By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Mike McBunch knows hair – even if some of his customers might not have a lot of it.
McBunch owns The Hair Company, where he has been cutting hair since 1990, and is well-respected by his peers and colleagues.
The affable barber has been president of the Mississippi Board of Barber Examiners three times, and he’s wrapping up his tenure as president of the National Association of Barber Boards of America, or NABBA.
“It’s been the biggest honor of my career,” he said.
In fact, McBunch is only the second Mississippian to ascend to the NABBA presidency, a grooming process that takes five years.
Educating fellow and future barbers is McBunch’s passion, and it’s something he’s pursued since starting his career.
He’s been a barber instructor and a teacher. At age 29, he was the youngest barber in Mississippi to win the Barber of the Year Award. And in 1990, the same year he opened his own business, he was named the Roffler Educational Artist of the Year.
His skills and teaching acumen have allowed him to travel across the country and in spots across the globe.
“It’s humbling to know that I help speak for thousands of barbers across the country,” he said.
According to McBunch, there are some 300,000 barbers in the U.S., representing some 125,000 businesses. Another 30,000 students are waiting in the wings at some 700 schools, which employ about 5,000 instructors.
“In Mississippi, we have 24 schools with 800-plus students and around 150 instructors,” he said. “The state has about 2,000 shops, and there are about 10,000 barbers. So it’s a very big industry in the state.”
McBunch’s primary mission in the organizations he’s been involved has been to teach and train not only students, but also barbers already in the business.
“You never stop learning,” he said. “Education is the key to anything, no matter what it is you’re doing.”
One of his key platforms as president of NABBA has been continuing education courses and credits for barbers.
“It’s available to instructors, but not for barbers. That’s something we’d like all the states to adopt,” he said. “Also, states have laws for instructors, but not necessarily barbers. There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed.”
McBunch said he’s not trying to leave any kind of legacy.
“I’m not doing all this for the publicity. I just want to give back something to my profession, which has given so much to me. It’s been a wonderful career, a wonderful profession.”