The competitively priced product (£25) marks the debut of The Renatural, an online, east-London start up founded by entrepreneur Aasiyah Abdulsalam, 25. Instead of having to wrestle with anxiety, glue and pins, Wig Fix wearers can just slip on a soft, thin, breathable band made of medical grade silicone that grips their hair piece and anchors it securely. The material, well known for treating burns and problem skin conditions, has a natural frictional adhesive ability “and seemed the perfect partner,” says Abdulsalam.
The band’s universal fit works for heads with and without bio hair while the silicone’s micro nodes stimulate blood flow inducing natural hair growth instead of damaging delicate roots.
Forecast to be a global market worth £5 billion by 2024, the wig industry is nonetheless highly traditional, unchanged for decades.
However, thanks to increased respect for diversity and social change, a customer revolution is now underway
“Black women have been the cultural innovators and today wigs are a form of expression in the community, flamboyant beauty not something to hide under. This has been picked up celebrities too,” says Abdulsalam.
Wigs give immeasurable confidence to millions of women – eight million suffer hair loss in the UK alone – and can now do the same for many more people, she explains.
“Wearers include women suffering from hair loss – perhaps because of cancer treatment, stress, thyroid problems or pregnancy, to observant Jewish women.
“Trans women and non-binary people feel liberated by the versatility of the looks wigs offer to black women who make up 60 per cent of the market, embracing the flexibility and protective nature they provide.”
As a wig wearer herself Abdulsalam was aware of the pain points long suffering wig wearers encounter.
A university dissertation about the industry and a sustainable clothing business she ran while studying served as her commercial bootcamp.
Then hot, uncomfortable times beside a hotel pool in the US pushed her into becoming a disrupter.
“There had to be a better option,” she says. “I was surprised at the industry’s lack innovation, it was if the customers weren’t worth it.
“I sketched out my idea, researched my materials and worked with a silicone supplier in Indonesia.”
With four prototypes and three focus groups along the way, getting to market took eight months and less than £20,000 with a mentor pitching in to help fund stock.
This year turnover is forecast for £1.2 million for the patent-pending Wig Fix and The Renatural now employs three.
This month the brand expands its direct-to-consumer sales and launches on Amazon.
Then it’s the guys turn as Abdulsalam develops a new product for balding males.
“We want to make them more comfortable and their wigs more natural looking,” she says. “The days of being treated as the Ugly Sisters are over.”