A Profession Worth Preserving
Cosmetology Deregulation is a Dangerous Trend
Responding to loss of revenue and increasing regulatory costs, an alarming number of states are seeking to deregulate the beauty industry. Their hope is to see cost-savings on administration of exams, licensing, and inspection of salons and barber shops.
The problem, eliminating these requirements will allow anyone to open up their own salon. ANYONE!! For consumers, this means when you seek beauty services, you’re doing so at your own risk.
Thirty-seven years in the business I can assure you a level of expertise is required in order to protect consumers. Training and licensing ensure core knowledge and competency in areas such as bacteriology, sanitation, anatomy, and chemistry.
Why do you think the industry was regulated in the first place? Have you seen the horrid pictures of finger nail and toe nail infections, scalp burns, bacterial infections how about MERSA? How about herpes transference or chemical scarring? You may think these are fanatical statements, but I assure you, they are not. A quick Google search will confirm your worst fears.
As an industry we must pause and reflect. Applying salon beauty treatments is more complex now than ever, how is it that politicians are comfortable discussing deregulation?
Industry Professionals, We Have Some Responsibility Here
In the past 10 years I’ve witnessed the rapid devaluation of the profession at an astonishing rate.
Direct sales of professional products to consumers by manufacturers (known as diversion), young professionals failing to thrive out of beauty school because training is focused on passing state boards versus deep knowledge in theory and critical thinking, proliferation of corporate salons and franchises which focus solely on quantity and mass production, kitchen beauticians, and television and media which portray hairdressers as selfish, catty, competitive, nitwits, without any business sense or customer service acumen whatsoever.
No wonder politicians look at regulation as a waste of funds or at a minimum access to easy cash.
This could not happen without voluntary participation by industry professionals. Tangentially, this should send a powerful message to all of us that our actions are having a seriously detrimental effect on the profession overall.
Power of Passion and Professionalism
Genuine hairdressers and salon owners are passionate, deeply passionate about all things beauty. Some wrongly consider the “rigors” of professionalism a threat to the creative aspirations. The most successful professionals in this industry are both passionate and professional.
One of my pet peeves is when I hear professionals describe their work by saying “I’m just a hairdresser”. You are not just anything. Don’t discount yourself or your work by qualifying it with the word “just.” The work you do is valuable and important!
Elevate the value of your work and your own self-image by approaching your job with these professional mindsets. You will be more satisfied in your work, perform better, and build higher levels of trust with others
Focus on results. Develop a track record for consummate, unparalleled, renowned customer service. Let me quote many a client “customer service matters”.
Realize (and act like) you are part of something bigger than yourself. Understand that true success is measured beyond your own personal interests. Be a good collaborator, commit to your goals and support your co-workers and employees in theirs. Keep focused on the long-term goal and don’t get wrapped up in the daily drama.
Keep your ego in check, celebrate the success of others, and value the contributions other professionals bring to the table. EGO WILL KILL YOUR CAREER
Realize that things get better when you get better. Engage in and commit to improving your craft. Seek opportunities to grow personally and professionally.
Realize personal integrity is all you have. Following through on commitments, be honest, authentic, and never violate the trust that has been extended to you. These things are a reflection of your character.
Master your emotions; do not be enslaved by them. Learn to deal diplomatically with difficult people, rise above the fray, and remain objective in emotional situations.
Catalyst for Change
Make it your mission, as a professional to service as a catalyst for change! Contribute to the re-imaging and preservation of the industry. Resist supporting manufacturers that undermine the profitability of salons through unfair pricing practices or who participate in bipolar marketing strategies and engage in diversion.
Inspire new talent to expand their way of thinking and to take conscious steps toward restoring power, pride, and prestige to the industry.
Let’s take back our profession, after all no manufacturer, point of sales system or distributor would be in business without us.
J Christian and his wife Marcy Wilkinson, own and operate J Christian Studio in Hockessin, Delaware. J Christian has over 37 years experience in this industry and is an active international artist and master educator. The Studio is full-service, upscale salon with expertise in hair, nails, makeup, executive and standard male grooming, as well as bridal services.