Braid new world

A combative hairstyler finally gives in to state regulation

"It is really hard to come back at this point," she says. "But I am open and am working."

In February 1996, the commission declared a moratorium on citing unlicensed braiders after a delegation of them lobbied the board for more lenient rules. That lobbying effort prompted the commission to develop the new rules it expected to adopt in early February.

Brantley says she doesn't mind the special license, but still feels that what she had to go through was unfair. She wonders why she and other braiders weren't grandfathered in with the rule changes in the same way that nail sculpting studios have been. But overall, she says her fight made a point.

And some good has come from this. Brantley says she has worked out a deal with a hair salon to actually teach braiding courses in exchange for her 300 hours of service, since most hair styling schools do not have any knowledge about braiding. She thinks that perhaps it could be a new calling.

"I am definitely open to teaching braiding," she says. "Perhaps it is time for me to come from behind the chair.

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