May 2011

Lisa Kind - Editor

Esthetic Endeavors | by Judith Culp


The Importance of Belonging to a Professional Association

by guest author Marjorie Grimm, Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (SPCP)

Times are tough for many who own businesses that depend on a clientele. After all, clients can live without beauty services. It is hard to believe but yes, women can continue breathing without a haircut and color.

The same applies to esthetics and permanent cosmetics. This is not to say the clients are happy to do without, but most people seem to be allocating their disposable income based on need, not necessarily want.

The person in charge of household finances often sympathizes with the need for a stress relieving massage, relaxing facial, needed haircut, and confidence-building permanent cosmetics, but finances are tight.

In addition to a change in individual business profiles due to economics, it can be a lonely business for many sole proprietors and those with a few employees. Not everyone works in a busy environment where down time means more time to network with people in the same office who are in the same profession.

The permanent cosmetic industry has been affected by the recession, but it is surviving, and for the serious and dedicated, it appears to be heading once again towards thriving. Professionals who belong to the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (SPCP) give much credit to their association for keeping the service in the forefront of the minds of potential clients. The SPCP has stood strong for this profession with a constant focus on standards, credentialing, education and public exposure for its members.

Professional associations count and the SPCP set the standard in the permanent cosmetic industry. In general, associations impress the consumer and regulatory oversight personnel; they have web site rankings that many cannot afford; they do continuing business with the media; and they are based on membership participation. As a result, every member "counts." It is very important to be part of a bigger picture in the beauty improvement business.

What do professional associations offer? In the beauty business, the focus is on education. People who choose their fundamental educational sources carefully are given a critical foundation from which to grow. Students learn right off to do it right. They are encouraged to practice; repetition is the key to perfection. There appears to be a cycle that people participate in when embarking on a new endeavor.

When people enter into something fresh, it is common to feel excited and we have a strong desire to watch others work and absorb every bit of information we can. Then we become familiar with what we do and often lose some of the original enthusiasm. Only when we focus on the unknown, rather than what we know or are good at, can we continue to better ourselves. Continuing education is the hallmark of successful people. This is a professional lifetime cycle. In order to thrive, you always have to be at the top of your game. Competition is strong and often ruthless.

Once "in the business," with the fundamental education in place, professional associations offer exposure to information that the member might never be provided under any other circumstances. Often the educational subject matters are cost prohibitive to acquire on a private one-on-one basis.

Large groups of people who have professional common interests network and provide one another with better techniques; up-to-date information regarding legislation; exposure to common suppliers with a focus on their needs; credentialing opportunities; and last but not least, enduring friendships.

People who work in a common profession meet and share information, new ways of doing something that pertains directly to the trade and products that have just arrived on the scene. It is literally impossible to be a top professional and create new ideas without the input of others.

The Internet has helped networking tremendously. Google changed the world and Facebook is now the number one source of information. We can communicate electronically, but there is no better means of "networking" than meeting the source of information by mingling in person or through connecting to people with the same interests. Association conferences, conventions, newsletters and textbook type publications all are an integral source of information, allowing us to continue learning and flourishing long after the people without that lifeline fail.

We live in a different world today, and it seems to change almost daily. Clientele expect credentials, and they expect and respect professional knowledge. To top it all off, it is likely they will go somewhere else if you are not at the top of your game; and that includes providing evidence of participation in a professional association. Thus, the technician who does not belong to a professional association risks losing business and professional standing.

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Judith Culp, a CIDESCO Diplomat has been in the esthetics industry since 1980. A CPCP permanent makeup technician for over 18 years she served a 4-year term as a Director for the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, two years as their president. She is president of Culp Enterprises Inc. and CEO of NW Institute of Esthetics. Judy Culp is available for consulting. For more information visit