Warner Robins, Ga. – Onstage in the auditorium of Central Georgia Technical College’s (CGTC) Warner Robins campus in mid-July, while wielding techniques for shears and clippers on a demo cut, former cosmetology student now master cosmetologist, Preston Werneth, professed there was a point in his life where he didn’t know if he was cut out for this career.
“I did not want to do feet, so I quit again,” Werneth said, to a room full of CGTC’s aspiring cosmetologists and barbers, reminiscing about one of his four attempts to complete the cosmetology program, before he turned his life on its heel.
Pedicures were only part of what held him back; most of it was work ethic.
“I fought it and fought it in myself to the point where I called Jolie and told her, ‘I have to do this,’” he said.
Jolie Martin is the Cosmetology program chair at CGTC. Werneth accepted her invitation to speak with students fresh off his victory in the main event, “Tag Team Creative”, a category of the 2018 International Hair Wars in Las Vegas in June. Martin keeps up with the Facebook Live and social media self-marketing videos many of her former students produce for industry trends and clientele building.
Martin knew Werneth since he was a kid, and saw his talents grow as a teenager. At 16, Werneth became inspired to cut hair after he received a pair of clippers from his grandfather. He cut hair for friends in the less than ideal salon-conditions of his mother’s kitchen.
“Preston was just like any kid who doesn’t get what he wants, and gets pushed up against a wall, and doesn’t push through,” Martin said “But, we were all like that at some point. Then one day you say, ‘you know what? It’s time to stop playing around and push through’. I’m proud of him that he pushed through.”
The final push followed a run-in with the state board, leaving Werneth in need of completing the program or risk never cutting hair again. When he made his return to the salons on campus – often having to start back at the beginning – he pleaded with instructors to stick with him. He thanked those instructors at the master class repeatedly for never giving up on him.
A blue-suited, styled, and certified Werneth demonstrated cuts alongside the shop owner of Olde World Barber Shoppe in Warner Robins, Steven Putman, where he cuts hair. Together they shared techniques and advice for students from each of the College’s campuses.
Werneth was an open book to the inquiries of students. He had a lot to share.
While he has always had the talent, his newfound master cosmetologist title has garnered him an incredible amount of exposure. As one of Olde World Barber Shoppe’s three, featured barbers and management team, he has become part of education and training for numerous advanced women’s and men’s haircutting classes within the industry.
His client list is more than 600 strong. His chair at Olde World is booked until the second week of August. In December of 2016, he brought home 1st place in the B-Groomed National Expo in Atlanta. In May 2018, he had a strong showing at the Orlando Premier International Expo, leading him to numerous connections within the industry.
Fittingly, many of the future faces of the local industry he spoke to at CGTC wanted to know how to get to that point. With his cuts right at $30, good money is out there for those that pursue all the profession requires.
When he felt he was not cut out for this career he was lazy, unmotivated to put in all the work. Werneth said he can still be that way, but whatever his approach, it does not change the demands of the career.
Self-admittedly, when he uses shears he cuts above the second knuckle, not a widely implemented practice among the profession. He is even prone to dropping a more than $1400 pair of shears (as he did during the event).
With a style his own and the success to back it up, he can say his approach eventually carried him where his talents projected. However, as he told students, there is only one thing that can ever put them off course.
“The moral of my story is, if there is anything you want to do in this life, there is no one that can stop you but yourself,” he said.
For more information about the Cosmetology program, contact Jolie Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: 2017 CGTC Cosmetology program graduate, Preston Werneth, performs a demo cut on Danielle Morris, a cosmetology instructor at CGTC.
Video: A short video explaining Werneth’s recent success and what instructors in the cosmetology program meant to him. There are multiple scenes of Werneth using clippers to trim the back portion of hair on a model, him speaking to the crowd of students in the auditorium, and explaining techniques for a clipper over comb cut. Toward the end, he turns around in a barbering chair and shares his thoughts on being successful.