In the January issue of Beauty Industry Report, Gordon Logan, ISBN’s immediate past president, sounds off on why the beauty industry must work together to uphold national standards and prevent de-regulation.
Status quo won’t work for us any more
Our industry has been regulated by the individual states for decades, with changes coming slowly and incrementally for the most part. Many laws, rules and regulations were written decades ago and have been added to, modified and fiddled with, which has resulted in a hodge-podge of confusing and sometimes conflicting guidelines. This has come to the attention of many state legislatures, and has resulted in more calls to deregulate our industry entirely, as part of a groundswell movement to streamline government to trim state budgets and a revolt against over-regulation of all types. Often cited are the difficulties stylists have in transferring their licenses from one state to another—which is often more difficult than it is for Registered Nurses or CPAs. Obviously, that is not logical.
The Department of Education and Congress have also noted the discrepancies between states. Since the federal government funds a very large percentage of barber and cosmetology school tuition, they are rightfully concerned about and are looking to address the amount of funding and the discrepancies between states. The obvious question is why can a stylist get licensed in New York or Massachusetts after 1,000 hours of school, whereas some states require as many as 2,100 hours? Why should the federal government fund twice the number of hours when the result is the same—a licensed stylist? With the “gainful employment” issues facing schools, shorter courses with less student debt and more favorable debt/ income ratios may become a necessity.
Regardless of whether we think the existing rules are reasonable—and very few of us can say that we do with a straight face—hoping to maintain the status quo is a poor strategy. If our industry doesn’t take a more pro-active approach to normalizing and rationalizing the myriad rules and regulations with which we must contend, it’s only a matter of time before one or more states de-regulate us. Once that happens, others will follow. Stylists who are licensed in a de-regulated state will not be able to move to another state. Schools will either close or have to completely re-structure and re-position themselves to justify enrollment. “Professional” products will be available to anyone. Distribution will be disrupted. Professional liability insurance will be difficult if not impossible to obtain. The health and safety of consumers and industry professionals will be at risk.
Time is not on our side. The longer we delay in developing alternatives to complete de-regulation to present to state legislatures, the more we are at risk. We must work together to develop rational solutions, and we must present a united front. We are in or rapidly approaching a crisis. Let’s turn these challenges into opportunities!
The Professional Beauty Association is spearheading an all-industry effort to address these issues and develop proactive solutions. Visit probeauty.org/yoursafetyfirst. Supporting our professional organizations is key to affecting the regulation of our industry.