There is no shortage of wig businesses in our country - you'll find lush tresses inside every mall, at every standalone hair salon, have your own custom made for you, not to mention that almost every other Instagram account is a hair business side hustle.
You would even think that by now that the market would be saturated, but that's far from the truth.
If anything, demand is ever-increasing as more people are taking the natural hair route and wearing wigs as a protective hairstyle. But also because it simply allows for hairstyle versatility - bob today, curls on Friday.
In 2017, Refilwe Moloto, founder and principal advisor at Ambassador Advisory explained to Cape Talk's John Maytham just how lucrative the black hair industry is.
"Hair has proven itself to be the last non-digestible non-discretionary good," she explained adding the fact that "it is showing itself in the most far-flung locations of DRC, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Ethiopia."
Refilwe also highlighted how the dry market (braids, wigs, weaves) even has a greater mass appeal now than it did in the past.
This is of course why the skill of wig-making for the purposes of selling them has been taken up by many, especially when sew-in weaves are no longer on trend, let alone conducive to hair growth as we previously thought they were.
And while we always thought investing in two or three wigs is the way to go, Hair Me Out co-founders Zandile baloyi and Delicia Kasenge figured it's even better to rent out wigs. This is an unlikely service offered exclusively in Joburg, we actually never knew we needed until we spoke to Zandile and Delicia.
The initial reception on social media was that of skepticism based on hygiene, but chatting to these business savvy ladies fast straightened out those raised brows.
They admit that renting a wig is a "weird concept to wrap your head around," (excuse the pun). Delicia adds that this is especially so because of Africa's social climate based on upbringing and culture.
"But when you think about it, it’s really like renting items out from a costume shop," she adds. "You require these items for a certain event, the costume shop rents them out to you and expects you to return them in the same condition. It’s up to the costume shop to maintain cleanliness and high levels of hygiene. And with us, it’s no different — probably even more so pedantic because quality must be maintained."
Hair Me Out further emphasises how it is their job to educate and assure people on their service offering.
So you can now relax (maybe not your hair).
When asked if this business was birthed by demand or a gap spotted in the market, Zandile and Delicia share how they found that for "magazine shoots and trendy events/shows, people would request to borrow [their] wigs [which they were only selling previously] for a night or two because it worked with a certain look they were going for, for that specific occasion."
"And then, upon further research, we discovered that it could be used as a mechanism for those who would otherwise like wigs for a short term period of time and not necessarily long term," they explain.
This makes sense at a time when so many of us are visible on social media platforms, where we're constantly cultivating a new aesthetic for ourselves, but don't necessarily want to incur unnecessary costs doing so.
With Hair Me Out, you can essentially execute that Rihanna look you might've had in mind for an upcoming soirée, but you just don't see yourself donning on any other day. And you can do that for just R180 - that's how much a half-day rental will cost you.
This is probably also going to come in handy over the upcoming graduation season or even for bridesmaids who've been prescribed the same hairstyle for a wedding perhaps.
Furthermore, you can even rent out a wig/s on a long-term basis (168 - 336 hours) for R100 a day. Holiday hair selection, anyone?
But wait, with wigs now standing as the most sought-after beauty essential - some are even literally snatched off people's heads - how can you trust that clients will not disappear on you after paying a bargain price of R180 for real human hair that would otherwise cost you R3K if you bought it?
Zandile explains that they have a deposit system in place, much like costume rentals.
"We have a deposit system out in place. That way the potential client is forced to bring back the hair," she explains with the terms and conditions that state that "if someone decides to steal or damage it they will forfeit their deposit as the deposit is worked out based on the value of the hair."
The hair industry is constantly reinventing itself and innovating. Twenty years ago, who would have thought that you could wear box braid wigs? So it shouldn't be a surprise that we can now rent wigs out too.
What's next? Self-undoing braids? Oh, we can only dream.
You can find Hair Me Out on Instagram for further inquiries.
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