Filling the leadership void: a call to action

What direction will the industry take and who will lead us? How do we ensure that those we elevate deserve our trust? When the responsibility for our actions falls on us individually, following the advice of unqualified leaders has never been so risky.

Difficult choices lie ahead for all of us. The launch of Outgrowth Insiders ensures we’re taking a big step toward the future, together.

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Edited for length and clarity.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

ASHLEY: Welcome to Outgrowth: A Slice of Pro Beauty with your hosts Ashley Gregory.

JAIME: And Jaime Schrabeck. The pro beauty industry seems stuck in place, even as we scramble. Divided by state lines and differing guidelines, the consensus seems to be everyone for themselves.

ASHLEY: When we need strong leadership the most, chaos, division, and bad information reign. How can we repair the cracks while ensuring this industry emerges from the COVID crisis stronger than ever?

JAIME: We’ve been teasing big news for the last two episodes. And it’s finally time to reveal what we have up our sleeves. Let’s grow together.

ASHLEY: Jaime, I know this is a topic that we had written in our perspective topic spreadsheet from the moment we started talking about doing a podcast.

JAIME: It’s amazing how many of those topics we haven’t gotten to, and yet this topic rises to the top of the list in this very moment because I think it encapsulates so many different topics that we’ve covered, from health and safety compliance, to advocacy, to where do we go next?

ASHLEY: Yeah, it’s very pertinent, and I think it’s likely going to be an evergreen topic for us.   But in this exact slice of time, it really feels like this is the right time to have this discussion, and it will likely evolve moving forward. But I know we both feel really strongly about this so let’s get into it.  Today, we want to talk about leadership, direction, and some of the pros and cons of the way our industry operates that is either helping us or hindering us right now.

JAIME: In times past, pursuing our individual interests and aligning ourselves with particular individual or brands, might’ve been a way to get ahead in the industry, or to demonstrate that you have some special knowledge or access that would elevate you. But as we talk about what really elevates our profession anymore, I think that we have to question everything that we’ve done up to this point and think about how in this moment, when we’re in this crisis, we don’t have the luxury of being so selfish.

ASHLEY: I agree. I think this entire situation has really given us the gift of perspective. And while we may have been preoccupied with the hierarchy of the beauty industry, it really, this has sort of crystallized for me that none of that means anything, especially when it comes to the fact that we’re now fighting battles on several different fronts, the biggest being the battles we’re fighting with government officials and their lack of understanding of, of how we operate, what we do, what we know, and consumer trust in what we’re doing, if the precautions we’re taking are enough. And when you start to think about it, the status of being an influencer, a brand rep, a platform artist, an award-winning salon owner, those sorts of things really fade into the background. But I find it very interesting that there are still some people holding onto those really, those vanity trophies, or the things that really just don’t mean anything anymore.

JAIME: I was scrambling writing notes, as you said, all of that, and I want to address that hierarchy, and I’ll take the first point that you made about the government not understanding how we function. How ironic, because we don’t understand how government functions. So for all the blame that we’d like to place at the feet of government for not understanding our training, not understanding how our licensing works, and how we interact with clients, and how desperately we need to have that personal interaction in order to make a living, because that’s exactly what we do when we provide services, I’m incredibly frustrated, and I think that’s come across time and time again, with how little our industry understands the government and how we’re expecting the government to understand us.

