Wigs offer “pick-me-up” for cancer patients

Wigs offer “pick-me-up” for cancer patients

Joanne Cross, owner of the Wig Boutique in Sudbury, carries a wide assortment of synthetic and natural wigs. About 30 per cent of her clients buy them for medical reasons. The remaining 70 per cent buy them because they’re in fashion.

Looking at a balding head in the mirror is a painful experience for a woman.  Hair defines us in so many ways.

When medical treatment or a physical illness robs a woman of her hair, she has more options these days.

Joanne Cross at the Wig Boutique in Sudbury carries 500 wigs and all kinds of turbans and hats.

“When the ladies are trying on wigs I can see their face light up.  It’s incredible what the hair does for them,” said Cross.

To help women with hair loss, Cross holds a free seminar every Thursday at 9:00 a.m. before the store opens. She talks about how the wigs are made, their pricing and what kind of financial help is available, all of which allows them to make informed decisions.

Back in style

Wigs were once part of the fashion regime in the ’70s, but were too hot and heavy and lost their appeal in a short time.  Now, they’re back in style.  They are far more practical, lightweight and 100 per cent synthetic.  There are also blended fibers combining human hair and synthetic material.

In the past, human hair wigs tended to look more natural than the synthetic ones. Now, synthetic wigs look just as natural as human hair and are easy to care for. However, it’s important that they be kept away from high heat like ovens. When they wash, they fall right back into their style.  The Wig Boutique also carries top quality Remy Human Hair wigs.

Cross started the business in November 2009 after noticing wigs were coming back in style.

Women in Sudbury didn’t have very many options.  There was one wig store downtown, but it didn’t stay open more than a year.  The only options were the few wigs available in hair salons or travelling to a bigger city to buy one.  But with the Northern Ontario Regional Cancer Centre in Sudbury, it only made sense to have a wig store with enough variety for women to find what they need.

Cross believes the success of her business is attributable to having a good selection of wigs and an appreciation for why women need to purchase one.

“I had a lady just last week who was staying at Daffodil Lodge who came for a head scarf.  She was a bit reluctant, but when she saw all the wigs, she decided to try one and she left with one on!” Cross said.  “She had been without hair for months.”

Cross also helps many women, both young and old, who suffer with alopecia, which causes thinning, partial and total hair loss.

Wigs range in price from $66 to $1,000.  The boutique is relaxing and has three vanities equipped with comfortable chairs and mirrors. Private fittings can also be arranged.  Cross says it does not take long to fit a wig, but choosing and trying them on takes time.

Million-dollar smile

Terry LeBreton, a satisfied client, left Cross a message on her website. “I walked into the Wig Boutique today with an ache in my heart that I was losing my hair due to cancer treatment,” she wrote. “I had tears in my eyes almost the whole time I was there.  When I left the boutique, I left with a million dollar smile on my face and my new hair for the time being and it brought back my confidence.”

When Cross started to advertise the boutique, she printed over 4,000 business cards and, if a referral came through a business card, she would give $2.00 to breast cancer research.  “I am a big supporter of the breast cancer equipment fund.  This fund was started by Annette Cressey who had to go to Timmins for one test because we didn’t have the equipment here,” said Cross.  The fund goal is $200,000 with $160,000 raised to date.

About 70 per cent of her clients are now buying for fashion with the remaining 30 per cent for medical reasons.

“It’s a good thing fashion is embracing wigs because it benefits those who have to wear a wig for medical reasons,” said Cross.


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