A $21,000 Cosmetology School Debt, and a $9-an-Hour Job. Part 2

In 2016, Glenda Martin wasn’t aware of any trouble brewing between La’ James and the federal government, or that the school had spent the previous two years in a legal dispute with the Iowa attorney general’s office.

All she knew was that cosmetology was in her blood, as she likes to say. Her mother was a cosmetologist, and started teaching her how to style hair when she was a preteen. There was never any doubt about what career Ms. Martin would pursue. The only question was where to enroll. The way she saw it, she had only for-profit options: PCI Academy, an hour away in Ames, or La’ James International College in Fort Dodge, where she lived. (One community college campus offers a cosmetology degree, but it’s in a sparsely populated corner of the state, three hours from Fort Dodge.) She had heard that PCI students were pressured to push a certain number of products before they could get their own kits.

“I would have enjoyed another choice here in town,” she said. “I would have definitely checked it out.” Unknown to Ms. Martin, there could have been another option, just a few miles down the road: Iowa Central Community College. In the fall of 2004, the college submitted an application to the state cosmetology board to open a program. But in early 2005, the Iowa Cosmetology School Association and La’ James sued Iowa Central and got a temporary injunction that prevented it from moving forward with the program.

The lawsuit argued that the state code prohibits public entities from competing with private ones. If Iowa Central opened a cheaper program, the suit contended, La’ James would be “irreparably harmed by the loss of employees, members, clients, students, potential employees, potential clients, potential students” and other factors. Mr. Becher said the company had sued to “protect the students” from a subpar education. Ms. Wood Becher added, “It’s kind of a quality control thing.” The two sides ultimately compromised; students could earn associate degrees by completing cosmetology certificates at La’ James and taking six business classes at Iowa Central. La’ James lost nothing in the deal, but students lost the option of paying significantly less.

The Iowa Cosmetology School Association said its members’ prices are “consistent with the cost of all postsecondary education today” — particularly considering that they do not receive state subsidies. The average annual in-state cost of attendance at Iowa’s community colleges is $4,697. The University of Iowa, the state’s most expensive public four-year institution, costs $9,492 per year for in-state students. This year, Iowa Lakes Community College, about three hours northwest of Des Moines, announced plans to offer a cosmetics degree. The college’s president, Valerie Newhouse, said one cosmetology school had already threatened litigation. In 2016, Ms. Martin went for a short tour of the La’ James campus in Fort Dodge. The school’s storefront was airy and glamorous. Hair products lined the walls under enlarged photographs of well-coiffed women. Makeup displays were fronted by placards advertising the services available in the student-staffed salon. Students dressed in black shirts and pants.  Before her visit was over, Ms. Martin filled out her enrollment and financial aid paperwork. She took out $23,000 in loans. Ms. Martin liked La’ James at first, she said, but quickly discovered problems. She found the classes boring and repetitive. Some instructors had students read aloud from textbooks and watch instructional videos. Ms. Martin said that she supported Iowa’s 2,100-hour requirement in theory — as did several of the women we spoke with — but that in practice, many of those hours were wasted, particularly once she got to the salon floor. Although Fridays and Saturdays would be busy, the rest of the week generally dragged. She’d be itching to practice what she had been learning in class. But some days there were so few customers that she’d sit and wait for hours.

One day, she braved a snowstorm to get to the salon. The school had stayed open, requiring students to come in. Ms. Martin was the only one who did. She left at the end of the day without having seen a single customer — but those hours still counted toward the 2,100. She would shake her head when she saw other students, sick of the boredom, go home early. “That only works against you,” she said. “You have to stay here and do absolutely nothing or you go home and lose the hours.” The Iowa Cosmetology School Association said the state’s system “provides the right amount of training time to practice on actual people.” It also said that if some students waste hours sitting around, “it is unfortunate for both the student and the school.” In interviews, more than 20 former students at schools represented by the association described experiences like Ms. Martin’s. One former La’ James student, Michelle Wipperman, said foot traffic in the salon at the Cedar Rapids school was so low, some students asked administrators if they could advertise more. She recalls being told that it would be too expensive.

