Programmes Undergraduate Programmes Student and alumni stories

Hair for the hopeless, hope for the hairless

Zoe Wong, alumni stories
BBA Electronic Commerce’13, the owner of Kami Hair
Zoe Wong

My ‘choice’ of business is still a surprise to me. I had no idea that I was going to work with hair. The story can be traced back to secondary school. At that time I was a volleyball lover. For the convenience of playing sports, I went to cut my hair short. However the result was disastrous! I desperately searched for products to boost my hair growth. The only thing I wanted was to get back to my previous hair length. So I tried all possible means - including hair glue extension, bead extension, and wigs, but none of them worked for me. In the end, I started to sell my tailor-made hair extensions online. Then, a fellow student at CityU who suffered Leukemia and had experienced hair loss encouraged me to continue, and to help those who suffered from serious hair loss. The rest is history.

My business has been going for almost ten years now - and I have accumulated over 13,000 clients. This is a real niche market as there are only around five or six companies offering medical tailor-made wigs in Hong Kong. We are using human hair for the hair replacement and all the custom-made wigs are designed and manufactured in Korea. From consulting, measurement, custom design to delivery, it normally takes a few weeks to complete a purchase order.

There are a variety of reasons for clients using wigs, but the most serious tend to be hereditary or medical. Loss of hair can be mentally crushing and embarrassing. In the past, people didn’t truly accept the use of wigs, as they were seen as being not authentic. But when they became a great hit in Korea and Japan, and the technology advanced, many client‘s attitudes started to change.

My daily schedule is quite packed and fully occupied by my clients. I can't stay away from my cell phone! A long list of enquiries and appointment in WhatsApp are waiting. Still, at this stage, I would prefer not to expand the business even though I am overloaded with orders. Expanding sounds too commercial, and I want to keep my autonomy in operating my own shop.

Why do I keep going? The answer is simple -- I hope to offer a helping hand to the largest number of people. When I talk with my clients, it almost seems like doing counseling. In fact, I am quite emotional, and my feelings are easily aroused.  When I hear their stories, I can feel their pain and anxiety. I want to pass my positivity to them along with my ability. You know what, I am glad that my wig is therapeutic in healing their soul. For those patients in need, I feel blessed to witness their dramatic changes. For those who are suffering middle age crisis, I can see them smiling again. For those who are experiencing a hard time with medical treatment, I can see them gaining confidence and hope.

My company also collects unwanted hair in good condition from the public for charitable donation, and the responses are great. All these touching moments empower me to go further without hesitation. Although I work like a one person band (with the support of my mother in shop operation), and sometimes I do feel exhausted with endless work, I never want to give up.

In fact, starting your own business takes a lot, but it is worth having a try. I would suggest starting with something you are really passionate about, and don't take profit making as the first priority. As long as you enjoy your work, you will be able to master it well.

(Aug 2016)