ASHLEY: Yes. You know, in our defense as a beauty industry, we’ve never really had to pay attention to the government before and that’s a sliding scale, obviously. There are some of us, I know you, Wendy from the California Aesthetic Alliance, Myra that we’ve spoken to at the PBA, all of the other advocates in all of the other areas of the country have been paying attention, have called the rest of the industry’s attention to things like deregulation bills and some of the other things we’ve covered in previous episodes, but until it endangers our livelihood, we’re really good at procrastinating until things become a crisis. Where if we were doing the daily grind and the small little things, like staying in touch with our representatives and being the squeaky wheel, and acting as a resource in order to have government officials understand better what we do, I don’t think we’d be in this situation. But unfortunately, a really sad byproduct of this misunderstanding of how the government functions and their misunderstanding of how we function is the beauty industry is even more split. We’re all frustrated, but we’re pointing our fingers at lots of different places. And we are now infighting with each other, trying to figure out who’s the most to blame for our current situation. Now I know we’ve been talking about advocacy. We’ve been talking about being your own champion, and getting out from under that group think mentality, and there’ve been some really positive movements in the right direction, but I also think we’re just kind of stuck in this quagmire of infighting that gets us really nowhere.

JAIME: You mentioned procrastinating, and I actually think that gives us too much credit because procrastinating means you understand what needs to be done. This industry is far too passive. There’s no complaining until, you’re right, until it actually affects you personally and financially, and that’s been the problem. We talk about some positive movements. I do want to reflect on a rally that I happened to participate in. It’s the first time I’ve traveled any significant distance since this entire thing started other than getting home from New York, like I know you had to as well. Wow. So since March, I haven’t attended beauty shows like I normally would to teach classes. I haven’t attended board meetings like I normally would or legislative hearings. So all the types of educational and advocacy-type activities I’d normally be engaged in, I’ve only been able to do from home, but here was an opportunity to participate in something that I believed in,because I believe in the message, and that is one of collaboration, and providing information, and building that trust between the government and an industry where we don’t really understand each other that well. So having gone to this rally, and it was just days ago, I was impressed by not only the number of people who were there, but how these people did come together, and the reason they were there was because they couldn’t be back in their salons working indoors. That was the primary focus. It was called Pro Beauty Inside. And the effort was to persuade the government that we, as beauty professionals, are much safer, and our clients, and coworkers, and employees are much safer if we were working inside our salons  rather than with the outside permissions that we’ve discussed in previous episodes. So here we are, there was a crowd, hundreds of people. I did not address the crowd, but if I had, there are certain things that I would have liked to have said. The obvious ones would have been, make sure you’re wearing a mask. Make sure that you’re maintaining physical distance, because if we can’t demonstrate that as we’re gathered here on the steps of the state Capitol, how are we going to get the government to trust what it is that we promise to do when we’re in our salons?

ASHLEY: I really enjoyed watching from the sidelines that entire process, cause obviously I’m nowhere near Sacramento. But it was really cool to see a part of the industry that we have, we’ve heard from, but hasn’t been garnering as much attention as the negative side or the more combative side of that whole issue in California. I love that you use the word passive because passivity, it permeates every part of our industry. And it’s something we’ve talked about before, about encouraging people to be independent educators, or if they feel they have something they can share with the beauty industry, to do it, and not wait for someone, a brand, a publication, whatever it is to tap them on the shoulder and say, you’re good enough. Go ahead and do it.   We’re passive in that we love to talk about they. Well, they told me. In beauty school, they said. When it comes to taking my state board test, they said I have to do this, or they will allow this or this. We just wait to be told what to do. And I think this really shines a light, this whole situation right now, on that aspect of our industry. It’s very passive. We follow. We wait to be told. We hold up these influencer idols and say they are what I’m striving to be, or they have it figured out, and sometimes that they may have a different agenda. Sometimes they might have bad information and sometimes they say that they’re fighting for you when in fact they’re actually protecting the interests of large salon chains, large beauty school chains, whatever that might be. So I think whenever we hear that word they, we have to really think about and consider the source. Is this information good? How does this directly impact me as an individual beauty professional, whether I’m on my own or in an employment-based salon or whatever? I think we’re really starting to see and, using that example of that rally of Pro Beauty Inside as a benchmark, that’s what happens when you stop being passive. You start being active, proactive, and have educated yourself on what the actual process is, how to effect change, how to do it, how to go about it in a way that your message will actually be received, and received positively, and considered. Social media has made us very reactive and it’s made us mean. We have the ability to stay disconnected from an issue through either our keyboard or phone, whatever. We’re not sitting in front of someone looking them in the eye and saying these things. So I understand the frustration. I understand people wanting to make change happen urgently because it is an urgent situation for a lot of us, especially those in California who are currently closed, but we have to stop being passive. And that comes with the caveat that we need to be active in the right way. I know that’s our mission, you and I, with Outgrowth, is to help get good information out there. And using last week’s episode as an example,too, where we spoke with Kristy Underwood, the Executive Officer of the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, I picked a 58-second clip of what she was talking about basically likening the board to the DMV. Everyone’s out there asking why isn’t the board fighting for us. And she said, look, we’re like the DMV. When you get your license, the DMV doesn’t fight for you if you get into an accident. That’s just not how it works. We’re a regulatory body. I know that that 58 seconds was really provocative. We got a lot of negative comments from people saying, well, so what, or how dare this bleep say these things. This is a terrible attitude, et cetera, et cetera. When presented with the facts, I feel like a lot of our industry and a lot of our country, just as a symptom of a greater discord, just wants to shrug and say, so what? I still want to be mad. And I don’t think we should take that away from anybody, but when you’re armed with the facts, you can then arm yourself with a plan and a plan to move forward, a plan to affect actual change instead of just standing in your front yard shouting at the sky.

