Micalah Howard had no plans to lobby the Idaho state government for anything.
In 2016, she and her two colleagues founded a mobile makeup studio that catered to the needs of brides at destination weddings, nervous prom attendees at their homes, or even wanna-be zombies preparing for Halloween festivities.
Later that same year, the state stepped in and shut down the successful business. Mobile makeup, state regulators said, was illegal. Micalah and her friends, who were dedicated to their craft and their clients, were heartbroken.
Nadia Saakyan, one of Howard’s colleagues, told us at the time that the state’s action, “has completely ruined our income and livelihood.”
Howard and her colleagues didn’t mope, though. Instead, they reached out to the Idaho Freedom Foundation and asked for help at the Capitol. IFF sprang to action. The Foundation’s policy shop formulated solutions in collaboration with lawmakers and the state’s cosmetology board. Meanwhile, IFF’s communication operation shared the ladies’ plight in the local media and raised awareness for the problem.
The case ignited a campaign for sweeping licensure reform. Instead of simply tweaking the state’s cosmetology regulations, IFF pushed lawmakers to adopt a more ambitious plan. The legislation that eventually became law legalized mobile makeup, merged the state cosmetology and barber boards, and dropped the cosmetology education requirement by 400 hours, from 2,000 hours to 1,600 hours.
Micalah and her colleagues are back earning an honest living, doing what they love. Their dedication to doing the right thing will help other makeup artists get their cosmetology licenses faster, at far lower cost, and allow many others to become self-sufficient small business owners, too.