The wigmaker giving women their confidence back
THE LETTERS of thanks reveal Chris Chapman is no ordinary hairdresser. In fact, the Norfolk man who has cut hair for his country now spends more time adding hair than taking it away.
He began fitting wigs a quarter of a century ago and his salon is now exclusively devoted to helping people overcome hairloss. Many have cancer or alopecia, others are distressed by male pattern baldness.
“I realised that there was a need in Norfolk and there was no-one doing it at the time. People see their hair as a necessity,” said Chris. “I like the fact that I am helping people. I receive some lovely letters. One recently reduced me to tears. The mother
of a woman with cancer, wrote telling me how much I had helped her daughter’s confidence, how I should have a medal!”
Chris already has many medals, including a sixth place in a world hairpiece championship. As a hairdresser he took part in competitions around the world. “I finished up representing Great Britain. I came fourth in the world in Dusseldorf, and fifth at a European championship in Paris,” he said.
For many years he worked from a salon on Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, but is now based in Brooke, south of the city, and lives in nearby Seething.
The reason I came out here was because I felt sorry for the people who had to come in to a high street salon. It gives them more confidence to come out here where it’s completely private.”
His wigs are hand-made in Germany with several different colours in each hairpiece to make them look as natural as possible. They are elasticated, with the hair fibres attached to netting so that the scalp can breathe. “Treated with care a wig can last a year,” he said.
And while people might worry beforehand about wigs blowing off or slipping – that is confined to realms of television sitcoms. His wigs cost around £340-£400 but Chris said: “My main reward is that when they arrive people might be distressed but nine times out of 10 they go out with a smile on their face!”