Back in January 2019, Lyndsey Brack (owner of Diamond Hair Solutions), set up Diamond Wig Bank North East. As well as providing pre-loved wigs at a fraction of the retail price, the Wig Bank also raises much needed funds for Alopecia UK. With Diamond Wig Bank North East coming up to its 2nd birthday, we caught up with Lyndsey so she could tell us more about her service…

What inspired you to start a Wig Bank?

I have had alopecia since the birth of my son (he is now 13). I quickly realised that wigs can be incredibly expensive and this can lead to stress, the last thing someone needs when losing their hair! My own experience involved me maxing out my credit cards on wigs in the early days when I didn’t know the best places to turn to for wigs. I set up my Wig Bank after selling some wigs from my own collection that I wasn’t wearing any more. I realised that second-hand wigs can be given a second lease of life with a bit of TLC!

What do you do with the wigs that are donated to you?

Firstly I determine their condition. I am often sent wigs which are brand new but have failed a quality check but are still totally wearable! I receive older wigs which I wash, steam and can bring up like new. Some wigs that I’m sent cannot be salvaged but these don’t always end up in the bin. I have recently donated a batch of lesser quality wigs to a local school for their drama classes. I am happy to receive any wigs and make a call on whether I can bring them back to life or not.

Can you tell us a bit more about the business model of your Wig Bank? How does it work and how does it benefit Alopecia UK?

Any wigs that I sell via the Wig Bank, I split the proceeds with 60% of the sale price to Alopecia UK and 40% of the sale price covering my costs and some of my time. In the past, people have questioned why I do not donate 100% to AUK or give the wigs away for free but for the Wig Bank to be a success and operate long-term, I need to ensure my costs are covered. There are a number of costs incurred, including the products I use on the wigs, the time I spend revamping them and postage costs. I am determined to raise as much as possible for Alopecia UK and this model has meant that my Wig Bank has continued for two years!

How much does a wig cost from your Wig Bank?

The prices I set for wigs vary according to wig type and wig quality. I try to ensure many of the wigs are as affordable as possible. Some of the wigs start at just £10. The majority of them sell for between £20 and £30. Occasionally, if receive an absolute gem of a wig, I may offer it up to bids on the Diamond Wig Bank North East’s Facebook page, in order to boost the funds raised for Alopecia UK. I often give 100% of the donation to AUK on these extra special ones as another way to give extra back.

To date, you have raised over £4,000 for Alopecia UK; what motivates you to continue the wig bank?

I think more than anything, the positive feedback I receive from Wig Bank customers motivates me more than anything else. I have been sent photos from a bride on her wedding day and it’s incredible to know I’ve contributed to someone looking beautiful and confident on their big day! I have heard from ladies who have told me that from buying wigs from the Wig Bank, they’ve been able to try brands that they ordinarily would not be able to afford. And of course, it’s incredible to think my Wig Bank has raised over £4,000 for Alopecia UK. I know from talking to the team that this is a significant amount for the size of the charity so it’s brilliant to know I’m doing my bit to support a charity that has helped me, and many others like me.

You are clearly passionate about helping others with alopecia as not only do you run the Wig Bank along side your business selling new wigs, you also run a support group in Newcastle too. How has being in touch with others with alopecia helped you in your own journey with alopecia?

Running my support group helps me massively. I have met some fantastic people with alopecia and I would say to people never underestimate the power of being in touch with people who have been through the same thing as you. Even during lockdown, my group has kept in contact using social media. I have found that nothing has helped me more with me feeling more positive and confident about my own alopecia than meeting others in the same situation, even months and months of counselling.

If any of our fantastic supporters have pre-loved wigs that they no longer wear and would like to donate them, how can they get them to you?

If anyone has any wigs kicking around their house that they are no longer wearing, please consider sending them my way. If in doubt as to whether I'd be able revamp them, please send them anyway as I can determine whether I can give it another life or not. Any wigs should be sent to:

Diamond Wig Bank

10 Simpson Court

Ashington

Northumberland

NE63 9SD

Thank you to Lyndsey for all her efforts with the Diamond Wig Bank. Not only has it raised an incredible amount for Alopecia UK in the last two years, but it's also extended the life of many wigs that would otherwise have been left unused.