JAIME: We don’t provide fact-based information to upset people. We provide that information so you can make better decisions. And if you still are mad after learning what’s true, then you’re mad. Got it. But so much of the emotion, whether it’s anger, or passion, or whatever we want to call that, I, I don’t even have words for all of that because it gets me flustered myself, could be channeled into something positive if only those people who would want to be upset could get past that initial reaction. That’s where I give credit to Alicia Orabella who is the licensed cosmetologist, and salon owner, and individual. She’s one person who organized a rally that attracted hundreds. And they came from all across the state. In fact, there were individuals there who traveled from out of state to support her effort. What an incredible testament to the actions of one person who followed a process. She knew that in order to do this and do it legally that she’d need to apply for a permit. She went through that entire process. It was her event with rules that she agreed to, and for the most part, those who attended complied, and it was a beautiful thing to see. And in saying that, I will say this, and this is what I would have said to this group of people gathered. And I say this to everyone who’s listening now, other than signing a petition or sharing your opinion on social media, attending that rally was likely the most overtly political act that those individuals have taken on behalf of our industry, just showing up at a rally. That’s it. And that’s the problem because in the past, they would never even have made this effort to show up for a deregulation bill or a board meeting, because they would have been too busy doing clients in their salons. They didn’t even know about it perhaps, or if they knew about it, they didn’t care enough to give up that day in the salon to go take care of business with the government.

ASHLEY: I think we’ve seen, as well, the lack of understanding, and not just being ignorant of the process, but when being presented with the actual process, the rules, the way things work. Like take a state board meeting for example, I’ve recently started attending state board meetings in Illinois, because first of all, they’ve been available via teleconference. And secondly, because they’re available via teleconference, they can’t get canceled due to lack of a quorum. The state board of Illinois has had a meeting, I think, twice in the past 18 months, which is egregious on its own. But judging by the types of comments that those members of the public who were attending gave, they were given at the wrong time. They weren’t pertinent to the agenda. They had to get cut off constantly because they were speaking on something that was outside of the regulations of the open meetings act. And they want to just get mad, and yell, and say, how dare you? When if you had just taken 20 minutes to learn what the process was, first of all, you wouldn’t look foolish acting out that way when you purport to be professionals. But secondly, you would understand the board doesn’t have that power to reopen things. That’s, that’s in the hands of your county health department, your county supervisor, your mayor, your governor, whatever that might be. So, it’s like going to the DMV and screaming at them because you can’t drive in the carpool lane. They don’t have that power. And it’s a lot of fervor, and passion, and emotion that is so great that you feel this strongly about our industry, but if you were to channel it and direct it at the right things, think about what we could achieve. And so that brings me to something that’s been really just like burning a hole in my brain pocket, which is, where is this industry leadership right now? I’ve been seeing the people that we look to for advice, whether it be a technique, or we admire and try to emulate their careers. They’re speaking out on things that not only is it bad information, but in some cases it’s illegal, and will cost you your license, and potentially your business. Now, this episode publishes, unironically, the same day that many salons in California are going to open in defiance of state and local orders. Now, this comes with its own slew of logistical problems, but when there are industry leaders, people that have been in the industry for more than 30 years, getting on their live and saying, well, I can’t do it cause I’m too big and I’ve got too many people counting on me, you understand? But if you, the independent, maybe suite renter, or chair renter, or whatever, if you do it well, they can’t arrest you all. What even is that? I feel like a lot of the leadership in our industry is failing us and I understand that we’ve got, we all have our own homes and houses we need to focus on. But it’s irresponsible. I think it’s incorrigible. And part of that thinking that’s so damaging is why we’re seeing all these schisms in the industry, and everybody kind of just like going their own way and damn the torpedoes. I’m just going to do it my way, and the chips will fall where they may.

