February 2012

LeAnne Velona

The Beauty Professional| by Fred Jones


Utilizing Credible Online Resources

It is obvious the world of beauty has arrived in the twenty-first century.

It is difficult to find a salon, today, that doesn't have at least one computer for administrative functions and every stylist texting on their cell phone between clients.

But in this wired world in which the internet connects us to our customers, industry colleagues, family and friends, do beauty professionals utilize web technology to advance and improve their skills, knowledge and business practices? And are they able to find credible and reliable online sources?

There are many great sites and thoughtful contributors available on the net – some offering free services and information, while others require a membership fee to access their content.

Unfortunately, there are also a lot of dubious characters and less-than-reliable information floating around in this electronic medium. Bad advice and incorrect information – even when free – can be very costly.

Realizing the risks and opportunities inherent with net surfing, I am excited to share that the Professional Beauty Federation of California (PBFC) is in the process of redesigning our website so that it will become a trusted portal for beauty industry professionals.

We want to help guide salon owners, stylists, school administrators, and students to easily accessible, credible online resources. We appreciate and embrace technological advances and the convenience of being able to communicate, network, publicize, research and purchase products and services right from one's smartphone, iPhone, tablet, or PC.

The PBFC website will offer the salon professional the collective insights and lessons of trusted advisers about their businesses and profession, allowing everyone in our industry to benefit from the combined wisdom of industry leaders. In addition, we want to provide assistance to those experiencing difficulties with government regulators (e.g., inspection citations, licensing issues, etc.) and tips on how to negotiate the red tape.

Finally, of course, our site will have the very latest industry developments and news relevant to all beauty colleges, salons and behind-the-chair professionals.

This is quite an undertaking, both in terms of technical set-up and gathering the industry's trusted and valuable partners to link up with us. We hope to go live this spring, so be watching for this exciting, new online resource.

In the meantime, I would like to point to a couple of sites maintained by government agencies to help illustrate the valuable information available to the savvy net surfer.

For starters, nearly every state has a board or bureau tasked with regulating the beauty industry. In California, we have the State Board of Barbering & Cosmetology, which licenses nearly half-a-million beauty professionals and approves nearly 300 colleges. At their site (barbercosmo.ca.gov), one can find licensing forms that can be filled-out online, the top regulatory violations found by their inspectors, and the laws and regulations governing our industry; one can also keep up with the latest developments of the appointed Board via posted agendas for upcoming meetings, and both live and archived webcasts of such public gatherings.

Another site that could be helpful for those attempting to run legally structured booth rental based salons, California's employment development agency has a terrific and concise document specific to our industry (edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/de231c.pdf).

Reminiscent of my Stylist article from last month, this industry-specific information helps further explain the need for establishing clear lines of independence between a salon landlord and a booth renting contractor.

At the national level, the National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology provides a resource-rich site (nictesting.org), which includes the various states' regulatory bodies and points of contact … very helpful for the beauty professional who may be planning a relocation to another state.

There are far too many private and very informative sites to mention, here, but we plan on linking with those as part of our own website renovation project. We believe it is incumbent upon us, as the voice for beauty in the largest state in the Union, to help cull through the online world to find the most reliable and trustworthy providers of goods and services, and then make those resources conveniently accessible via a single online portal.

Technology offers so many opportunities to advance the professionalism of the beauty industry. Intelligently utilizing credible online resources is a key to staying current with industry trends and customer demands; the net can be a helpful tool for frugally searching the best products and services at the lowest price; and it can be a helpful medium for sharpening one's professional standards and practices. It is our intent to assist in this endeavor, soon … so stay tuned.

Fred Jones serves as Legal Counsel to the Professional Beauty Federation of California, a trade association singularly dedicated to raising the professionalism of the beauty industry. To learn more about the PBFC and receive further details about the subjects contained in his column, go to www.beautyfederation.org.