With around 21 million women experiencing hair loss in its various forms across the country, the newly opened Mara Ray Wig Boutique in Florence, South Carolina performs an important role in the management of hair loss: looking beautiful so you can feel happy.
Mara Ray Caldwell, owner of Mara Ray Wig Boutique, certainly understands what that means. Having previously suffered from alopecia areata, which causes patches of hair loss, an allergic reaction caused all of her remaining her to fall out, including her eyebrows and eyelashes (which is known as alopecia universalis) — this is very rare, as most people who experience hair loss do so over a period of around 20 years. After experiencing nearly three years of crippling depression over her hair loss and the frustration of finding a wig that fits comfortably and naturally, Mara started a foundation to help women and children dealing with the same insecurities.
“It started with the foundation called the Harmony of Hope Foundation. That foundation donates wigs to children up to the age of 24. We’re the only nonprofit in the United States that does that. It also provides them free wigs and free care every year,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell and her husband then moved into the online market, selling wigs through her business Belle of Hope for four years before they decided to open a brick-and-mortar store.
What Caldwell noticed most about wig shopping was the lack of understanding on behalf of the sales associates, relating her experience to “going into Victoria’s Secret and trying on a bra in the middle of the room…they ultimately have you take your hair off, and you [feel] naked.” Her boutique offers two fitting rooms to make up for this, and caters to multiple ethnicities. She never rushes her clients, making sure they feel comfortable and meeting whatever their personal needs may be. Caldwell also understands the kind of investment wigs are, and provides wig care and maintenance to her customers.
It can be hard to manage hair loss, both physically and emotionally. With a variety of solutions, from home remedies involving weird fruits and nuts to medical intervention, it can be difficult to sift through so much information. The important thing to focus on is yourself — be like Mara Ray Caldwell, and seek out whatever makes you happiest in your own skin.