JAIME: Ever since we’ve launched, Ashley, we’ve benefited from timing and that this episode will be released on a day when we, use the word many, but we don’t know how many, beauty professionals are planning to defy orders in the state of California. Let’s be specific. We’re not talking about across the country. We’re talking about the state that has the largest population of professional beauty licensees, and the largest number of licensed establishments. That’s what we call any business that offers beauty services for compensation. They’re called establishments. On this particular day, we have individuals that doing this, will be risking their licenses, risking the trust that clients have placed in them, risking their business licenses, perhaps, even been facing down criminal charges, for what? Because you can’t be patient enough to wait a few more weeks until we have managed to control this virus to the extent that the government feels like it’s appropriate and safe for us to reopen inside? All this, I don’t understand. And to your bigger point about leadership, those same individuals who are encouraging this kind of behavior, most of them have no idea how government works either, and would not have been able to answer questions, if we were to pose them. that Kristy answered within her episode last week. If we’d asked them like what, you know, how do you voice your opinion, or how does regulation get made, or they wouldn’t know the first thing about that because they are not leaders when it comes to how we’re regulated.

ASHLEY: Right. Well, they don’t know, cause they’ve never had to know. And I say this as an influencer in the nail side of things, in the loosest sense of the word, I understand, and I teach in a lot of my classes, especially about Instagram, I say, it’s not a meritocracy. The beauty industry is just like anything else in the world where people are well known and famous for doing outrageous things, maybe not necessarily with great technique or not for being great people,  but for doing something noteworthy, and that could be positive or negative. What those people are good at doing is stoking the fires of whatever kind of reaction they’re looking for, whether that be gathering your torches and pitchforks and marching on the state house. But actually what they would likely do is take a left turn, and go to the state board building, and start yelling, and banging pots and pans together outside of those offices. Because, again, there is a very loose understanding of how this actually works. I personally feel like one of the good things that could potentially come out of this whole COVID situation is that new leadership is emerging in the industry, and it is quiet, but it is powerful because it is composed of people who are willing to learn the process, willing to engage in the process the right way, and aren’t super confrontational. They’re not getting in elected officials’ faces and going on Twitter rants about it. They’re engaging in the process the way the process works. Now, I’m not saying that the process is great. It’s very slow moving. And if you want more information on that, you can tune into our episode last week. We, as beauty professionals, cannot have it both ways. And those pros who are opening today in defiance of orders are trying to have their cake and eat it too. They’re trying to say we’re safer inside. We’ve been certified on disinfection and sanitation protocols. Therefore, we’re going to completely disregard those things in order to continue working, just to prove how good we are at following guidelines? How does that work? It’s picking and choosing only the parts that you want to pay attention to. And it’s picking and choosing the facts, and I’m making air quotes right now around my microphone, that support what you were going to just do anyway. I sincerely hope that nothing bad happens to these pros, but just know that you’re making it harder for everybody who is doing this the right way by flagrantly disregarding the guidelines that are in place for public health reasons.

