After 12 years as a barber --three of them teaching at the Beau Monde College—Franklin Whatley wondered why he had never seen a textbook for clipper haircutting. After searching the Internet, and coming up empty, he decided to create his own.
Now, Whatley's hoping "The Art of Clipper Cutting: A guide to clipper cutting fundamentals," will be adopted by cosmetology and hair design schools around the country.
"I've had a lot of interest and a lot of people telling me there's nothing like it out there," he says. "But I don't have anything in ink yet."
Everything Whatley knew, he had learned from watching other barbers, listening to their advice and through his own experience as a barber, he says. So he created a system, based on his knowledge, that can help barbers and hair professionals create the perfect cut every time.
"A lot of people do demonstrations: I decided to go in depth and tell people how to do it scientifically. Whatley's method works on both straight and curly hair, he says.
"I start with the anatomy and the physiology of the hairline, then I show people how to recognize a series of color coded points that can act as a guide. So it's a step-by –step instruction manual."
Gov. Kitzhaber has just appointed Whatley to the Oregon Board of Cosmetology, for a three-year term. The board discussed the controversial issue of hair braiding last week, as well as looking at the economic impact of Oregon's cosmetology businesses, he says.
"I learned a lot just at that first meeting."
Whatley started out in Cleveland, Ohio, before coming to Portland seven years ago. Since he arrived, he's worked at the Terrell Brandon Barbershop on N.E. Alberta St.
Writing the clipper cutting manual has been a labor of love that took three years, he says. And now he's working on the advanced manual, which will feature designer cuts, beards, razors and other secrets he's discovered during his career.
"I want people to know that they can do anything if they want to do it enough," Whatley says. "I graduated from high school with a 1.9 GPA, but I'm proud of myself because at one time, I didn't think I would graduate. I just wasn't applying myself at that time in my life.
"I put my heart and soul into this project. So I hope that will motivate someone."