Tag: conditioner

A $21,000 Cosmetology School Debt, and a $9-an-Hour Job (Part one)

 

When she was in cosmetology school, Tracy Lozano had a love-hate relationship with weekday mornings. Those predawn moments were the only time she saw her infant daughter awake, and she savored them. When the time came to hand the baby to her own mother, she said in a recent interview, she would stifle her tears, letting them roll only when she had closed the door behind her.

She would put on her game face when she pulled into the parking lot of the Iowa School of Beauty, just outside Des Moines. From what Ms. Lozano could tell, a cosmetology license was a realistic way to ensure a better life, and she was willing to make sacrifices. While also working nights at a Pizza Hut, she borrowed $21,000 to cover tuition and salon supplies and put in eight-hour days at the school for the better part of a year.

The amount of time Ms. Lozano spent learning to give haircuts, manicures and facials was enormous, but the requirement was set by the state, and she didn’t much question it. She was determined to earn enough money to move out of her mother’s house. Only a few weeks after getting her cosmetology license in 2005, she was hired at a local Great Clips.  The job, though, paid just $9 an hour, which meant that her days double-shifting at Pizza Hut weren’t over. Even with tips, Ms. Lozano didn’t earn more than $25,000 in any of her first few years as a cosmetologist. For years, she relied on food stamps and health insurance from the state. She couldn’t cover living expenses and keep chipping away at her loan payments. Thirteen years after graduating, she still owes more than $8,000.

What Ms. Lozano didn’t know was that the state-regulated school system she had put her faith in relies on a business model in which the drive for revenue often trumps students’ educational needs. For-profit schools dominate the cosmetology training world and reap money from taxpayers, students and salon customers. They have beaten back attempts to create cheaper alternatives, even while miring their students in debt. In Iowa in particular, the companies charge steep prices — nearly $20,000 on average for a cosmetology certificate, equivalent to the cost of a two-year community-college degree twice over — and they have fought to keep the required number of school hours higher than anywhere else in the country.

Each state sets its own standards. Most require 1,500 hours, and some, like New York and Massachusetts, require only 1,000. Iowa requires 2,100 — that’s a full year’s worth of 40-hour workweeks, plus an extra 20. By comparison, you can become an emergency medical technician in the state after 132 hours at a community college. Put another way: An Iowa cosmetologist who has a heart attack can have her life saved by a medic with one-sixteenth her training.

There’s little evidence that spending more hours in school leads to higher wages. Nor is there proof that extra hours result in improved public safety. But one relationship is clear: The more hours that students are forced to be in school, the more debt they accrue. Among cosmetology programs across the nation, Iowa’s had the fourth-highest median student debt in 2014, according to federal data.

Walk into any hair salon in Iowa and you’re likely to find a stylist making $10 an hour who loves her job but is struggling to pay off her student loans. Over 10 months, in visits to a dozen salons and in conversations with 37 former Iowa cosmetology students — and an additional 25 in other states — we heard a variety of opinions about how much training the profession requires and the financial returns it offers. And we heard again and again how the dream of becoming a professional hairstylist, or someday owning a salon, can be stymied by debt.  The issue is national. More than 177,000 people enroll in for-profit beauty schools across the United States each year, which on average charge more than $17,000 for tuition, fees and supplies to earn a cosmetology certificate.  Across the Iowa border, in Fremont, Neb., Ashley Sandoval makes $10.50 an hour at another Great Clips location. In the five years since she graduated from cosmetology school, she said, interest has ballooned her debt from $22,000 to $29,000. “I’ll be paying it off for the rest of my life,” Ms. Sandoval said.

The Iowa Cosmetology School Association, which acts on behalf of several of the 13 companies that own schools in the state, would not make a representative available for an interview. But the association did provide written responses to questions through its lobbyist, Threase A. Harms. The group said that its primary concern was successfully preparing students, not making money, and that differences in state regulations made comparing hours difficult. The association also doesn’t see the crippling student debt as the schools’ fault, citing the fact that students are allowed to take out more in loans than is necessary to cover educational expenses. “We have students graduating with minimal debt because they made wise choices,” the association said.

Cosmetology schools have a unique business model in the for-profit school world. They have two main streams of revenue. The first comes from students, often in the form of taxpayer-funded grants and loans to pay for the tuition. Cosmetology schools took in nearly $1.2 billion in federal grants and loans during the 2015-16 school year.  The second stream is the salon work the students do while in school. They spend some time in classrooms learning about, for example, chemicals and how to sanitize the work space, but once they’ve hit a certain number of hours, they start working on real clients in salons run by the schools. In full-time programs, going to school becomes a full-time job, where students clock in and out for seven- or eight-hour shifts.

