360 Live Media
360 Live Media is an event strategy and digital marketing agency in Washington, D.C. serving association, professional society, and not-for-profit conferences.
How the Professional Beauty Association is going above and beyond to help their members and beauty community

The story of how one association is going above and beyond to help their members

A few weeks ago, I spotted a tweet from one of our clients, the Professional Beauty Association (PBA). They were promoting their efforts in helping those in the beauty industry affected by recent natural disasters, including Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. With over 7,000 licensed professionals as members, PBA is the largest organization of beauty professionals representing salons and spas, distributors, manufacturers and stylists.


I decided I needed to know more about how PBA is supporting their members and the communities ravaged by this year’s slew of hurricanes. So I caught up with Rachel Molepske, Director – Leadership Operations & Charitable Programs at PBA, to dig a little deeper about their disaster relief efforts.


Kevin Cobb: How long has PBA been involved with disaster relief?


Rachel Molepske: Back in 1955, the PBA Disaster Relief Fund was created to support beauty professionals who were suffering from the effects of flooding. It was actually started by the National Cosmetology Association, and is now a program of the Professional Beauty Association Foundation.


KC: Why is the fund so important?


RM: Many salon professionals are not salaried employees and, often after a disaster, the last thing people think about is getting their hair cut. This leaves many in our industry without income. When you’re not behind the chair for days or weeks, it’s really tough to stay on your feet. We do what we can to help beauty professionals in times of dire need. Natural disasters affect our industry profoundly—it is a long road to recovery.


KC: How does the fund work?


RM: PBA’s Disaster Relief Fund counts on donations from companies and individuals. It’s helped thousands of beauty professionals over the past 62 years. The fund is unique in that 100% of all donations go to industry professionals in need. The PBA Foundation does not take any overhead out of those donations—whether it be administrative time, or the costs associated with credit card donations and check fees.


KC: How much has PBA been able to help in recent years?


RM: Since Hurricane Katrina, the PBA Disaster Relief Fund has disbursed more than $1.2 million dollars. The funds provided are intended to offer quick cash for short-term, immediate needs such as clothing, food and utility bills.


KC: Are non-members eligible to receive relief from PBA?


RM: Yes, of course. The PBA Disaster Relief Fund is for the industry as a whole—you do not need to be a member of PBA to apply for or donate funds. We are all united by beauty, and we support the entire industry. PBA wants money donated by the industry to go back to the industry, to help rebuild beauty, and all donated funds do just that. Additionally, all donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.


KC: What other ways does PBA help members, non-members and clients?


RM: In addition to disaster relief, we work to give back to our communities through three key initiatives:


  • Scholarships: We administer scholarship opportunities for students, professionals, members and non-members. Our goal is to empower the next generation of salon and beauty professionals.


  • CUT IT OUT®: The Beauty Community Against Domestic Violence is dedicated to mobilizing salon professionals and others to fight the epidemic of domestic abuse in communities across the U.S. by building awareness and training salon professionals to recognize warning signs and safely refer clients, colleagues, friends and family to local resources.


  • Look Good Feel Better: This program is dedicated to improving the quality of life and self-esteem of people undergoing cancer treatment. Look Good Feel Better offers complimentary group, individual, and online sessions that teach beauty techniques to help people with cancer to face their diagnosis with greater confidence. PBA is one of three national collaborators for the Look Good Feel Better program, along with the Look Good Feel Better Foundation and American Cancer Society.


KC: How can people get involved with PBA’s relief efforts today?


RM: To help salon and beauty professionals affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, visit our website and donate now. Every little bit helps.



How is your association helping your members or others in your industry in a time of need, whether it be through a short or long-term hurdle? Email Kevin if you know of an association or society that should highlighted.