“I would say probably 60 percent of our time was sitting around waiting for people,” Ms. Wipperman said. “There were times where I personally had met all my goals that I needed to meet. I was literally just waiting. I had to finish my clock hours.” Despite these experiences, when Ms. Martin finished her cosmetology certificate, she re-enrolled for further training in esthetics. She thought the extra skills would help her someday in her own salon. Ms. Martin passed both her exams. But the school will not release her transcripts, so she can get her licenses, until she pays the several hundred dollars it says she owes. She disputes the debt and says she can’t afford to pay.

In the last five years, legislators in at least 11 states have introduced bills to lower the number of hours required for a cosmetology certificate. These efforts are driven by a mix of anti-regulatory libertarians, national salon chains that are having trouble hiring enough qualified stylists and the national association for cosmetologists, which wants its members to be able to carry their licenses across state lines. While aggressive lobbying by schools has managed to stall or defeat legislation in several states, at least eight have reduced the number of hours in their regulations. In recent years, required hours were lowered to 1,500 in South Dakota and Montana. And Nebraska legislators, after a long battle with the schools, trimmed their mandate to 1,800 hours. Administrators from schools in those states disagreed with the reductions, but said they were still able to cover the same material as before. Iowa, with its 2,100-hour standard, remains “an embarrassment,” said Dawn Pettengill, a Republican state representative who will retire next month. Hoping to lower the profession’s barrier to entry, Ms. Pettengill this year introduced legislation that would drop the hours to 1,500. Republicans in the Senate proposed a similar bill. Schools and their lobbyists mounted a fierce push-back. The schools “were livid,” said State Senator Jason Schultz, a Republican subcommittee chairman. “I didn’t expect the amount of opposition.” The school association’s political action committee had given more than $20,000 to Iowa candidates since 2014. It also had three lobbyists registered with the state; for the last session, the organization paid the lobbyists’ company $12,500.

While the dollar amounts weren’t huge, a little goes a long way in Des Moines. Hearings weren’t publicized, or even required, giving an advantage to the well-organized group. The schools argued that maintaining 2,100 hours was crucial to ensuring that students were able to learn everything needed to run salons in rural parts of the state, including nails, esthetics, business and state law, not just hair-styling. Their courses, they said, provide more depth than those in other states. A review of cosmetology curriculum’s nationally, however, shows that most states teach subjects beyond hair-styling. More than half explicitly mandate instruction in law or business topics. The Iowa school association also maintained that important differences in regulations complicated comparisons of schools across state lines. In Massachusetts, for example, a recent graduate must work under supervision for two years.

“We do not feel it is necessary to lower the standards of Iowa’s education just because other states have done so,” the association said. “It doesn’t make sense to us to produce graduates that come out of our programs with less skills, less confidence and who are less likely to succeed.” At a subcommittee hearing on the Senate bill, only one person testified in favor of fewer hours. Senator Schultz said that he had wanted the bill to move forward, but that since “only one side showed up,” he couldn’t justify it. Both bills died in committee. It’s not clear how much money the schools would lose if they no longer had students working on salon floors for so many hours. In Nebraska, schools argued at hearings that they would have to raise their tuition to make up for lost revenue if the state reduced the hours. La’ James supported, but did not testify in favor of, Iowa’s legislation, and the Empire Education Group, which owns the nation’s largest chain of cosmetology schools, has backed legislation in Ohio to drop the hour requirement to 1,000.

The increased scrutiny on cosmetology regulations at the state level follows a federal Department of Education effort, starting in 2009, to crack down on for-profit schools that charge high tuitions for credentials that do not lead to well-paying jobs. For each program, the department compiled so-called gainful employment information, which compared student debt with earnings after graduation and issued ratings. The figure for all programs nationally was 24 percent. Cosmetology programs fared particularly poorly: Nearly 40 percent of them, including 12 in Iowa, either failed or were in a warning “zone,” indicating that their students were not making enough to comfortably pay back their debts.

