Regulations are killing my business

These small businesses are being squeezed by local regulations requiring specific licenses. All are fighting back with the help of the Institute for Justice, a civil liberties law firm.

Teaching makeup art

small business regulation lissette wendy
  • Business: Teaching makeup art
  • The rule: Teaching makeup requires a full-scale beauty school
  • Rule maker: Nevada's board of cosmetology
  • Penalty: $2,000 fine

Lissette Waugh and Wendy Robin opened makeup schools in Las Vegas in 2010. Both experienced makeup artists, Waugh wanted to share what she'd learned on the runway with Neiman Marcus models, while Robin had worked on movies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the TV series Lost.

But then Nevada's cosmetology board came knocking to enforce a longstanding law. They demanded classrooms be prepped like a beauty school: At least 5,000 square feet, 20 curling irons, 10 shampoo bowls and 5 electric heaters.

The problem is, no makeup school would ever need that. Waugh and Robin teach how to apply paint and prosthetics to people's faces -- not how to cut hair and do pedicures.

"It's just ridiculous. We don't wash hair," said Waugh, who openly defies the law and teaches classes of 10 at a time.

It's been tougher on Robin, who closed her shop, fearing she'd get caught. She now operates on a much smaller scale, teaching classes of one or two students at a time. The instability forces her to pay higher rent, and the forgone profit has cost her $8,000 a month.

"I'm really sad and devastated," Robin said. "I've been in the business for 25-plus years, but I can't market and advertise."

  @Jose_Pagliery - Last updated January 30 2013 11:43 AM ET