Originally published on Stylist Newspaper
Is it still considered a “march” if only a few people show up to walk together?
Is a protest noticed if only a few people participate? How impactful is a “rally” of one?
Marches, protests, rallies are effective because of the number of people participating. Change is accomplished when humans work together. The power in numbers is undeniable.
Imagine the power of 1.2 million people working together — think of all the good that could be accomplished! That’s how many licensed beauty professionals there are in the United States.
With that kind of weight, the beauty industry should have more than enough advocates to ensure legislation affecting our industry is only passed if it’s in the best interest of our industry. Yet silly rules and regulations come down on us all the time; we’ve lost hundreds of cosmetology schools to overbearing laws and we’re still threatened with deregulation. How is this possible?
It’s possible because we don’t actually have the benefit of 1.2 million professionals advocating for our industry. What we currently have are 1.2 million individuals. Those individual voices aren’t nearly as powerful as a collective shouting a unified message.
Just because half of beauty professionals consider themselves independent, does not mean we can’t all work together to keep this industry at a standard we’re all proud to represent.
So how do we get our voices together? There are already organizations within our industry working to unite us. All we need to do is decide we each want to take an active part in elevating our profession and get involved.
Some professional associations working to support the beauty industry include Associated Hair Professionals, Cosmetologists Chicago, Professional Beauty Association, Intercoiffure, International SalonSpa Business Network, and American Association of Cosmetology Schools. Each association has a slightly different membership focus (i.e. individual professionals, independent salons, manufacturers, chain salons, schools, etc.) and offers different benefits tailored to those members. All of these associations, however, are ultimately working to improve the beauty industry.
For example, Associated Hair Professionals (AHP) is a national association supporting individual hairstylists and barbers. All of the benefits included in AHP membership are geared towards supporting, protecting, and enhancing a hair professional’s individual career with benefits such as marketing toolkits, advanced education, liability insurance, and discounts on everything from credit card processing to comfortable shoes.
Similarly, Cosmetologists Chicago is a more local, Illinois-based association for beauty professionals, providing in-person education, scholarships, and America’s Beauty Show while the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS) is a national association that provides education, conferences, and legislative advocacy for cosmetology schools. These associations, the benefits listed, and the support they provide are only the tip of the iceberg. Each association has its place, a role in elevating our industry, and every beauty professional can benefit from being a member of at least one association.
We are fortunate in our industry to have a number of professional associations that want to support each aspect of our industry, from individual beauty professionals to salons, manufacturers, and schools.
The beauty industry has the framework in place to have one seriously powerful voice; to do that, each of us just needs to get involved so we really are 1.2 million-strong.