Cosmetology schools say the numbers do not accurately capture what their graduates earn in an industry with so many tips. And it is true that cosmetologists have the potential to make a good living. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a cosmetologist is $24,850. Those in the top 10 percent earn more than $50,000, or nearly $25 an hour. The problem is that most of these professionals flounder for years before getting to that point, if they reach it at all. After more than seven years on the job, Ms. Lozano finally got a raise. But that meant the loan payments she had been able to defer came due. The money she’ll use to finish paying them most likely won’t come from haircuts. Ms. Lozano plans to go back to school to become a registered nurse. If she’s able to find a position in that line of work, she could more than double her current salary. And it will give her and her daughter, who wants to be a doctor, another thing to bond over. “I told her she wasn’t allowed to go to school for hair,” Ms. Lozano said. “I don’t want her going through the same thing that I did — the debt, and everything after the fact. I won’t let her do it.”

 

Professional Salon Products- Ingredient Disclosure Victory!

On September 14th, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Professional Salon Products Labeling Act (AB 2775). Previously, ingredient labels were not required on professional salon products, leaving workers and consumers in the dark about harmful ingredients. Thanks to AB 2775, companies that sell professional nail, hair, and beauty salon products in California are now required to list ingredients on product labels. As companies move to comply with this new labeling law, the impact will be felt across the country. About time everyone!

 

Take Action To Clean Up The Beauty Aisle!

 

Dear friends

When we buy products that we put on our skin, faces and hair, we rightfully expect that they are free of toxic chemicals that increase our risk of breast cancer or  reproductive health problems. But think again.

A recent report card from our partners at Mind the Store shows that retailers Sally Beauty, Ulta Beauty, and Sephora, are failing to address cancer-causing chemicals in the cosmetic and personal care products they sell. Take action to clean up the beauty aisle!

Companies can and should make safer products, sell safer products, and make ingredient transparency a priority. Following pressure from consumers like you, companies like Target, Walmart, CVS Health, and Costco announced policies to get toxic chemicals off their store shelves last year.

Tell these beauty retailers to get their act together!

As more and more families are devastated by a cancer diagnosis, it’s more important than ever to focus on prevention. That’s why we believe – and think you do too – that chemicals that can cause cancer have no place in the products we use to clean and care for our bodies.

Please take action to tell these retailers to stop selling beauty products made with toxic chemicals. Because body care products shouldn’t cost us our health!

Thank you for your own good work on this issue,

Janet

Janet Nudelman
Director of Program & Policy, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners
Director, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics 415-321-2902 (direct)

P.S. Donate HERE to support our work to hold beauty retailers and other corporations accountable for product safety and transparency.

Beauty Business Report 2018 – Cost & Trends

At first blush, the beauty industry could be thought to cater only to the glamorous, or perhaps the vain, or maybe just those in the spotlight. And it does – along with everyone else! The industry is built on the product and services that help us look our best – whatever that best may be. It’s more diverse than you think and it’s certainly not just the makeup, hair color and perfume – it’s also the deodorant, toothpaste and even the ear hair clippers. It’s not just the salons – it’s the barber shops, waxing franchises, massage franchises and a whole lot more. It is every product and service dedicated to helping us look – and smell – the way we want, or the way we believe we should for professional reasons. And our definition of beauty is malleable and ever changing – providing never ending opportunities for the industry to innovate.

Historically trends were driven by celebrity taste-makers through their personal choices or professional endorsements. Those days are gone, or nearly so. 82% of women now believe that social media drives these trends. It’s a constant flow of information and opinion from not just trendsetters or celebrities, but from friends and friends of friends and an entire universe of strangers. But however they are set, there is a large industry ready, willing and able to cater to them. It is resistant to economic downturns and poised for even more growth. For the entrepreneur there are plentiful representative sales opportunities within companies like Avon or Arbonne and many more traditional franchising opportunities providing a slew of services.

