Category: Consumer/Pro Retail

No More Professional Licenses

Mississippi no longer requires professional licenses for people who offer low-risk beauty services, a change that will save residents thousands of dollars and hours of time spent on training. House Bill 1312 was signed by Gov. Tate Reeves April 9, and it became law immediately. It removes certification requirements for people who work as eyebrow threaders, eyelash technicians or makeup artists.

The Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology previously required people who receive money for these services to earn an esthetician license. The license requires training and exams, but none of the training deals with applying false eyelashes or eyebrow threading, the technique of using a single strand of cotton thread to remove hair. The legislation was prompted by multiple lawsuits against the board. The first was filed in 2019 on behalf of eyebrow threader Dipa Bhattarai by Mississippi Justice Institute, the legal arm of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, which advocates for free markets and limited regulation.

Bhattarai, now 26, was forced to close her eyebrow threading business in early 2018 after she received a citation for not having a license. She started her business while studying for an accounting degree at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, as a way to help pay for school. Bhattarai learned eyebrow threading growing up in her native Nepal, where her aunt owned a salon. Bhattarai said there were few beauty service providers offering eyebrow threading when she opened her business. She started in a mall kiosk and soon expanded to two storefronts, in Starkville and Columbus. She served more than 3,000 customers in two years of business. When she had to close, four employees lost work. Bhattarai, who had just begun graduate school, lost thousands of dollars of business, all the while continuing to pay rent for her stores, which were under lease.

Mississippi Justice Institute director Aaron Rice said these kinds of regulations disproportionately impact the poor, minorities and young people. “A lot of times the people who are trying to get their start in life and get into the market or the workforce are young people who may not have an occupational license,” he said. “That barrier may be more than they can overcome in order to get into a work setting.” In 2020, Madison eyelash technician Amy Burks threatened litigation against the Board of Cosmetology after it threatened to shut down her business of five years because she had no license. Another lawsuit was filed by Fulton makeup artist Karrece Stewart in 2020.

Stewart said she was inspired to push for the law after hearing about Melony Armstrong, a Black woman who fought to get a law passed removing licensure requirements for hair braiding 15 years ago. “She told me what I needed to do to make my dream come true,” said Stewart, who said she spoke with Armstrong when preparing to file her lawsuit. Standing in her salon on Wednesday, Burks said she is grateful to be able to continue her work legally now that the law has changed. “For me personally, it was an integrity issue. It really bothered me to think that I was doing something illegal,” she said. “We have so many clients, and this has just been so overwhelming all the support that we have gotten.”





UK Government to Help The Hairdressing Industry

The hair industry has been one of the most affected sectors from the pandemic and the National Hair & Beauty Federation’s (NHBF) latest report shows turnover falling by 45% in 2020, compared to 2019.

Due to social distancing restrictions, salon capacity fell to 70% of what it was before the pandemic began, with hair businesses losing on average two hours of appointment time per stylist per day, the report found.

The average cash loss to a business in 2020 was £17,000, with those over the VAT threshold taking an even bigger hit, and one in 10 businesses did not return any income or dividend to their owners or managers, the data revealed. Full-time employment in the sector is also down 21% on 2019 figures.

As such, the NHBF states that there are now many hair and beauty businesses which are acutely vulnerable to failure in the next 12 months, especially as 2021 is expected to be just as tough a year as 2020. Without further support from Government, most expect to survive two-to-three months (from January 2021) if coronavirus lock-down continues, the NHBF’s report states.

The report also revealed that the Covid-19 crisis has a disproportionate impact on women and those in deprived communities – for example, hair and beauty business owners are 82% female, with an 88% female workforce.

There is also a higher proportion of personal care businesses than any other sector in the most deprived areas of the UK, with closure of these places posing a risk to those in the local community who are most likely to be employed at these salons.

Reducing VAT to 5% would add £16,000 to the average VAT registered business, closing the cash gap by one-third, states the report. This would reduce to 6% the proportion of businesses not returning anything to their owners or managers.

If 18% of the businesses which would have otherwise failed survive as a result of reducing VAT to 5%, then the policy pays for itself through the taxes they will pay.

Talking about the NHBF’s report findings, chief executive Richard Lambert said: “While the future could be bleak for the personal care sector, intervention now and immediately following reopening will have a life-changing positive effect. There’s nothing coming in, but the overheads still have to be paid. When we are closed, we are closed. We can’t diversify into takeaways and online sales.

“The personal care sector is calling for a specific grant to support businesses through the immediate cashflow crisis, in line with similar funds that have been afforded to many other sectors, including the arts, hospitality and leisure, and the aeronautical industry, among others.”

He added: “We also need support after reopening to keep cash in these businesses so they can recover. The bigger businesses have been hit the hardest and are now the most vulnerable to failure. A targeted VAT cut to 5% would allow them to re-build, invest in staff and apprentices, and once again be the heart of their high streets and communities. We’ve shown this move will pay for itself, so it’s a cost-effective solution for the Government.

“Right now, it feels like we are last in line for support, flippantly disregarded within Parliament and overlooked by Government, despite the billions of pounds we contribute to the economy each year.”

The NHBF has been working with the British Beauty Council (BBC), British Association of Beauty Therapists and Cosmetologists (Babtac) and the UK Spa Association (UKSA) to lobby the Department for Business (BEIS), the Treasury and the Cabinet Office for an urgent Personal Care crisis fund and a reduction in VAT.