JAIME: It’s laughable if it weren’t so serious. There’s a difference between ignorance and willful noncompliance. The fact that someone would openly defy the law, or the guidelines, or the orders, or whatever we want to call it, they know that they are not supposed to be reopening. That’s not ignorance. That’s defiance. That’s that willful noncompliance. That’s saying I know what I’m supposed to be doing, but I want to do what I want to do, and I want to draw attention to it. Not even trying to hide the fact that I’m doing it because I feel that there’s strength in numbers and the more of us that do it, well, they’re not going to punish everyone. They can’t possibly punish everyone. Why would you even test that? Why, when you don’t even really know what the consequences are, and the consequences don’t have to be immediate. So someone encouraging this behavior by saying, well, they can’t arrest everyone. Who said anyone was going to get arrested? You’re not committing a criminal act in the moment that you reopen your salon doors without permission. That’s not a criminal act in and of itself, but what it does set in motion is the evaluation of what kinds of administrative and civil penalties could be leveled by the state government, by the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, by OSHA, if you happen to have employees, then at the county and local level, and again, this applies anywhere. That this has happened to California first is not a big surprise, but don’t think it’s only constrained to California because it may be coming for you at some point in the future. And the point that you make about the hypocrisy, really, because that’s what we’re talking about, the hypocrisy of saying, I have all of this training. I have this license. This allows me to do this safely while doing it unsafely is what makes it so difficult for us to be taken seriously as an industry. It makes it so much harder. The long-term implications of this kind of behavior will be felt for years, for years. And those of us who have been compliant and who intend to remain compliant, even though it’s a huge personal and financial sacrifice, we will be punished, possibly and most likely, for the bad behavior of those who couldn’t be patient or compliant.

ASHLEY: It’s going to help the deregulation argument in the long run, because not only do we have clients who have made the decision to now perform their own beauty services themselves at home, but then you have those who have the unfair competition of trying to keep their businesses afloat by doing things in a compliant way that adheres to all guidelines that go above and beyond the sanitation and disinfection protocols that we’ve been given the PPE, et cetera, et cetera, trying to make an outside salon work, whatever that might be. I guess why I’m not surprised as our industry has always been paying the bills for the bad actors in beauty. Every time I sit down with a client and they’re shocked by the fact that I use a new nail file on them, or that I use a disposable whatever, we’ve always been paying the bill. It’s just now it’s bankrupting us. And for people to not see that, it really makes me, it makes me sad because I love this industry so much, and I’m very glad that I found it. I don’t know. I don’t know how we deal with the people that are willfully noncompliant, because they think either they’re above it all, or that they don’t agree with, I guess, science or whatever, or they feel like it’ll never happen to me. They’ll never fine me. They’ll never inspect me. This way is cheaper. This way is faster, whatever that is. It’s just on a much grander scale now and because we all have the time to focus on it. It just seems that much more rampant, but this has always been going on since the beginning of our industry anyway.

