LANSDALE—“All characters are welcome” at Nick Prosseda’s new barber academy, Modern Male Barber Academy, at 209 W. Main Street in Lansdale, which opened to students earlier this month.
Prosseda, CEO and founder of Modern Male Barber, first found his passion for barbering at 11 years old after helping his neighbor cut hair on his front porch. He later began his career at Citrus Salon and Day Spa in Whitpain under the guidance of the Troilo family at 15.
He later opened his first Modern Male Barbershop in 2008 in Sellersville at 24 years old and has modernized and professionalized the traditional practices of barbershops.
“Growing up in Philadelphia, there was a different vibe in the barbershop in other parts of the area, and I wanted to bring that vibe to the suburbs,” Prosseda said. “It was something that I experienced as a child going to the barbershop with my father and I wanted to replicate that.”
“We go against the grain of what traditional barbershops are looking like right now,” he said. “We accept credit cards and our employees are paid on the books.”
Prosseda hired a business coach in 2011 to improve upon and expand his business by creating a formal business structure. He now owns additional barbershops in Perkasie, Souderton and Quakertown.
“That’s when I learned about systems and processes and teaching my staff not just how to cut hair, but giving them playing fields and holding them accountable,” he said.
Prosseda has taught 80 percent of his staff through apprenticeships over the past decade, he said.
“We’ve been teaching for a long time and then we realized we’re limiting ourselves to the number of students that we can teach,” he said. “It was something that was evolving and was inevitable.”
After seeing the need for licensed professional barbers in the community, Prosseda decided to open his own barber academy with the help of a mentor from American Barber Academy.
The academy will host 20 students for nearly 11 months and requires students to have 1,250 hours of instruction and training to receive a barbering license. Students will offer $10 haircuts to the community Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Jake Moffatt, 23, is currently enrolled at the academy as a barber instructor student. Moffatt began working for Modern Male three years ago at the Souderton location, where he was a long-time customer, and Prosseda trained him to become a barber.
"Nick is very, very passionate," Moffatt said. "He teaches you to do everything the right way, like your body posture, what is being said to the client, and everything involved with the haircut."
"I never thought I would be able to cut hair, I wish I knew how easy it was when I was in high school," Moffatt said. "All it takes is patience and dedication."
Moffatt decided to enroll in the academy after he found his passion for cutting hair and a desire to teach others.
"I think it would be awesome to teach the next generation of barbers how to cut hair," he said. "That would make me feel good."
He will be taking classes related to business, management, leadership and public speaking and is looking forward to his future as a barber.
"It's one thing to cut hair, it's another thing describing what and why you're doing it," he said. "I'm really looking forward to being able to talk to people better, work with people and work through challenges."
Modern Male Barbershops also host “Cut-A-Thons” multiple times per year at all locations, which benefit local school districts, sports teams and organizations.
At one event, high school students are able to receive a discounted haircut if they show their quarterly report card and receive an A in one of their core classes.
“I’m a high school dropout, so it’s something I want to encourage youth to at least finish high school because there are things that I missed out on,” Prosseda said.
The company also recently partnered with Abington-Jefferson Health to host a Cut-A-Thon for “Grow-A-Pair,” a foundation that raises awareness about men’s health issues and encourages men to get cancer screenings. Prosseda is the founder and executive director of the foundation.
All of the proceeds raised from the event are donated to Abington-Jefferson Health for cancer screenings and research.
“[Cancer] is something that men don’t like to talk about, the procedures that you have to have to get checked out,” he said. “Grow a pair before you lose a pair, just man up and go to the doctor.”
Prosseda established the foundation and hosts the event at his barbershops because his father died from melanoma cancer when he was a child.
“Going to the barbershop with your dad is something that is sacred,” Prosseda said. “Seeing young men with their fathers at the barbershop is an internal fulfillment to me, to create that of what I didn’t have growing up.”
The 7th Annual Grow-A-Pair Cut-A-Thon will be hosted at the Lansdale location on Sept. 8.
Prosseda plans to continue expanding his company and brand, with tentative plans to open a barbershop in Center City Philadelphia in 2020. Additionally, by this coming Christmas, the company will have its own pomade developed.