Gorilla Glue Lady Is A Mess, No Common Sense

Tessica Brown said she had run out of her usual hair spray one day and made the decision to use the Gorilla Glue spray in the interim. As Brown explained, weeks had passed at this point and her hair was still not able to move. “My hair, it don’t move. You hear what I’m telling you? It. Don’t. Move,” she said at the time. “… So I’m tell you like this: If you ever, ever run out of Göt2b Glued Spray, don’t ever use this. Unless you want your hair to be like that forever.”

Over the weekend, Tessica Brown said to her followers on instagram that she was paying a visit to the St. Bernard Parish Hospital in Louisiana. Brown said hospital staff attempted to use nail polish remover and saline water on her head, which caused a burning sensation. “It burned so bad my heart started beating too fast,” she recalled, noting that she ultimately chose to check herself out instead of going through with 20 hours of this attempted remedy. From there, the aim was to continue that treatment from home, though that’s apparently not resulted in progress so far.

She shared an update on Instagram confirming she “will be leaving tomorrow to go see a surgeon.” She thanked those sending her love and shrugged off folks making jokes about her. “I really do love and appreciate everybody I mean everybody that truly has my back.” Hair experts and medical professionals alike have all tried to come together over the last few days to try to find a viable solution for Brown. Some of their suggestions have included using rubbing alcohol and acetone to break down the glue, and Brown even made a trip to the ER. However, nothing so far has been able to help dissolve the adhesive.

Tessica Brown has hired an attorney and is said to be weighing potential legal options in connection with the adhesive spray incident. Per their report, Brown felt that the labeling on the product which is said to have mentioned not using it on eyes, skin, and clothes was misleading. The Gorilla Glue brand released a professional statement via Instagram on Feb. 8, sending their well wishes to Brown. However due to the nature of its product’s use, they were not able to provide any help. “We are very sorry to hear about the unfortunate incident that Miss Brown experienced using our Spray Adhesive on her hair,” the company captioned the post. “We are glad to see in her recent video that Miss Brown has received medical treatment from her local medical facility and wish her the best.”

Days after going viral for the incident, the Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who offered a free procedure (worth an estimated $12,500) to Tessica Brown made good on his promise. “She’s been through a lot and I hope that you guys will learn from Tessica’s injuries or Tessica’s ordeal,” Dr. Obeng said. “Make sure that any time you guys grab something, make sure you read it.” Brown is planning to fly California on Wednesday to start the process, according to the publication. And while the removal is estimated to cost around $12,500, Dr. Obeng is reportedly providing the service pro bono.

Ulta lays off corporate employees

Ulta Beauty laid off employees at its corporate headquarters and among its field management team yesterday as it works to reshape itself amid the ongoing pandemic. Spokeswoman Eileen Ziesemer declined to comment on the number of employees that were laid off but confirmed their last day was Jan. 12.

“While incredibly difficult, these decisions were made thoughtfully with a focus on resetting our corporate cost structure to operate more effectively and efficiently in the short-term as well as optimizing our enterprise capabilities to thrive in the long-term,” Ziesemer said in an email. “The associates leaving Ulta Beauty were of course treated with respect, compassion and support.” The layoffs hit roles across all corporate functions of the Chicago-area-based beauty chain, Ziesemer said.

It also eliminated open roles and reorganized some teams. She said the move expanded certain positions and “introduced a small number” of roles in investment areas. Like many retailers, Ulta has faced struggles during the pandemic. It closed its stores for seven or eight weeks during the shutdowns last spring, closed 19 stores permanently in the third quarter, and has eliminated jobs.

Makeup in particular has been a tricky category during the pandemic. Without excuses to leave the house, many have forgone wearing makeup for months. There are some bright spots, such as above-the-mask eye makeup, and pampering items, such as candles and bath products, executives said on Ulta’s earnings call last month. The shutdowns also drove traffic online. Ulta has 1,262 stores in the U.S., Ziesemer says. The company was founded in 1990. The company most recently reported its employment count before the pandemic. As of last February, Ulta employed about 18,000 full-time and 26,000 part-time workers, according to a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission from last March. Ziesemer said the total number of corporate associates laid off yesterday was a “meaningful, but relatively small number of our total associates.”

Nail, Hair and Skin Pros Sue California Gov. Newsom

The beauty industry joined restaurants in suing California Governor Newsom, requesting immediate and permanent reopening. The vast majority of the beauty industry is made up of women, first-generation immigrants and the LGBT community. Ten months after the Governor mandated salon closures, the state has failed to produce any “data and science” justifying the criminalization of the services of these state licensed professionals.

“Our small businesses, less financed and politically connected than multinational corporations, Hollywood and other so-called ‘essential businesses’, have become the go-to sacrificial lambs to the Covid gods,” said Professional Beauty Federation of California (PFBC) Counsel and Advocate Fred Jones. “This has been ruinous for thousands of our establishments and the livelihood of tens of thousands, without any justifiable basis.”

Lead counsel and high-profile LA attorney Mark Geragos commented: “What has become obvious is that the Governor and so called health officials never followed ‘science or data’ on closing down outdoor dining or capricious lock-downs of safe barbershops and beauty salons. Instead of following the science they followed the Lobbyists and allowed film companies to utilize hairstylists and makeup artists, while preventing the same services to be done in salons by the very same trained professionals. By definition this is ‘unequal treatment under the law’.”

“Cutting hair is a criminal act in only one State in the Union,” reminded PBFC President Ted Nelson. “Governor Newsom is arbitrarily and needlessly destroying the livelihoods of state licensed professionals who have the formal education and training to keep their clientele safe from infections, as the CDC has acknowledged. Shame on him!