JAIME: Your example of using a new clean nail file on a client is so apropos. And one of the other examples I think of is every time I teach a class, it could be a class about technique and have nothing to do with compensation in the industry, but I will always mention at the beginning of the class about the illegality of being issued a 1099 when you are the service provider working in a salon, and to see the light bulb moment on people’s faces, and realize that that’s not what this class is about, but if you want to learn more, talk to me later. And I know that you and I both do this quite a bit on social media is to try to provide that information about how salon compensation has been wrong for so many years, and we still get that pushback. People don’t want to hear it. It is exhausting defending this industry. It is exhausting to explain how we should know better. And even when people do know better, they still choose to do the wrong thing. And if we can’t acknowledge as an industry where we’re weak, where we need to improve, if we can’t do that first, and get ahead of that with facts, and avoid a situation where, and this is already happening, where others who have their own agendas would weaponize our weaknesses against us. That is what’s happening. I could do it myself. Anyone could do it. You know where you’re not meeting standards. You know where you’re failing. I know where our industry has weaknesses, but I choose to acknowledge them. And say, even despite that, this is what needs to be done. This is how we move forward. This is the direction in which we need to go. For all of the hype, for all of the attention that influencers or industry leaders, as we’ve defined them in the past, have received, if we think back on how did they get into that position? Was that because they happened to be the lead educator for a really popular brand? Is it because they work on celebrities? You know, what is it about them that makes them so attractive? That draws followers and attendees, and whatever it is that makes them, quote unquote, a leader. It’s not the same kinds of things that I value because they are literally helpless in protecting us in a situation where the government, who ultimately has power, is in control.

ASHLEY: Yeah, it’s all an illusion. It’s all an illusion. It’s an illusion of control. It’s an illusion of knowledge. I often think about how are the people that we’ve put up on this pedestal, how are they qualified to advise us of anything? And you and I know from interacting with a lot of these leaders, whether it be at shows, or at networking events, or whatever, when you pull the curtain back, a lot of times this is someone who is also a realtor, or someone who married into a very successful family and does beauty as a fun side project. And they’re giving this veneer of success, and when you actually dig a little deeper, you see that they don’t ship the products that they’ve sold. They don’t offer refunds on damaged or defective things. They tell you a lot of things about charge your worth and be worth what you charge, but they don’t give you any actionable steps on how to do that. I think the hypocrisy thing comes back into this as well, as far as like, trying to show your life as one thing and telegraph this version of success when in fact your reality is completely different. So how are you qualified to teach someone or to be idolized by someone for literally not even being able to do the things you teach other people? I love the way that you put that. Because you really get to the heart of things when you say we have a credibility problem, and that it’s hard to defend our industry because it is. And all the way around when you look at how many salons are misclassifying their employees, compensating illegally. What we absolutely need right now is to hit a reset button. Circle the wagons and think about what are our priorities going forward as an industry. How do we get rid of our credibility problem? How do we find a way to be taken more seriously by those outside of the industry? Whether it be our clients or government, whatever that looks like. And how can we really gel around a community that holds those same ideals? How can we support each other in this process? How can we use the system to effect change in a positive way and how can we elevate each other on our journey to whatever our goals might be? If you strip away all of the vanity of it, which is hard to do because we are in beauty, you keep getting back to the core ideals of what it takes to not only be a good person, but to be a good person in this industry. And that’s what I want to focus on moving forward.

JAIME: We need to revisit the qualifications. Because if we’re entering the industry, and we’re attending beauty school, and taking an examination to become licensed, we all know, I don’t care how many hours you spent in beauty school, that that’s minimum competency. It’s about consumer protection. So if we all have the same qualifications in that we all have a license, if we’re all trying to distinguish ourselves by virtue of who we know as opposed to what we know, we have a serious problem. And the value of information isn’t just how to achieve a certain result when doing a service. The information goes way beyond just the technical aspects of what it is that we do, especially when so many of us in this industry aspire to own our own businesses. We see that repeatedly. We see the questions that come from individuals who they’ve gotten themselves into a position where they should have already had that knowledge, but they don’t, and it doesn’t become important to them until it’s too late, until they’re stuck with a situation. And that situation could be as minor as I need to fire a client or as serious as I’m being audited by the IRS, or I’m being sued by the labor board of my state. That’s some serious problem. So these qualifications we talk about, I want to go back to what you were saying before, the qualification shouldn’t be, I was a crappy person, and I got busted, and now I’m going to teach you how to do it the right way. That is not a qualification. A qualification is the IRS professional who could train you to do it the right way, and to let you know what to avoid. That is a qualification, not I’m an unethical person who got caught being an unethical salon owner, and now I’m trying to profit off my unethical behavior.

