Politics Beauty (www.politicsbeauty.org) is an umbrella organization that consists of state-level, grassroots advocacy organizations that initiate and address legislation that affects the beauty and barber industry. At its head is nail tech Tamara Johnson. We asked Johnson to tell us about the organization and how readers can become involved.
What prompted you to start Politics Beauty?
Johnson: I started the Georgia Concerned Beauty Professionals (www.gacbp.org) to address continuing education concerns here in Georgia. Then the more I researched, the more I realized the problems in Georgia were bigger than continuing education. We needed to address many issues and we had to change laws to do it. The Georgia Concerned Beauty Professionals introduced its first piece of legislation, SB64, to reform continuing education in Georgia’s 2013 Legislative Session. In the midst of it all, I started getting questions from other licensed beauty professionals who wanted change in their states. Hence, Politics Beauty was born and we currently have five other states with organizations that are working to fix the problems in the beauty industry: Florida (www.flcbp.org), Illinois (www.ilcbp.org), Maryland (www.mdcbp.org), Massachusetts (www.masscbp.org), and Arizona (www.azcbp.org).
What does Politics Beauty do?
Johnson: Politics Beauty is the licensed beauty professional’s voice in legislation. Our mission is to reform the beauty industry via the legislative process by addressing laws, rules, and regulations. Our goal is to create uniformity and have the cosmetology, barbering, nail technician, and esthetics licenses mirror themselves state-to-state. There should be no reason why a nail technician from one state should not be able to go to another state and work.
What issues are your major concerns? What worries you the most?
Johnson: Continuing education is our major concern. There are only a few of states that even recognize continuing education for the beauty industry. How can we have a professional industry without professional training? We, as licensed beauty professionals, must be educated beyond what we learned in school.
What worries me the most is that many licensed beauty professionals don’t seem to think that continuing education is important and believe learning about new products is enough continuing education. The beauty industry needs more training in health, safety, sanitation, and business than many other industries. We have direct human contact, we are exposed to harmful chemicals, we expose our clients to harmful chemicals and harmful sanitation practices, and we are a cash-based business, which equates to questionable businesses practices. The beauty industry needs continuing education.
What else concerns you?
Johnson: The licensed beauty professional and the beauty industry have been threatened with deregulation for years. Our legislators have little regard for our industry due to our lack of accountability. We have little regard for the industry because we have allowed non-professionals, licensed or not, to take advantage of our industry. Politics Beauty along with each state organization is bringing the professionalism back to the profession.
What can our readers do?
Johnson: Get involved. Politics Beauty has set the stage for each state to have an organization and align itself with other states to address industry concerns and to initiate legislation to create uniform industry standards. We are very strategic and very organized in our efforts, and we need licensed beauty professionals to make it all happen.
For more information, go to www.politicsbeauty.org.