As it turns out, it takes a lot of effort to keep us looking and smelling our best – an absolute army of products and services, in fact. Cosmetics, skin care, hair styling, hair coloring, hair removal, nail salons, tanning salons, massage parlors and luxury spas, shower and shaving product, perfumes, colognes…and a whole lot more. And that’s where it starts to get interesting – within each of these segments are products for every different skin tone or texture, allergy, age, hair type or color, sex – even the time of day! It is a level of diversity and nuance that may go unnoticed to the casual observer. Some of us, in fact, are overwhelmed by all those rows of shaving cream. But increasingly we are the minority – most consumers care, are discerning, and will try a number of different products before finding something that works. Once they find it, however, brand loyalty – whether for a shampoo or a particular salon – is extremely strong.

Producers differentiate themselves through their target demographic markets, price point and with different manufacturing processes. Products that promise no animal testing or that are all natural, for example, have loyal, niche markets and can often charge a premium.

Service providers compete primarily through price, location as well as their target demographic markets. Types of service and the related products that are offered are vital to profitability. Hair salons and barber shops, for example, rely on 5-15% of their revenue from hair care product sales. The beauty industry is known to be resistant to economic downturns – even faring well during the Great Recession of 2008. Though consumers tend to be more price conscious during those times, they do not stop spending. So in today’s environment of rising per capita incomes the beauty business is booming. In 2015 the industry generated $56.2 billion in the United States. Hair care is the largest segment with 86,000 locations. Skin care is a close second and growing fast, expected to have revenue of almost $11 billion by 2018. This growth is being driven in part by a generally increasing awareness of the importance of skin care, but also specifically due to an increase in the market for men.

 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly one million people employed in the primary service segments of the market, and there are strong growth expectations. Clearly this is an industry on the rise:

  • Barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists: 656,000 in 2014, 10% expected growth by 2024.
  • Manicurists and pedicurists: 113,600 in 2014, 10% expected growth by 2024.
  • Skincare specialists: 55,000 in 2014 with a 12% expected growth by 2024. Specific growth expected for businesses serving men.
  • Massage therapists: 168,800 employed in 2014 with a whopping 22% growth by 2024!
  • Organic products & products produced in a sustainable (environmentally conscious) manner. Certainly a niche market for many years, but greater availability of information about the benefits – personal or global – are driving increased growth.
  • Products and services focused on our aging population. Said plainly – we have a large retired/retiring population, and many of them have money to spend.
  • Products and services focused on babies and young children. This is frequently related to the organic/sustainable movement above. In particular, millennial moms are willing to pay a premium to make sure their kids have the proper skin protection. Other franchises such as Cookie Cutters focus on providing an amazing experience for kids – turning a trip to get the tips trimmed into an adventure.
  • Men’s product and services – this trend is still relatively new but is expected to drive growth for years to come. Places like the Boardroom Salon claim to provide the ultimate relaxation experience for men while the Hair Saloon and 18/8 Men’s Hair Salon are reinventing the barbershop.And it is just the tip of the iceberg.It is estimated that 75% of men are not using any sort of facial skin care, but interest continues to grow.

As mentioned above, it’s important to remember that many beauty franchises derive up to 15% of their revenue from product sales; putting the right product on the shelves can make or break a business. Some manufacturers have a franchising distribution system of their own and even offer training programs, or partner with a particular service provider. With strong and growing demand, employment estimates through the roof to meet that demand and a strong history of being a steady business even in turbulent times, the beauty industry continues to provide fantastic opportunities.

 

 

 

Wonderful Reviews For The Film, The Beautiful LieS

I am proud to announce the completion of my newest film, The Beautiful Lies. “The Beautiful Lies” is a film that shines a revealing light on the cosmetic and beauty industry. It showcases the passion of entrepreneurs in the beauty/cosmetic industry. Dominated by major manufacturers. From there ups and downs, peaks and valleys this film will motivate you as a entrepreneur in any profession. Motivational and a realistic film. You can buy it at https://haircolorinorlando.com/beautiful-lies/

Reviews For the film.

Lisa O’Connor Boss ♡♡♡ watched it in its entirety and you have the ability to inspire all! I found it motivational with a message that truly does need to be understood. Thank you Joseph and to all involved in your documentary.

Michele E Magnuson You are awesome for helping those less fortunate, for always giving and caring. I plan to watch this afternoon. Love that you shared it with us.

