Hispanic Entrepreneurs Oral History Project
Summary of Interview
Hector Barragan founded the Pipo Academy of Hair Design in El Paso, TX; he is from Segundo Barrio in El Paso; he began cutting hair after leaving Segundo Barrio, learned it from his parents and brothers that were barbers on Colon St.; His mother is from Puebla and father from Chihuahua; describes working with his brothers and learning importance of sanitation and technique. Mr. Barragan recounts working for well-known barber Mr. Alonso Cole and the mentorship he provided in technique and the business aspects of running a barbershop and barber supply store; states Mr. Cole’s consistency and salesmanship made him a successful businessman; describes Mr. Cole’s sponsorship for barber school in San Antonio and financial support he provided him in starting his own barbershop business; Mr. Barragan mentions how his wife assisted him with his English language skills and her role in helping him establish his barber college; details his long experience getting accreditation for his school and a man named Jonathon that assisted him with it; mentions local beautician school owner and chairman of accreditation in El Paso Al Ratner’s efforts to prevent him from getting accreditation due to fear of competition; recalls his school opening in 1976 and shortly thereafter Mr. Ratner went out of business; frustration that the city would recommend students to Mr. Ratner and later to El Paso Community College instead of him; goes over effort to secure loans thorough organizations such as the Small Business Association due to not initially receiving grants. Mr. Barragan talks about his current reaccreditation, grants for expansion and explains why he thinks the city refers students to EPCC instead of him; elaborates on his relationship with the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce; explains how barbering is a skill and not just a commodity which separates it from other businesses; goes over the daily processes of his business the people that currently manage aspects of his business; concludes with need for management training as your business expands.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
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Interview with Hector Barragan by Edmundo Valencia, 2009, "Interview no. 1509," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.