3921 Steck Ave Ste. A101 Austin TX 78759
How long have you been in the alternative hair business?
32 years as a hair stylist, 4 years in alternative hair and it's been the best four years of my career - I'm incredibly inspired and passionate about what I do. I owe a lot to JR for seeing talent in me and training me in long hair bonding. Within 2 years, I went from a small studio in a suite style salon to opening a 1600 square foot studio based on my work bonding JR products.
What inspired you to start this business?
Marsha was a brand-new mother who, just a few months after her baby was born, was diagnosed with a devastating autoimmune disease coupled with a severe bacterial infection. As she describes it, of all the awful symptoms and toxic medications she had to endure, her associated hair loss was the most devastating. “It was the last straw, it was the outward sign that I was so sick”. She contacted Shanna for a consultation but was admitted to the hospital before she could actually get to her appointment. She wouldn’t be well enough to call Shanna back for nearly a year.
While Shanna had dealt with many clients with thinning hair and was a master in the art of hair extensions, in the year between her first and second conversations with Marsha, she was being pulled in the direction of serving those with profound hair loss. She calls these her “God Moments”. Shanna started seeing an ever-increasing number of wonderful individuals with severe thinning hair and she realized two things. First, she felt an immense gratitude that she could help those who were in much more serious situations than her usual clients. This wasn’t about covering gray or the trendiest cut, this was about self-worth and wholeness. This led to her second realization, she needed to get trained. She attended training for hair integration systems, toppers, wigs, cutting and coloring.
Just as Shanna was getting trained, Marsha contacted her again. She was finally physically well enough to reach out for some answers to her severe hair loss. A hair integration system worked for a while, but the medications Marsha was taking were causing so much alopecia that the system was no longer an option. Her doctors said it was a 50/50 shot that her hair would ever grow back. Shanna brought Marsha and her husband into the salon after-hours and they had a heart to heart discussion. Marsha could no longer face her straggly hair image in the mirror. Shanna, in true hair therapist mode, explained to the couple that it was time for a wig. After gently speaking to Marsha and her husband about how feeling unattractive was affecting intimacy in the relationship, they decided to shave her head. They started fresh. Marsha first ordered a wig that complemented her personality and understated style. Marsha laughs when she says “I ordered 3 more. Different colors and styles. It became fun!”. Although her hair has mostly grown back, and her health is returning, she is now an expectant mother with an active two-year-old. “I still use the wigs.” Instead of spending a lot of time on her natural hair she said, “If I have an extra 45 minutes, I’m going to take a nap and just put on one of my fabulous wigs as I leave the house.” Shanna and Marsha cannot talk about one another without crying. They both truly believe they were brought together by divine intervention.
What advice would you give to someone looking to purchase wig / topper for the first time?
Read reviews and work with a professional who has a lot of experience in Hair Replacement and/or wigs and good reviews. Buying online is dangerous. You can end up with a "bag-o-hair" instead of getting what you really need and what is right for your particular circumstances. There are so many options available and a professional can help you choose the best option.
What kind of services do you offer?
We offer toppers, custom toppers, wigs, long hair bonding, extensions, 3D printed cranial prosthetics. We also offer trichology protocols - both for in-salon and at-home use. And we have a Master-stylist on staff who provides custom coloring and hair design for all mainstream clients, which allows Shanna to focus on hair replacement.
What is your favorite Jon Renau piece?
The Kim is a beautiful wig and the custom Top Forms that I create for long-hair bonding are two of my favorites. I use a lot of stock pieces for long hair bonding and they work beautifully. If the need is different, like curly hair or different texture or diameter, I create custom pieces. I love having all the JR options.
You are CORE certified, what would you say to someone who has not yet attended?
Yes - Absolutely must attend if you have any interest in wigs or the alternative hair world. CORE training provides everything from an introduction to hair loss and products to support clients, to how to market yourself, and how to customize products for clients. CORE is invaluable, and you also get to work with the JR team, who will provide support in growing your business. CORE will also peak your interest so you discover what your passion is and JR will offer additional training so you can follow your passion.
What changes have you seen in our industry in the past 5 years?
Hair loss seems to be an epidemic. There is a need for hairdressers to enter this industry. Thankfully more colleagues are becoming interested.
I've noticed that JR listens to feedback from people using their products to make improvements. The offerings have increased, and quality and comfort has improved. French drawn toppers are just one improvement that has made a big difference in my business.
What do you believe is ONE of your success factors?
- I run my business with honesty and integrity. I will never sell a client something I don't believe they need but will always provide multiple options.
Couldn’t give just one…
- I recognize that everyone's journey is different.
- I have done research in the industry and have chosen partners based on their customer service and quality of product. I limit myself to 3 main vendors. I believe when you offer too much, you can't focus, and clients get overwhelmed (so does the stylist).