College of Hair Design
Still Cutting-Edge, After 60 Years
By Lindsey Tederman
What began with shears in his dad’s barber shop has turned into a lifelong career for Greg Howard. He is dedicated to educating students at the College of Hair Design and preparing individuals for business while allowing them to pursue their passions. Greg and his wife, Shawn, are celebrating the 60-year anniversary of the College of Hair Design this year. Its sprawling campus in south Lincoln signifies growth, while the building’s design is cutting-edge, just like the school’s founder—Greg’s dad, Al Howard.
Al opened the Lincoln Barber College in downtown Lincoln in 1960, after his years as a barber in the Navy. He was truly a leader in the barber and salon industry, Greg shares. He was always on the forefront of trends, bringing new ideas to the school.
Decades later, Greg has followed in his father’s footsteps. He renamed the organization College of Hair Design and has opened a second location. He found design inspiration for the state-of-the-art East Campus from schools in Salt Lake City and Chicago. In 2008, an esthetics program was added to the career training offered at the school. College of Hair Design is one of the only schools in Nebraska to offer education in DermaPod microdermabrasion.
College of Hair Design has seven instructors, and each class has 15 to 20 students. The cosmetology classes start 5 times per year, and their Esthetics programs starts 4 times each year. The demand for class space is so great that, as of October 2020, the next open spot isn’t until July of 2021. It is a stand-out school with the highest standards, and local employers know it. “We have a reputation that the students who graduate from our school will be desirable employees,” Shawn says. “Employers seek them out.”
Melissa Stone is the receptionist at College of Hair Design. She is also a former esthetics student who now owns her own business, Blush Esthetics Studio. Students get a lot more out of this program than elsewhere, she says. She knows the students well, including one current student who travels from Omaha specifically to attend the esthetics school in Lincoln. “I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else,” Melissa says.
Taylor Wenger, a recent graduate from Gothenburg, agrees with that sentiment. She says that what stuck out to her about College of Hair Design was that she could get a dual license in cosmetology and esthetics. “I have learned more than I could have ever imagined about hair,” she shares. “The instructors give you an equal opportunity to learn and get the most out of the program that you can.”
As Greg puts it, students are essentially working while in a learning environment. That real-world experience is a complement to the instruction. Twice a month, Greg brings industry leaders to the school for DEMO Day. During this part of the program, live demonstrations and training take place to help keep students up to date with current and evolving techniques and developing new methods to offer clients. “We want to provide really high quality education, but not just hair education,” Shawn says. “We provide career training so our graduates can have their choice of where they would like to work, earn a profitable wage, and be happy.”
Shawn adds that work ethic is at the core of what makes College of Hair Design graduates successful. She says they train their students on the importance of punctuality, attendance, and quality of work. They teach their students about marketing and how to build a client base. Before Taylor graduated from College of Hair Design, she already had a job lined up at Pixie, a salon in Gothenburg. She attributes her confidence and job to what she has learned the past year in school. “A big fear of mine was starting to take clients for the first time, and they made things run smoothly,” Taylor says. “I never felt like I was alone or that I had no one to ask for help. As you progress in the program, it gets really fun to have more and more clients because you learn something new every time. The hands-on training we get is amazing.”
Since its founding as Lincoln Barber College 60 years ago, College of Hair Design has remained at the cutting edge of beauty industry training. Most importantly for Greg, his father’s vision of high hair standards remains today, and their students are well-equipped to go into the world with confidence. If you’re ready to train for your new career, give them a call!
College of Hair Design has two locations in Lincoln. The Downtown Campus is located at 304 South 11th Street (402-474-4244), and the East Campus is located at 9000 Andermatt Drive (402-488-7007). For more information, visit them online at collegeofhairdesign.com.
Greg and Shawn Howard