The total number of required hours varies, but all states require some amount of practice with paying customers. In Iowa, students spend 715 hours in the classroom and 1,385 hours on the floor.

Prices for these salon services — which include haircuts, manicures, facials and, at some schools, massages — are typically set below market rates to attract customers. The salons also sell shampoo, conditioner and other beauty products. One Iowa student said he and others had gotten perks (such as trips and special training) if they sold enough products. Another student, who sued a school in Pennsylvania, reported that her grades were partly based on whether she offered salon products to clients.  The schools don’t have to pay students for the services they provide; in fact, the students pay tuition for the hours they work in the salons.

All told, for-profit cosmetology schools nationwide brought in more than $200 million in revenue from their salons in the 2015-16 school year, according to federal statistics. Most schools are small, privately owned entities that do not have to disclose their profits.  “Without the revenue coming from those salons, most of these schools wouldn’t be profitable, or it would be marginal,” said Leon Greenberg, a lawyer in Las Vegas who has examined the financial documents of several schools he unsuccessfully sued under the Fair Labor Standards Act. “It’s pretty much ingrained in their business model.”  Some schools have pushed their business models to the legal limit — and beyond, according to government regulators.

La’ James International College owns six of the 27 cosmetology schools in Iowa, plus one in Nebraska and another in Illinois. Iowa’s attorney general sued the school in 2014, accusing it of defrauding students through deceptive marketing and enrollment practices. Under a settlement, the school admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to forgive almost $2.2 million in student debt. It had to pay a $500,000 fine, and the owners — Cynthia Becher and her son, Travis Becher — had to personally pay fines of $25,000 each. The federal government also placed La’ James under restrictive monitoring for alleged mishandling of students’ financial aid. (The Bechers declined to comment on the suit.)

Lisa Shaw, a former La’ James massage instructor, said Ms. Becher had met with staff members regularly and often told them, “This is a business first, and a school second.”

Ms. Shaw and Bez Lancial-McMullen, a former La’ James cosmetology instructor at the campus in Davenport, Iowa, recalled attending meetings in which company officials spoke of the need to maintain sizable profits. Students were regularly pulled out of Ms. Lancial-McMullen’s classes to work in the salon, she said. Other complaints submitted to the attorney general’s office about the school describe similar practices, although the Bechers have consistently denied the claims.  Both women eventually resigned because they objected to the way students were being treated. Ms. Shaw left in 2014, saying the company’s owners looked at students “as dollar signs.”  “I feel like the school is predatory,” Ms. Shaw said. “I could no longer be a part of taking people’s money and then treating them like that.”  Stephanie Wood Becher, who is the school’s director of marketing (and Travis Becher’s wife), denied that Cynthia Becher would ever tell employees to put the school’s business needs first.  “Education and betterment of the student is always and has always been the #1 priority for her and L.J.I.C.,” Ms. Wood Becher wrote in an email.

La’ James had to open its books during the attorney general’s lawsuit, revealing annual profits that ranged from $1.2 million to $3.4 million from 2009 through 2012. In Iowa, tuition, fees and supplies for its cosmetology program come to $21,500 per student.  Compared with other institutions, “I think we’re cheap,” Mr. Becher said, noting that the cost includes books and supply kits. “We’re private. We’re not public. We don’t get tax breaks.”  The Becher family also owns more than a dozen limited liability companies, which include a distribution center for its salon products. In 2017, the United States Department of Education reprimanded La’ James for failing to publicly disclose a rape in a dorm in Nebraska. Federal law requires colleges to publish annual security reports and logs about crimes on campus, which La’ James failed to do, “exposing students and staff to potential harm,” according to government reviewers.Joni Buresh, the school’s compliance officer, said in an email that the security reports were available to students, and that she believed that the law requiring crime logs didn’t apply to campuses like the one in Nebraska.    She acknowledged that a rape had been reported to the police but said that school officials “honestly are not confident that this rape incident ever occurred.” Ms. Buresh said they had now filed the paperwork requested by the federal reviewers.

END OF PART ONE.

Mixed Chicks Product Line Wins Lawsuit Against Sally Beauty

Jurors awarded over 8,000,000 to the small company of the Mixed Chicks product line who claimed that the …

MixedChicks wins big!!!!

