Sisters set up business to make tightly coiled wigs for cancer patients

BOSTON (WBZ) – When a Massachusetts cancer patient learned she would lose hair during treatment, she began searching for wigs that matched the texture of her real hair, opening up new business opportunities for her and her sister.

“Yeah, I remember back then it was just an idea … we’ve gotten to this point,” Diane Austin said.

In 2015, Austin was diagnosed with breast cancer and told that chemotherapy would cause her to lose her hair.

Her doctor prescribed a wig for her.

“So, I went to the hospital where I was treated in Boston. And they didn’t sell any tightly coiled wigs,” says Austin. “They only sell straight hair wigs.”

Austin and her sister, Pamela Shaddock, scoured the country but couldn’t find a wig that matched their tightly curled curls.

“We started asking around and talking to providers at the hospital,” Shaddock said. “They let us know and confirmed that like you know, women are asking for these wigs.”

So they took matters into their own hands and introduced Coils to the Locs.

From there, they found a manufacturer, and the wigs had to pass a wig fitter test.

“She picked up the wig and started examining it, turning it over, and she said, it’s really good quality,” Austin said. “I remember being relieved.”

Now there is an outlet for women of color looking for curly wig styles at cancer center hospitals and medical hair loss salons.

“Constantly reaching out to these women to let them know that these wigs are available,” Shaddock said.

The sisters’ wigs are currently on sale in 15 hospitals and medical salons across the country.

“Sometimes we were like pinching ourselves. We looked at each other and thought, we really did it. We built this business from the ground up,” says Austin.

Coils to Locs also has a website where women with hair loss for medical and non-medical reasons can order wings in a variety of hair textures.

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