Imagine attempting to open a bakery that specializes in cakes. But before the business can even get off the ground, the government pays you a visit and informs you that unless you also bake and sell pies in addition to the cakes, it will not allow you to legally open your bakery.
This sounds silly to you at first, but the government insists that since pies and cakes are traditionally both sold in bakeries, that is just how the law works. You can either comply or abandon your dream of owning a specialty cake bakery.
Regulations Are Stranger Than Fiction
While this may be nothing more than a fictional scenario, regulations this outrageous do exist. And what is worse, they prevent many from obtaining their entrepreneurial dreams. In fact, a similar situation is currently happening in North Carolina, where one makeup artist’s dream of opening a cosmetology school is being stifled by a peculiar occupational licensing law.
North Carolina resident, Jasna Bukvic-Bhayani wants to open a school where hopeful cosmetologists can come to learn the tools of the trade. As a makeup artist herself, Bukvic-Bhayani found teaching makeup artistry to others to be both rewarding and lucrative. But the state shut her down before she could even begin.
As a certified cosmetologist, she has already obtained all the permits and licenses necessary to practice her craft in exchange for compensation. But even though she is permitted to practice cosmetology she is forbidden from teaching this craft to others unless she also teaches esthetics.
The field of esthetics involves procedures like microdermabrasion, body waxing, and facials, none of which Bukvic-Bhayani desires to teach at her school. Even still, the North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners told her that unless she intends on turning her school into an esthetic school as well as makeup artistry the state will not allow her to open up for business.
But incorporating esthetics into her curriculum isn’t as easy as simply taking a few weeks to go over the basics. Instead, this will force her to spend at least $10,000 on esthetic equipment in addition to the hundreds of wasted hours she will spend teaching a skill she doesn’t want to teach. For a student to be a state-certified cosmetologist they must complete at least 600 hours of esthetic training, whether they want to practice this skill or not.
Bukvic-Bhayani has insisted that esthetics is not a part of the business model for her school, but the state doesn’t care. Since many cosmetic schools also teach esthetics, the state claims that this should be the norm for anyone wanting to open a school involving cosmetology in any way.
Surveying the Competition
What is even more disturbing than the fact that Bukvic-Bhayani is being prevented from reaching her entrepreneurial dream is how the state came to learn of her school’s existence in the first place.
In order to attract prospective students to her school, Bukvic-Bhayani paid for online advertising. Unfortunately, the North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners makes a habit of monitoring facebook ads in an attempt to catch those who may not be following their rules. This is exactly how Bukvic-Bhayani came to be on the board’s radar.
And this type of monitoring is not specific to the realm of cosmetology. A year ago, a mother was fined after a health inspector caught wind that she was selling Ceviche that was not first approved by the state’s health department. By scouring facebook groups that serve almost as digital farmer’s markets, these regulatory boards have prevented many individuals from earning a living.
These boards also encourage a dependence on the state before one is able to put forth an entrepreneurial idea and getting ahead in life.
In the Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek even warns often of the dangers that follow when a state bars entry to certain vocational fields. It is certain he would be disgusted today to see just how far this practice has expanded.
These regulations are usually crafted by those already in the field. By setting all these hefty regulations, they can limit who is allowed to enter the field. In other words, they are given the unjust privilege of deciding who is allowed to compete in the free market, and who is not.
Luckily, the nonprofit organization, Institute for Justice has come to Bukvic-Bhayani’s aid and is helping her fight for the right to earn a living. And they have found a rather creative way to combat this regulation.
The First Amendment protects an individual’s right to speak for a living. But this protection does not extend only to the individual’s right to speak out against the government. It also extends to one’s profession. This serves to protect speakers, authors, journalist and yes, even makeup artists.
Institute for Justice has a long track record of doing its best to fight for the rights of those who want nothing more than to earn a living without fear of government intrusion. Hopefully, this story will end with the opening of Bukvic-Bhayani’s cosmetology school.