Great documentary Joseph!! It was very informative, educational and inspiring about Entrepreneurship, marketing and the beauty business. I highly recommend it even if you aren’t working in the hair industry.

Lori Leonard Prescott Thank you Joseph Edward Kellner for inspiring me. You helped me so much.

Terrie A Simpkins Wonderful and inspiring .I enjoyed it very much and will use the positive messages and insight to implement into my own business. You’re a Gem Joseph. So happy for you.  Love your work.  Continued success and endless happiness always!

Lora Boyer I watched this am…so thankful that your God given talent is to help and inform in beauty industry!  I’ve been in industry for 25 years…it’s hard work but I love what I do and believe God bless me with talent to help and make others feel better 😊I will pray for success for this project and for u…thank u for the opportunity to watch!!!  Respect all the great advice and great to see J Christian…God bless.

Cynthia Oakley I am not in the beauty industry, I sit in the chair and watch the magic..  I absolutely loved it.  The message can be applied to all industries and personal life.  Great job.. I really liked the visuals, especially while you gave your commentary under the trees.  Your filled with the spirit my friend.  BRAVO

NYX IS IN WALGREENS NOW!

In my makeup kits I have quite a few NYX tools to work with.  But now I will be able to find it in Target for purchasing.  NYX Cosmetics is one drugstore makeup brand that’s been a staple for anyone obsessed with beauty—and on a budget—for years. Both beauty bloggers and professional makeup artists rave about the brand’s innovative products and love that the company has kept its prices low, even as its range has expanded. But even if you’re the first to snatch up every NYX product the second it launches, how well do you really know the brand?  That was old news for a few years back but now Walgreens is offering NYX at there stores now!

NYX Cosmetics is one drugstore makeup brand that’s been a staple for anyone obsessed with beauty—and on a budget—for years. Both beauty bloggers and professional makeup artists rave about the brand’s innovative products and love that the company has kept its prices low, even as its range has expanded. But even if you’re the first to snatch up every NYX product the second it launches, how well do you really know the brand?

“We are pleased to offer NYX Professional Makeup products to our beauty customers as we continue our journey to become America’s most loved beauty destination,” stated Lauren Brindley, group VP and general merchandise manager, Walgreens. “NYX Professional Makeup products are known for exceptional quality at affordable prices, and new products and experiences are key to our ongoing transformation in this area.”

In addition to carrying a selection of NYX Professional Makeup products, select Walgreens stores will also offer testers for NYX Professional Makeup, L’Oreal and Maybelline branded products by the end of the year.

And thats The Real Hair Truth my friends!  Love this makeup line. It works very well for all photo-shoot climates and filming.

Joseph Kellner

 

Coty Will Acquire Procter & Gamble’s Beauty Brands

The Real Hair Truth

Coty Will Acquire Procter & Gamble’s Beauty Brands

Procter & Gamble has been looking to streamline its massive portfolio of brands, looking to sell, spin off, or shut down the majority of them. Last night, the unofficial news came out that many of the company’s beauty brands sold to competitor Coty, which means that Cover Girl and Clairol will be run by another drugstore cosmetics veteran.

Coty may not be a name that you recognize, but the cosmetics conglomerate owns a wide variety of brands: they sell branded fragrances for everyone from Beyoncé to Playboy to Vespa (yes, the scooter company). Their best-known brand is probably nail care products sold under the name Sally Hansen (who was not a real person) but they also own higher-prestige brands like OPI (nail care) and Philosophy (skin care).

Coty isn’t in the hair care business, so acquiring hair color brands like Clairol and Wella would introduce them to a new market. They are, however, already selling products to salons: OPI sells nail polishes and supplies to pros as well as directly to consumers.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer estimates that the acquisition would double Coty’s annual sales. The brands included in the deal are Cover Girl, Max Factor (which remains popular in Europe, but is no longer sold here) and the two hair color brands, Clairol and Wella. P&G would hold on to its brands that revolve around soap and shampoo, like Aussie, Old Spice, and Pantene.

There are other bidders in the mix, including private-equity firms and other soap companies, so this deal isn’t finalized yet. Some sources are also reporting that Coty won the bid for Procter & Gamble’s fragrance brands.