1. How did you get started doing hair restoration?
What drew me to it was almost 30 years ago I survived breast cancer. A few years after that I was introduced to hair restoration and that’s where I helped people heal, which helped me heal. I was in the right place at the right time. It was like an area that had opened up that nobody did around here. If someone wanted this type of service, they had to go to Toledo or Dayton or Columbus. So, there’s a part of this that people think right away that I just sell wigs, and that’s not really it at all. This is what I love to do and where my heart is. My goal is to take care of people.
2. What kind of services do you offer, and what do you offer specifically for people with a medical need for hair?
We service men, women and children. We do medical, nonmedical and some fashion, but not much. Fashion for fine and thinning hair you’d say. You’ll see women with very little hair on top. It can be age, illness, hereditary, accidents. There are three distinct categories of people who need and want hair — medical, nonmedical and fashion.
3. How long have you been doing this type of work?
This is about 20 years. We added this area onto our building. I was doing medical over in the salon, so really medical 30 years, but yes, we built this on, so I could be more intense with it.
3. What percentage of your business is medical?
Probably about a third is medical. Then you have nonmedical things like alopecia — different hair loss conditions — so we have quite a few of those in here. We have male pattern baldness a lot.
4. How is hair restoration different than just buying a wig?
We customize for men, women and children with plastic molds. Everybody’s head is shaped differently. We’ve been trained by the companies; all over the United States I’ve been to be trained. So, training is a huge issue in properly delivering a hair system, so if that’s how you want to look, that’s how I’m going to make you look. If you need a top of the head system, I’d blend the colors, I would cut it in with tails to match just what you have on your head. It’s customizing everything — that’s what we do, and dealing with the frustration and negative feelings people have about themselves. You have to see the children who get their hair. It’s amazing. What people don’t know is if you build someone’s self-esteem, especially if they’re ill, it also builds their immune system. It’s a huge benefit to do what you can do to make yourself feel better.
5. What is the process from the time someone walks in with a hair issue to when they walk out?
They fill out a profile. Their history — I need to know their history. They sign for HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy rule], so everything that happens here is perfectly private. I find out what drugs they’re on, what kind of cancer they have, who’s their doctor. I have two kinds here — one for nonmedical and then one for people with medical needs. We talk about all this. Then, I see what their needs are. Then price ranges help them decide what arena — whether they want real or synthetic hair, total custom to semicustom, and then we go from there. I don’t always match things exactly because if they’d look better in a little different color or something, low lights, highlights — that’s the fun part. We redesign to match their skin color and lifestyle. We find what works for them and get a feel for what the person is all about.
6. What’s the most rewarding?
The hugs I get when they leave. The smiles on their faces. That’s why at my age I’m still sitting here running a business. I love what I do. Since fifth grade, I’ve been doing hair. I can’t bring myself to stop. It is so rewarding. Neither my husband nor I are ready to quit. My husband is a big part of this business. He does all the book work.