Heather - CCHD Creator, Owner of CysterWigs.com
Biscotti Babe by BelleTress in Honey w/Chai Latte (on the left) and Scarlett by Envy in Chocolate Cherry (on the right)
Hi there, Wig Lover! My name is Heather and I am the owner, creator, et cetera here at CysterWigs.com!
My hair loss story, in a nutshell: I started losing my hair when I was about 16 or 17 years old due to a combination of hormones (thanks, PCOS) and extreme anxiety. I had no one to talk to about my hair situation and was completely freaked out. I went through everything very early on: bleaching my biohair to make it fluffier, filling in my bare scalp areas with makeup, using powders and other products that would run down my face when it rained. It was pretty terrible. When I finally reached the point when I could not conceal my hair loss any more, I began searching for other options. I realized very quickly that I could not afford to shop at a brick and mortar wig boutique. I was in school full time, working full time, but had no insurance. I definitely didn't have money to spend on hair. Instead, I dove right into researching alternative hair products and developed a real passion for them! My experimentation with alternative hair started when I was about 27 years old and it has only intensified with time!
About me: To make a long story short, I put myself through college. It took several attempts because I had to work full-time the entire time in order to pay for rent, books, food, and all that jazz. (I had no support for living expenses or school from my family after I turned 18.) With my anxiety, that was no small feat. I eventually graduated with a BA in Sociology, was inducted into multiple honor societies, and got a good paying job as an IT help desk analyst at a division of McCann Worldgroup less than two weeks after graduation. This was in the middle of the Great Recession, too! (I credit that to gumption...and sending no fewer than 20 résumés a day from six months prior to graduation until I landed that job!) I was promoted to help desk manager within 18 months. I organized several company-wide software roll-outs and built an entire IT help desk fom scratch. (Wouldn't be the last time!) I completed a graduate certificate in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management with a 4.0 while I worked this gig. This is also about the time I started CysterWigs! (I always like to have multiple pans on my stove at any given time, if you know what I mean.) Shortly after starting my company, I was actively courted by the University of Georgia to be a part of their Artificial Intelligence program and was a participant in their Visiting Future Scholars program. My specialization in the AI field at UGA was sentiment analysis and affective computing. I enrolled at UGA and supervised the student radio station there as my graduate assistantship.
The funny thing is, CysterWigs kind of took on a mind of its own.
I had to make a choice: should I stay in grad school, or do the business thing?
The best piece of advice I received was from a trans female professor from the business school who was one of my AI program advisors -- and, also, one of my first customers. She told me, "Most of my students are going to school to either become managers or to do what you're already doing. If you enjoy it and you're good at it, you should stick with it."
I finished that semester and never went back. It was definitely a gamble, because CysterWigs was still a really small business with a very small online following. I was hardly making any money. That didn't matter, though. I'd found "my calling", cheesy as that statement may seem.
The good news is that my little store has grown by leaps and bounds! (Again, I credit that to gumption...and the learned ability to channel my extreme anxiety in positive, productive ways.)
I love my company. I am in awe of my staff. I am continually impressed by the kindness of internet strangers. I am inspired by their joy and genuine relief when they find our site, knowledge base, and online community.
I strive every day to make this site a better place to learn about and buy alternative hair. My hope is that these efforts are self-evident to anyone who has been with us since the get-go!
Before I end this super long bio, I'd like to let you know that from the beginning, we have never made our customer service about selling stuff. We don't pay our CCHD reps sales commission and we actually de-emphasize sales in the training to help put the focus on pure customer service in the customer's best interest. Because of this, please don't be surprised or offended if one of our CCHD reps tries to talk you into a less expensive wig or topper if we think it is a better fit for your needs than what you're asking us about. Our mission is to help you find the best wig to fit your needs -- the first time you order. This may not always be possible, but as far as I am concerned, this is the only goal that fits our needs and yours in equal measure.
Favorite wigs: My biohair is naturally curly, so I like waves and curls a lot! Kendall by Henry Margu, Brittaney by Envy, Amal by Rene of Paris, Scarlett by Jon Renau, Cameron by Jon Renau, Heidi by Jon Renau. There are soooo many more! You can find my full list here.
Favorite cap construction type: It might sound weird since I can have any kind of wig I want, but in my everyday life, I prefer open capped synthetic wigs with lace fronts and a fair amount of permatease. They look nice on me and tend to be very comfortable!
Favorite wig colors: Jon Renau's FS27, 6F27, 30A27S4, and FS4/33/30A; Envy's Creamed Coffee; Henry Margu's 131GR and 6H; ROP's Crimson-LR and Ginger Brown; Raquel Welch's Shaded Champagne; Gabor's Dark Copper and Black Coffee. There are more. These are the ones I tend to order the most repetitively, though!
How long have you been wearing wigs: Since 2010. I wore toppers (mainly a Milan by Noriko, which I now know is very heavy if you have weak biohair) for about two years prior to that.
Advice I wish I knew when I was new to wigs: Be nicer to yourself about your hair loss.
Favorite quote: "In adversity those talents are called forth which are concealed by prosperity." - Horace