For the past two years well-known natural hair company Mixed Chicks has been in an ongoing legal battle with Sally Beauty company. Mixed Chicks had filed a lawsuit against the national beauty supply chain in March 2011, for selling a product called “Mixed Silk” at their over 2,000 locations. The plaintiffs felt that the overall appearance of the Mixed Silk product line  infringed on their trademarked labeling due to similarities.

On November 2, the jury found that Sally Beauty had not only infringed on the Mixed Chicks trademark, but had acted “willfully with malice and oppression.” The jury verdict awarded Mixed Chicks LLC $8,114,535 ($839,535 in actual damages and $7,275,000 in punitive damages). In a press release to JET, co-founders Kim Etherege, Wendi Levy and Bradley Kaya spoke on their massive win, ” We invested our hearts and souls into this company and have built the reputation of the Mixed Chicks products as one of distinction and high quality.  It was an expensive case, but we believe in our brand and will fight to protect it.  We are pleased the jury has found Sally Beauty willfully infringed and awarded an amount that will make them think twice about doing so in the future. You can’t just bully little companies.”

Mixed Chicks

 

 

Mixed Chicks Hair Care Products (Good Guys)

sallys rip off

 

 

 

Sally Beauty Supply Mixed Version (Scum Guys)

The trio will also be seeking additional funds for attorney’s fees, a portion of Sally Beauty’s profits of Mixed Silk products and an order to ban the selling of Mixed Silk products. Sally’s beauty supply no longer has a link to there product and when we called they would not answer any questions about the Victory lawsuit Mixed Chicks had with them.

Mixed Silk’s packaging is strikingly similar to that of Mixed Chicks. The pump top on the shampoo & leave-in conditioner is quite convenient for shower use. Silk Elements should have adopted the same design for the deep conditioner; opening and closing it while in the shower is a little time consuming. All of the products have the same strong manufactured fragrant smell. So lady’s and gentlemen you have read it all. Another scum bag company playing and stealing off a entrepreneurs idea. And who needs manufacturers like that in our beauty industry. Of course you will see them at the hair shows and think twice of the hard work a entrepreneur within our industry has to go through to get there product out to the consumer.

The Real Hair Truth!

 

 

Customer Service? You Tell Me

JOSEPHKELLNER "THE REAL HAIR TRUTH"

If they are not trying to sell you something while you are TRYING to enjoy your hair getting done, they are over-charging you to dry your hair? It cost $50 dollars to DRY your hair AFTER you have already paid $120 for partial hi-lights and $90 for single color and $10 for some color sealer and $30 for some conditioner that you had no idea cost anything when they washed your hair. I mean, after shampoo does come conditioner..right? And shouldn’t they dry your hair to make sure they colored it right? Why should I have to pay for them to check their work? And forget it if they had to use a toner. You get to pay $70 dollars if you want your haircut. Add it up…All this and you get to wait for four hours to get it all done….and then they try to sell you stuff again! Fell for this for over a year and learned that there are not only better stylists out there but kinder and more reasonably priced ones, who haven’t forgotten that Customer Service is an art and valuable, and it’s about fairness in pricing (you are not remodeling my kitchen, just doing my hair) kindness and hair styling…I rather would not feel like I just ended up on a used car lot and pressured to pay for things I don’t want. I believe that this will be the downfall of this salon. Talent can only go so far when you are asking your clients to pay for your personal gain. I, personally, like to donate to more lasting and meaningful charities. Good luck, and keep looking. I don’t mind spending money; I just don’t like feeling like I am getting taken advantage of..every single time I go in. I fell for it but you don’t have to.
Underserving Consumer

If you were raised with basic good manners and along the way ever joined a service group, like the scouts or 4-H, then you’ve got the groundwork for providing great customer service. The foundation you need is one of courtesy, caring, willingness to serve, and an attitude that lets your customers know that you they matter-and that you care. There are skills and technologies that can help you put it all into practice, but don’t get your head turned by all the whiz-bang tools that are out there. Great customer service has its basis in good manners. See? Mom was right.
These days it is fashionable for companies to refer to customer service as “customer retention,” but that can lead to backwards thinking. To retain a customer, simply serve him and do it well. If you focus on retention you’ll miss what is important, which is the customer and his or her needs.
But here’s the opportunity. An unhappy customer will become a loyal consumer if you fix his complaint and do it quickly. Eighty percent (80%) of these folks will come back to you if you’ve treated them fairly. That percentage rises to the upper 90s if you respond immediately. Every day you have the chance to transform your mistakes into returning customers — the kind who will tell other people good things about you. Imagine that.
This Review was written by a consumer, who visited a salon in Orlando call ALEXANDER HAIRDRESSING.

www.josephkellner.com