VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) interacts with businesses in all industries whose products or services support VA’s and Veterans’ needs. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re shining a spotlight on a Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) that supports breast cancer fighters and survivors: Le’Host Hair & Wigs.
After a close friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, owner Haith Johnson realized there was an underserved market for women struggling with severe illnesses who faced plummeting self confidence when they lost their hair. Among women, hair loss before their chemotherapy began was patients’ primary fear, according to a 2001 study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.
“When you look better, you feel better,” Johnson said. “Which is why I developed the motto: ‘Fight pretty with a wig.’” Sadly, her friend lost her battle to breast cancer, but Johnson’s journey inspired her to help other women going through cancer treatment.
What started out as selling bundles of hair online from a basement in 2002 has now blossomed into a community of #BeautyCuties throughout #WigNation.
“We reached out to the American Cancer Society, and they designated our business as a wig bank. We were [able] to distribute these wigs free of charge, but we also took care of these women − they got a free wig and free services.”
Le’Host Hair & Wigs also partnered with VA medical centers to provide wigs to those in need, free of charge. Even with many American Cancer Society wig banks closing down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Le’Host Hair & Wigs has remained committed to their promise to continue providing free, custom cranial prosthesis wigs.
Wigs for Vets
Johnson understands that choosing a wig is a very personal process. Le’Host Hair & Wigs’ “Wigs for Vets” program allows the company to provide products and services to all Veterans experiencing hair loss, and it specializes in custom-fitted hair prosthesis units for medical hair loss conditions, such as cancer, alopecia, burns, diabetes, lupus, thyroid conditions, and PTSD-related stress.
When asked about her experience working with Veterans, Johnson said it’s been amazing. “We understand their needs, the dimensions, so it fits perfectly and naturally… which gives them confidence.”
Le’Host Hair & Wigs was recently recognized as the 2020 Great Lakes Women’s Business Council’s (GLWBC) Women’s Business Enterprise of the Year. GLWBC represents more than 1,400 woman business enterprises in Michigan.
Johnsons provides ongoing support and contact with her business’s clients. They hope this restores a sense of normalcy to those undergoing medical treatments, such as scalp injections, radiation and chemotherapy.
Readers can learn more about Le’Host Hair & Wigs at www.lehosthair.com.
Victoria Sedlak is a technical writer for VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) communications team.