which affected how long I planned to stay in the military. My first two months out of the military, I was homeless. I was living out of my Jeep and the only thing I had to fall back on was my interest in barbering. I was going to different friends’ house to shower but I was always the first one in the barber shop and the last to leave, even still. I just started to see how my clients would sit in my chair and enjoy the experience so much through my passion for barbering.
You’re also an educator; can you tell us about that aspect of your career?
After the two months that I was homeless, I saved up for an apartment, I decided that I would contact my favorite product lines to go learn more about the products or see about coming apart of their education team. A week after contacting them, they invited me to a fashion show. Since then, they’ve given me more opportunities to teach classes. I just enjoy sharing my story with others and motivating them to see the different side to barbering that most don’t know. Some barbers treat their job as a hustle and not a profession. I just want to motivate others with my story.
You’ve faced many hardships, what do you believe the challenges that have come your way have taught you?
Never let the situation you’re in to stop you from doing what you want to do. Others inspire us but you’re the first person you look at every day you get up. The only person that stops you from being what you want to be is yourself. I don’t tell many people about my story but when I do, I want them to see how far I’ve come. All of it comes from hard work and dedication.
What do you believe is the most rewarding aspect of your career?
Being able to change someone’s life. You never know what others are going through. Every client that sits in my chair open up and tell me so much. They put their trust in me because they enjoy their experience. I want to make sure they leave my chair, enjoying every second they spent there. They can go anywhere to get a haircut, they just can’t go anywhere to get an experience they’ll enjoy.
All images provided by Divine Influence PR