Christine McLean is originally from the Ivory Coast, where she learned how to braid as a child. She came to the United States in 1998 and began supporting herself by braiding. Christine braided legally in Florida for six years because Florida only requires braiders to take 16 hours of classes in order to braid—about 1 percent of the hours that Arkansas requires. Christine managed a braiding shop in Missouri for several years before coming to Arkansas, where she had the opportunity to buy her own shop. She has now owned and run LaBelle African Hair Braiding for two-and-a-half years.
Christine has been fined several times by the Department of Health for braiding without a license. The fines total nearly $2,000 dollars. She wants to continue to run her own business without incurring additional fines and penalties levied under a burdensome and irrational regulatory scheme.