Rodrick Samuels is a leading industry educator, barber and activist. Read his story to learn more about how he overcame hurdles to build his career.
#Solidhairity. Coined by Rodrick Samuels, this hashtag represents the need for diversity in education in the beauty industry. As a business owner, educator and industry activist, Rodrick works to bring diverse, professional education to the new generation of barber and beauty students.
Rodrick’s school, Hair Lab Detroit focuses on breaking barriers. The school, of which Rodrick and his wife Lauren Moser Samuels are directors, works to break stereotypes in the industry and with clients. “It keeps our industry stagnant when you don’t have more people who have differences in race and texture who can service anyone who sits in their chair,” he said.
“I don’t want my current students to ever go through what I went through.”
Rodrick originally started working with hair when he was 13 as “bathroom barber” or “kitchen beautician. Once deciding on this career path, Rodrick had to take the barber test three times. With this experience, over the past 25-years, Rodrick Samuels has worked to elevate the education of the industry. “I don’t want my current students to ever go through what I went through; getting myself pumped up for failure and not really taking advantage of the opportunities to study properly”, he said.
To be in education, Rodrick feels that empathy and patience are impactful. “Students who are loved at home come to school to learn and those who aren’t loved at home come to school to feel loved,” he said. That impact then impressed upon students the “soft skills” that can get lost in the world of today. Many in the industry refer to the chair as a place of therapy for clients and these skills can go a long way in creating a successful career.
“Everyone wants to take the elevator to success and not the stairs.”
Being proud of your failures is also one of Rodrick’s key teachings. “Everyone wants to take the elevator to success and not the stairs,” he said. Resilience is a key part of success in the industry he believes. “I’m proud of my failures,” he said.
As a PBA Member, Rodrick has a special connection that not many can boast. In 2017, Rodrick and Lauren were married on the NAHA stage in Las Vegas by Stephen Gomez. Now, Lauren and Rodrick will be hosting the ISSE Digital Experience March 14-16.