ASHLEY: Exactly. So how do we move towards something that’s more positive? Because I think for the first time, our industry actually really has a chance to lead by example and to set an example for other industries, for our clients, for the public, for the government to say, okay, we know we have these issues. We need to address them. Here’s how we’re going to start. And I think in order to even think about moving in that direction, there needs to be some kind of an effort or an organizing to at least get people who think that way together and start moving in the right direction together. So I think it’s time, Jaime, that we make the announcement we’ve been teasing for the past few weeks.

JAIME: I am definitely ready. I am so excited to finally be able to share what it is that Ashley and I have been working on, and Ashley, I want you to say it, please.

ASHLEY: Okay, well, in the spirit of what we’ve been discussing in this episode and being tired of feeling the negativity of just everything that it takes to be alive in the world right now, knowing that we can move towards something more positive if we do it together, and you know if you’ve listened to more than one episode of Outgrowth, we always start each episode by saying, let’s grow together. Well, it’s time for us to do that. So I’d like to announce, launching today, Outgrowth Insiders, which is a community for beauty professionals who are committed to advocacy, compliance, and elevating and supporting each other as we all move through our journey as beauty professionals.

JAIME: I feel energized already, actually, just by hearing you say that, because we’ve come to this point in our journey producing this project Outgrowth podcast where we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for everything that we’ve been going through over the last six months, I wouldn’t have had the time and I would have been too distracted. So that being out of the salon has given me the opportunity to gain more perspective, to have these conversations with you that we have every week, to engage experts that otherwise wouldn’t be available, and these experts who are so critical to understanding why we’re in the position we’re in, and where we could be if only we looked to different individuals, if we look to the right information, the accurate information, to advance ourselves and our industry collectively.

ASHLEY: Exactly. And how do we do that and maintain this momentum when we are all back in our businesses with full schedules and the additional layer of difficulty with the PPE, et cetera? I firmly believe that Insiders is the way we do that, where we come together and make a concerted effort to be engaged with that process through the private Facebook group that Insiders will have, through the monthly live trainings that Insiders can interact with or watch on replay, through the monthly Q and A sessions with us and potentially other experts to really get a roadmap to what those next steps might be. Because we are all on this journey, and for as big as our industry is, we’re really kind of at it alone, even if you’re part of a team, even if you’re part of a salon system. I know that there’s a lot of stylists, beauty professionals, estheticians, nail technicians, lash technicians, et cetera, who understand that no two pros’ journeys are the same, and no matter where we are on that journey, if we’re just leaving beauty school and trying to figure out where to go, or if we’ve been in this industry for 30 years and now want to take on a different focus, if we all come together, we have the ability to benefit from our collective experience, benefit from our collective backgrounds, and hopefully come together as a diverse group to move the entire industry forward as a unit.

JAIME: At a minimum, the listeners who’ve been so generous to have supported us as we’ve exposed these topics, and expressed our opinions, and shared experts, I would hope that they have this baseline of knowledge, and next step would be, well, what are you going to do with it? And we’re not in a position, I wish we had the time, but we’re not in a position to engage individually with every person. And Ashley, you know there have been so many. We’ve been receiving messages through Facebook, through text, through Instagram, where individuals who have discovered us through our podcast, those individuals have stepped up and said, I have this idea, or I want to do more, or this is what I want to accomplish, and for the constraints of time, we’re not in a position to individually mentor those people as much as we’d like to. We need to create that place, that safe space in which individual beauty professionals can express their hopes and dreams, and actually make those realities, and be guided by the accurate information, the resources that we’ll be supplying, really information that in these podcast episodes, we don’t have the time to take those really deep dives into, because so much of it can be very individual. It will vary perhaps from state to state. Now, of course, there’s some broader issues that we know that we’ll always be able to tackle when it comes to the podcast and the podcast is not going anywhere. We’ll still be doing the podcast every week and we welcome more and more listeners all the time. But in terms of making a commitment to yourself, to grow both personally and professionally, that’s what I hope that Outgrowth Insiders offers. In fact, I know that you and I together, we came up with a mission statement and we’re at different phases. There’s an age difference between the two of us, and there’s a gap in experience because I’m old, but, but hey, I could acknowledge. It’s, okay. 

