Herriman’s newest barber apprentice in training proving he is ‘a cut above the rest’
Sep 09, 2019 01:12PM
By Jennifer Gardiner
Jayden working at The Hive in Herriman. (Photo courtesy Ray Francom)
By Jennifer Gardiner | [email protected]
Most 12 year olds are busy riding bikes, playing video games or hanging out with friends but Fort Herriman Middle Schooler Jayden Francom spends his free time following a dream: to be a licensed barber, just like his dad.
If you walk into The Hive in Herriman, you may just meet Jayden while he is working on his apprenticeship to becoming the youngest licensed barber in the state of Utah.
The dream for Jayden really started in 2014 when his dad, Ray, was preparing to open a barbering and cosmetology school called American Beauty Academy.
“I had created a curriculum to teach barbers and wanted to do a run-through, so I decided why not begin with Jayden, who was 7, and his older sister Amaiya, who was 10,” Ray Francom said. “Jayden picked up on what I was teaching him pretty well, so after doing over 20 haircuts on a mannequin, I began helping him cut some of his friends’ hair.”
Ray Francom said his son did pretty well, and it got him wondering just how old you have to be in order to become a licensed barber.
“I called the Department of Licensing to see, and they told me there was no age limit as long as they are capable of passing the state testing,” he said. “I knew the state written test would be difficult for a 7 year old. So, we just kept working on his practical skills, and over the years, he kept practicing by cutting some of his friends’ hair as they needed it.”
Ray Francom said the process of teaching Jayden wasn’t much different than teaching an adult.
“I would say if anything the fact he is young, he catches onto things fairly quickly,” he said. “But he has the same challenges of learning how to properly perform the techniques. It has taken him a little longer to understand the fashion or style side of the haircut and to be able to recognize the proper look to what someone is going for.”
Jayden said it is all about being able to bring out the best look in someone that makes the whole thing satisfying and encourages him to do more and be a part of his community.
“Many people will always think us kids are all about video games and YouTube and things like that,” he said. “But when people see a 12 year old in the barbershop working, they are surprised at how well I work. People always ask me why I decided to start barbering, and I tell them all about how many people in my family started barbering, and it makes me feel included in a family tradition.”
Jayden is the fourth generation of his family to master the skill of barbering and has received a lot of support throughout his journey. However, Jayden said not everyone is down for a 12 year old cutting their hair.
“There are some people that aren't comfortable with me cutting their hair,” he said. “When my dad was trying to get my apprenticeship paperwork going the lady over the phone was very hesitant and even asked. ‘Is he even able to hold the clippers?’ Many people would rather wait to get a haircut by some of the other barbers in the shop, but a lot of the kids that are younger stop me in the lunchroom and ask me when they could get a haircut. Sure enough, they always show up.”
Jayden said he is grateful for all the people that give him a chance to practice his skills and get apprenticeship hours.
Jayden recently finished school at Foothills Elementary and has headed off to the seventh grade.
His favorite things to do is play basketball and football, and he loves art and drawing. Jayden and his friends love Marvel and talk about it all the time, saying he could “go on and on about it.”
Jayden’s mom is from the small “but famous island” of Jamaica. Jayden said he also loves visiting the island and showing his culture.
“I grew out my hair into dreads, which are now just my trademark in my school and differs me from everyone else,” said Jayden. “I am glad to be able to be a barber, and I am grateful to be in such a supportive community.”