A friend had family photos taken when her youngest child was born. She later complained to me that for the price she paid for those photos, she could have purchased her own DSLR camera. Shortly after that conversation she did just that. Armed with her new camera she started taking pictures of her kids all the time. To her disappointment, her photos looked nothing like the photographers. So, she started studying, learning how to use her camera. Though her photos improved, they still weren’t of a professional caliber. Determined, she invested more time and resources by enrolling in a few photography classes, and then some workshops. She learned about photo composition, proper lighting, white balance. Finally, she felt like her end product was able to rival the professional photos that she had paid for all those years ago. She proudly touted “I knew I didn’t have to pay someone for photos, I knew I could do it myself.” What she failed to realize, and I was too polite to point out, that the reason the photos were expensive in the first place was because of the time, effort, and money put into the artists education, not to mention the natural eye and talent. If this story doesn’t sound familiar, it should! Though the trade is different, this is exactly how government officials are treating barbers, nail techs, and aestheticians, and specialists in Florida. House Bill 15, and Senate Bill 526 essentially undermine the value of professional training and certification, they put customers at risk, and they do so for their own financial gain.
By deregulating the number of required hours for licensure in Florida, the government officials are undermining the importance of our education. This stance essentially states that trainees are receiving too many hours of education, and that they are capable of doing their job with fewer hours of training. These hours of training go beyond practice, they include instruction, guidance, oversight. This is how we master the skills, by slowly mastering each technique until we have it right. By assuming that each skill can be quickly and easily mastered, we are doing a disservice to our trainees, and setting them up for failure in the real-world environments. The required number of hours would drop to being the lowest in the country. This sets a dangerous precedent for the rest of the country.
Our customers are at risk when we don’t have sufficient training. Nail techs can potentially burn, cut or scar their client’s hands. A haircut is the first thing a person is noticed for while in the business world, and a poor hair cut can affect their business. Specialists in the Esthetics field have access to professional products including harsh acids that could potentially scar someone for life if not understood and used properly. Cutting out required hours can possibly eliminate time for understanding chemical compositions of products and safety. The state of Florida encourages new businesses, however, if the hour requirement is dropped any further, this could raise the risk of liability for these new solo spa professionals. We have a duty to practice while under the guidance of professionals so that we have mastered the skills to the best of our ability. Without that training, we are limited in what services we can offer which will limit our income. This means that the overall price point for our specific industry will see a drop over time. Without proper training, some professionals may charge less to make up for their lack of skillset. Newer stylists and technicians without the same background will undercut the professionals that have had proper training. This hurts everyone over time because customers will have to pay more to fix bad haircuts or poor manicures. We will see more complaints against esthetic licenses due to unhappy customers getting less than stellar services from untrained “professionals” which will lead to regulating more and more of the treatments we are able to offer our clients. Professionals that have dedicated their lives to their craft will be have to lower their prices to compete with inexperienced professionals. While this hurts us, it only serves to benefit the government by putting more people to work, which increases tax revenue and may give a short-term boost to the local economy. Though this looks good on paper, what it serves to do is separate us from the upper class and further driving our occupation into service roles where it impacts our ability to support ourselves and our families. The majority of spas in Florida are owned and operated by women, solo estheticians. Let’s empower women in business by making sure this deregulation of required hours in Florida does not take place. The fastest way to prevent all of this from happening is to make our stance viral on social media. We want our representatives to know that we will not vote for anyone in favor of these bills. Please help us make a difference. You can call, write, or stop by your local representative’s office! Submit your disapproval here! Find your representative here! Together we can make a difference!