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The Natural Wig
Brushing up on business skills
Madeleine Vezis is changing lives with her business. The Natural Wig gives people who have lost their hair an enormous morale boost, including those with serious illnesses such as cancer.
After training as a hairdresser at the Edward Beale Hairdressing School, Madeleine started working with wigs in 1999. She specialised in helping alopecia sufferers and women having chemotherapy.
Many clients wanted wigs that felt more natural than those available, so Madeleine founded The Natural Wig in 2013.
It produces premium quality wigs and hairpieces that use real human hair. The customised version is moulded to fit the client’s head shape. They can have the wigs cut, styled and later maintained.
Madeleine is passionate about helping people suffering from hair loss and loves the freedom and flexibility that creating the wigs provides.
“I enjoy helping people, solving their hair loss problems and doing hair,” she says. “I am also a stay-at-home mother and working from home suits our needs as I can book clients around my son’s needs.”
Madeleine heard about SBMS when alerted by a client to a local council Women in Business information session.
Until then, she didn’t think she needed mentoring. But the session revealed she would benefit from the program and a mentor to ensure she was charging enough and marketing her product well.
“I’m good at hairdressing, but I recognised that I wasn’t so good at the ‘business’ element,” she says.
Madeleine was matched with SBMS mentor Barbara Cox, a management consultant with varied experience and a focus on strategic and business planning, leadership and management development, human resources, facilitation, coaching and training.
SBMS is a non-government, non-profit organisation of volunteer expert mentors who give their time and experience to help small business. It is supported by Small Business Victoria, which refers clients to it.
Madeleine had six sessions with Barbara as part of the Women in Business course, and then another three. Mentoring is continuing. Among other things they covered:
- Madeleine’s personal and business goals and how to link them
- how to approach target clients and where to place brochures
- business development
- how to pitch the product
- how to analyse revenue, expenses and profit by individual services offered and overall.
Since seeing Barbara, profits have increased by 50 per cent and customers by 20 per cent.
Barbara says Madeleine is more knowledgeable about the business aspects of her enterprise and has added managerial skills to her already solid technical and entrepreneurial skill set.
The Natural Wig Founder: Madeleine Vezis
“Madeleine has an improved understanding of the cost and profit of each service item and how to charge each service at an appropriate rate,” Barbara says.
“She is far more comfortable with accounting software and knows that the financial analysis helps her to better understand her business.”
Barbara says Madeleine is more confident in her overall business acumen and in offering her services to new client groups.
“She is finding that approaching businesses to offer her services is not such a scary activity,” Barbara says. “She is energised by having the ability to bounce ideas off someone.”
Madeleine says having regular meetings helped keep her accountable. She now has more confidence in her pricing and advertising, which has drawn a positive response.
Mentoring helped her to discuss her shortcomings and ways to improve them. As the business grew, she had the money and confidence to create a space that helped her to feel more professional and organised.
“I am more confident in my skills and have more self-worth knowing that I am good at what I do,” she says. “I truly appreciate that what I offer is different and a complete solution for clients losing hair.”
Madeleine attributes the improved profit to a better understanding of how much her time is worth. “I have also been able to contribute more than ever to our home loan which is helping us afford an extension,” she says.
Not only is Madeleine building a solid business, she is making a difference for clients like Susan, who came to her while starting her third round of chemotherapy.
Susan supplied a photo of what she had looked like and Madeleine matched the colour and style.
“Having a natural hair wig made and custom styled for me was a great boost to my morale,” Susan says. “Having been a breast cancer patient for almost 11 years, six years of chemo and three bouts of hair loss, it is very reassuring that I have such a lovely natural wig to wear whenever I need it.”
Madeleine loves what she does. “I genuinely care about each of my clients and want to ensure that they get the best outcome possible,” she says.
“I don’t just sell a wig and send them on their way. I offer a complete solution with colouring, styling, fitting, ongoing maintenance and regular hairdressing for any hair they still have.”
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