Fighting hair loss, one wig at a time
Siobian Jones is a master of both natural and theatrical wigs. She's working to make sure hair loss patients have access to wigs that make them feel like themselves again.
If there’s one person you want touching your hair, whether it’s still attached to your head or not, it’s Siobian Jones.
“I’ve been working in hair for 20 years,” she said. “I started off as a traditional hairstylist for about nine years and then transitioned into theater. That’s where I started working with wigs.”
Now, wigs are one of her two passions.
“I bet I have over 100 in this studio,” she said. If you’ve seen any performances at the Clarence Brown Theatre at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, then you’ve seen some of her wigs in action. Her collection ranges from artistic and theatrical wigs to wigs you could wear every day. That’s where her second passion lies.
“Pretty much my entire career I’ve worked with hair loss,” said Jones. “As a hairstylist, we’re usually the first ones people come to when they first start noticing that they’re losing their hair. I’ve always been a part of different foundations helping people find wig or makeup resources, teaching how to draw eyebrows back on.”
Many times, Jones has been the person to shave the hair off the head of a cancer patient going through chemotherapy.
“Usually they were distraught,” she said. “Their energy was low. For a lot of people, it’s the thing that makes it all feel real. It’s what you see in the mirror every day that’s reminding you you have it.”
But then Jones would offer them comfort in the form of a wig.
“When they left the salon with a wig that looked just like their hair their energy completely changed. Like suddenly there was a better outlook on the prognosis of even being sick,” she said.
She makes custom wigs herself, often using the shaved hair of the women who come to her.
“I just got done making one that a woman’s two daughters and granddaughter all donated hair for it,” said Jones.
But getting the right wig, the one that’s comfortable and looks natural, is not easy or cheap.
“A lot of people are forced to buy stuff online. They end up spending $1,200 to $1,500 on a wig. They have no idea what they’re looking for, they have no idea how it’s supposed to fit, how to wear it, and there’s zero or limited return policy,” said Jones.
That’s where she comes in.
“My idea was to be able to offer them a longer return period and have a stock of wigs that people can try for up to seven days. We’re calling them samples,” she said.
What Jones is describing is a business idea under her personal wig brand The Mighty Wig, where chemo patients – or anyone with or without hair loss wanting a quality wig made of human hair – can try before they buy the wig best fit for them.
“That gives them seven days that they can wear that wig in their real life,” she said. “They can wear it to work, they can wear it around the house, they don’t have to worry about, you know, “I have this three-day return policy, and I haven’t even figured out how to put it on yet.”
Jones submitted her idea to the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s ‘What’s the Big Idea?’ Pitch Competition. It’s a 48-hour mentoring workshop that helps solidify branding, a business plan, and more, ending with a pitch competition and the chance to take home a check for $10,000.
“The motivation was definitely the money and the mentorship,” she said. “I didn’t get the money, but I got the mentorship. I had 12 people on my team that were dedicated to just me, and they were all entrepreneurs or high up in their business.”
Jones was selected as one of seven finalists and spent 48 hours working with that team to make her business idea a reality.
“I felt so set up for success,” she said. “I felt so much more clear in my vision and so supported that going onstage was way less scary than it’s ever been when I’ve had to do public speaking. $10,000 would be great, but at this point, I don’t really care. I feel like I’ve already won.”
Jones is scaling back her theatre commitments, as she’d often take on theatre clients across the country, and will just be making wigs for the Clarence Brown Theatre so she can spend more time getting her natural wig business ready.
“Working with hair loss, there’s a really big emotional toll on them and me,” she said. “I have to be emotionally available for them. If I just dive into that with nothing else, I wouldn’t be able to do that.”
Jones is working on making and sourcing her wig samples and hopes she can make a true difference for people with hair loss.
“It is so much of our identity. For a lot of people it’s so much about their culture as well,” she said. “It never fails that they come in having a bad day, and they leave with a wig feeling different. They leave with a mindset shift. They leave feeling more optimistic.”
You can see Jones’ work and follow her business on her website.