Mark Lane catches up with a Sunderland-based small business, The Wonderful Wig Company, which is doing fantastic work to help remove the stigma around wearing a wig
There was a time when the idea of wearing a wig held a certain stigma, but it’s fair to say those days have passed. Indeed, some estimates suggest the global wig market will hit US $10bn in revenue in the next five years, driven by soaring demand as procedures improve and the quality of wigs on offer rises significantly.
Here in the North East we have a business and North East England Chamber of Commerce member that is at the forefront of this evolving market: The Wonderful Wig Company. The enterprise was set up by Nicola Wood, like many great businesses, arose from very personal circumstances.
Nicola explains: “The company stemmed from my own personal diagnosis with cancer. When I found out I had cancer my first thought after ‘will I live?’ was, ‘am I was going to lose my hair?’. I felt like I was losing the core of my physical identity and as a young woman running a busy business, working with people every day a positive body image is very important to me.
She adds: “Having looked into the various avenues available to me in the North East and then nationwide in terms of hair loss and wigs I soon became dispirited by what was available and I began to carry out research into the whole hair loss and wig industry. The rest is history.”
Nicola’s business now provides a full turnkey solution for hair loss, from diagnosis to the first haircut and colour should the hair return, be it following cancer, stress, alopecia or thinning poor hair – individuals lose hair for all manner of reasons.
The company also provides a range of complimentary services including wellness workshops, and a holistic art club. Indeed, The Wonderful Wig Company is embedded in Nicola’s Sunderland-based hair and beauty business, Kitui.
Nicola explains: “We have invested a huge amount of money into extending the existing building so that the Wonderful Wig Company could operate from Kitui.
“We felt it was integral to our ethos that getting your new hair should be a personal hairdressing experience and not a medical or a wig shop one – this is something I feel so strongly about.
“All of our wigs and hairpieces are styled, cut and often coloured and this is what makes us different. No two wigs leave our salon the same.”
As hair loss comes in many forms, Nicola and her team work with a diverse client base. For instance, it works with young children via a partnership with Little Princess Trust, it works with alopecia clients, with elderly people who are experiencing hair loss, and a whole lot more in between.
Clients can self-refer or be referred via other avenues including, for instance, a care home or a hospice. Regardless, all clients receive the same level of tailored support.
Says Nicola: “We find most clients feel very insecure and nervous about the prospect of wearing a wig or even making that first call about their hair loss but I once we’ve sat with them listened to them and showed them options, they are actually quite excited about the fitting and leave us with their head held high and confident.
She adds: “The feedback we get is that the right hair is life changing. Wearing new hair is something that can be expressive, beautiful and unique to the individual.”
Most importantly for clients, Nicola and her team take the hassle and stress out of the whole process. They have fantastic resources at their smart premises in Melbourne Place, with the largest range of human hair in the North East. After an initial consultation, the hair – if it is not available in-house – is ordered. The client then returns for a fitting, where their new hair is personalised to them. If the client is an NHS client, all paperwork is taken care of for them. If desired, clients can return with their hair for washing and styling on a regular basis.
Costs can vary, with budgets available for all. Wig prices can start from just £100 and rise to £500+ for bespoke human hair wigs, with NHS prescriptions also accepted.
The Wonderful Wig Company
Instagram – @thewonderfulwigcompany