Photo Provided by Stephanie Caillabet
Local wig maker gives women new confidence with handmade wigs
Brushing away the few fly away pieces of sandy blonde hair from a crying woman’s face and making some last minute perfections, Stephanie Caillabet has just given a woman suffering from Alopecia a new profound confidence.
Wigmaker Stephanie Caillabet owns a business called “Art of Wigs”. In a small chic studio in her backyard, she works and makes wigs for women suffering from hormonal hair loss, chemotherapy treatment, forms of the disease Alopecia and so much more.
“It’s a very emotional job to have,” Caillabet said. “There are good days and bad days. Most of the time it is a very powerful and beautiful thing to be part of someone’s journey. Especially when they get hit with such a struggle.”
Before Caillabet started her business, she studied in London to become a special effects makeup artist and had to make small things like mustaches and beards. She soon realized she was good at it and one thing led to another. She was getting jobs making full blown wigs.
“A typical day at my job is working in my studio,” Caillabet said. “I try to either have a client day or a wig making day. I only see two clients a day typically so we have lots of time to talk and design. On wig making days, it’s just me and my music.”
Caillabet spends an immense amount of time and detail on every single wig. Each wig created is specifically for each individual person based on natural hair color, texture and style. Every choice is made by the client and aided by the professional.
“Wigs are made entirely by hand. First a fitting and measurements are taken, then I make the foundation or base of the wig from different types of fabrics and lace. Then each hair is individually tied into the foundation until the whole base is covered and the wig looks natural and beautiful,” Caillabet said. “When it’s finished we decide if we need more color and highlights and then a haircut and style on the client.”
All of the wigs created are made of real hair, typically obtained by anonymous donors or someone close to the client willing to donate.
“Everyone that walks in my door has an amazing story to tell,” Caillabet said. “Typically, my favorite stories are the ones when a relative donates their hair to a family member and so it really becomes a wig made from love and strength.”
There are very specific requirements for hair to even consider being made into wigs. Hair donations need to be at least 12 inches, cannot be dyed two base shades above your natural hair, permed or straightened by chemicals, has an unnatural color, has been professionally dyed, or dyed from store-bought colors or henna.
“When my clients wear my wigs, they get to look in the mirror and see themselves looking healthy and beautiful,” Caillabet said. “This helps while they are going through chemotherapy to keep them strong and fighting.”
She cuts a donor’s hair in her studio behind her house. She gets a wide variety of hair types and styles. On Caillabet website, she has testimonials from her clients that sometimes tell a small story and give Caillabet a review.
“I love my job, the pace of my clients, and the amount of work I have,” Caillabet said. “I will be training interns in the future so I can have more hands making wigs. I can help more women and children feel healthy and happy in their custom wigs and be part of more amazing stories.”
Written By Kyndal Miethke