ASHLEY: Oh my God

JAIME: And I have been here almost 30 years in this industry and only really got involved in advocacy about halfway through my career, even though I was involved in education and thought that was enough. It wasn’t enough, and it really didn’t give me as much purpose as advocacy does. So not to say that’s everyone’s path, but it certainly does make me feel more empowered. But let me go ahead and read what we came up with. We want to create the community we wish existed at the start of our careers, a community that elevates beauty professionals every step of their journey. And I think that, in a nutshell, is what Outgrowth Insiders will be for those who trust us and will join us.

ASHLEY: I can’t wait to get started. This is really our chance to determine the next direction of our industry, who the leaders and the next generation of leaders will be in our industry, and how we want to be remembered after 2020: what we’re known for, how we interact with our industry, and if we’re going to take an active role or remain in a passive role. And whatever the decision is, just know that this community is here to support you in that. And we can’t wait to welcome you to Outgrowth Insiders. Enrollment opens today, and it closes on August 31st. So we have just two weeks to join Insiders. If you join with us during this initial enrollment period, you’ll take advantage of reduced pricing as an Outgrowth Original Insider, and our community’s doors will close, and we will not be accepting any additional Insiders until 2021. This is a great way for us to hit the ground running together as a community, determine what is important to us, what our priorities are, and how we can move towards those next steps together. And then what types of instruction, direction, and support we can offer you through the network of experts that we have access to and through our own individual mentorship and attention. I sincerely hope you’ll consider joining us. It’s really going to be a good time, and, yeah, that’s Outgrowth Insiders.

JAIME: Those original Insiders will set the course for this entire process and I’m excited to get started.

ASHLEY: I can’t wait to see what we build together, and what the next steps are, and what the future looks like. I think it’s very bright and let’s go together.

JAIME: So Ashley, we want to make sure that anyone who’s interested, and you all should be at least interested enough to check it out, we want you to go to our website, outgrowthpodcast.com/insiders to review what it is that we’re offering, and so you can understand why we feel this is so important for you to join us now.

ASHLEY: A link will be in the show notes for you to check out outgrowth.com/insiders, and see all the benefits that come with being an Insider, and all of the great access you’ll have to Jaime and I, and to, again, our network of experts that we love. We really feel that it’s the beauty community you deserve.   

JAIME: So we have a special testimonial to share with our audience today. And normally our testimonials come from listeners like you who’ve discovered Outgrowth podcasts, and we appreciate all the feedback that we get, but this testimonial is special because it actually comes from one of our guests, and that guest was Amy Toepper, attorney and owner of Legal In A Box. She was here for an episode and she’ll be back. We’ll hear from Amy again in the future. But Amy had this to share about Outgrowth: “Outgrowth is an invaluable hub for information on running your small business in the beauty industry. Jaime and Ashley work tirelessly to keep business owners across the country, informed, educated, and counseled on all of the very unique issues those in the beauty industry face on a daily basis.”

ASHLEY: Wow. Thanks, Amy. I know we both feel really strongly about the next direction of the industry and what we want to do is make sure that we can bring as many of you along with us as possible. Please subscribe, rate, and review Outgrowth on your favorite podcast platform. It helps us reach more listeners like you and listeners that might need some good fact-based info right about now.

JAIME: As always, you can follow us and comment on recent episodes on Instagram at @outgrowthpodcast. But Ashley, really now that we’ve announced Outgrowth Insiders, we know that the best conversations will be happening there.

ASHLEY: That’s right. We’ll hope you’ll join us there. Until next week, be smart.

JAIME: Be safe.

ASHLEY: Be an Insider. 

JAIME: Bye.

ASHLEY: Bye.

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