January 2013

Clive Lamb

Food for Thought | by Clive Lamb


What is the Right Regulation?

I'm sick and tired of sitting through hair shows where some prima donna prances around stage dressed like a pirate, telling the audience how wonderful they all are.

Instead, why aren't they preaching the importance of raising our standards and elevating the public's perception of our industry?

We should be encouraged to take responsibility for bringing business back to the hands of salon professionals. And to do this, we need to start acting like professionals.

The salon industry is a billion-dollar-a-year industry. So, where's all the money going? Is anyone putting it back into our industry to change things for the better?

Is there even one dime being invested to keep up with the education standards, professionalism and earning potential of other professions?

Based on statistics, a hairdresser's average salary is $26,000- $28,000/year; it seems like our industry hasn't advanced much at all in the last 20 years.

There is something very wrong with all of this. Do we really want the government to manage our industry's education requirements? It hasn't worked very well so far. We need to step up and take control of our industry -- and our industry's future.

We should manage our own business standards of education and training, instead of settling for the government's low minimum requirements. If we did, we could set the standards much higher than they are now.

Is Stanford or Harvard or any other Ivy League school's education standards regulated by the state? I think not. Their standards are set from within. That's exactly what separates them from a community college.

You can get a diploma from either, but an education from an Ivy League school is usually perceived to be worth more because they've set higher standards for themselves -- and their graduates. And their graduates usually are better educated because of it.

Do we really need state boards to police our standards of excellence for salon services? Can they penalize a salon for giving a bad haircut? No. If a consumer wants to take action against a salon, they must hire an attorney. There is nothing the state board can do -- even though they are the ones who set and control the practical tests and standards.

So, think about it. What are the state boards doing to help our industry grow and keep up with the career paths of other professions? Wouldn't it make more sense to create a regulating board composed of salon business owners and industry leaders?

Let our industry come up with our own standards for education. Allow beauty schools to create higher standards (and better-trained graduates) by competing with each other instead of settling on the state's minimum standards. The very best schools will produce the best talent and rise to the top, and the worst schools won't survive. Or, perhaps leave it to each individual business owner to create his or her own standards. Call it "entrepreneurial commerce."

So why are we still using this antiquated system? Is it because those with the deepest pockets to fight the state legislatures are the ones that are benefitting from the current system? Or do we just not care?

It's up to each and every one of us to stand up to our state's legislature to take back our industry. It's not a matter of deregulation, but rather the right regulation.

Food for thought.....

During my tenure as Chairperson of the Texas State Cosmetology Advisory Board, I asked how many cosmetology students did not renew their licenses after just two years. The answer I got was somewhere well over 65%. I was shocked by this! What does that tell you about our current standards of education?

I'd like to note that the TDLR is doing a great job organizing licenses and is also doing more frequent and thorough inspections to crack down on health and safety issues. They are protecting the public's health and have helped to raise the standards for sanitation.

But, when it comes to regulating the standards of excellence for salon services, don't look to the state board. There are only two people that can really judge a good haircut from a bad one -- the CLIENT or the BOSS.

It's not about deregulation; it's about the right regulation.

Clive Lamb owns and operates Clive and Co., a modern, thriving salon based in Dallas, Texas. In addition, Clive was appointed Chairman of the Texas Cosmetology Advisory Board in 2006, a position he held for five years. Clive has over 30 years of international exposure to the vast and constantly evolving hairdressing industry.