Monday, February 8, 2021

A Freelance Gig to Consider: Wig Maker

If you're hip to imagery and social media trends, or just find there's a shortage of decent shops in your area and are confident that you have (or can develop) the skills to make this work...go for it.  The reason why I mention social media is there are no boundaries as to who can wear a wig or whether it looks great...ask Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj.  At one time, these looks were dismissed as being silly or childish but since people have come to accept this as the norm, it shows in the profits.

One good thing is that you don't have to have a cosmetology license or own a lot of expensive equipment or supplies to get started.  Just having an idea of what will make your venture stand out or the idea client should inspire some new ideas.  You can also cater to a group that's truly underrepresented in your local beauty supply shop like cancer patients, those seeking realistic-looking hairpieces, or those with large or small head sizes.

The Startup Costs

Depending on the audience you plan on catering to, initial costs can be low if you choose to use synthetic hair.  This type of hair has many texture types that range from bone straight to extremely coarse (think of an afro or hair in a dreaded state).  However, depending on the brand and style you choose, this type of hair has a relatively short wear life but is good for practice if you just learning how to make a wig or hairpiece.

On average, you can look forward to spending somewhere between $1000-2000 for supplies, tools, shipping accessories, and display materials.  On the other hand, costs can be cut if you want to make a few hairpieces to test the waters.  These take less time to assemble and costs less per unit so this may be a way to build your wig-making skills.

Your Audience

Like I said, this may vary as you may know a lot of kids that like to play dress up, or know people on the other side of the age spectrum that are dealing with hair loss but want to look fashionable instead of phony.  You may also have insane styling talents that are comparable with products that cost $200+ for a single unit.  There are also those with fuller faces or have a hard time finding something that looks natural, as many online wigs tend to not look like the real thing.  If there's a crowd that appreciates cosplay, drag culture, or other costume-themed events that are ongoing, you can be their initial go-to for something that's not found in other stores.

Your Business

Besides online sales, there is another approach that can help with building a strong local following.  Using the Party Plan method can be fun and a solid way to keep in touch with those who are at least interested.  By collecting email addresses and social media information, you can send off monthly newsletters, show off the latest creations, and find out what exactly people are looking for.  

With a little experience, the latter can be a spawn of custom made wigs and hairpieces.  This is an area that most corner wig shops (in urban areas, at least) and online dealers can't help with.  For one, the pandemic has slowed things down in terms of returns of personal products.  The other reason is the majority of beauty supply stores that have opened in the past couple of decades only care about moving product and not customer retention.

Overall, what you should look at are all of the realistic possibilities as there's a lot of competition but few original ideas for selling and marketing.  Here's a long list of resources that can help you decide as to whether this may be worth your time and energy - A Touch of Business.

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