SUFFOLK, Va. — Several feet of hair extensions, inches and inches of thread, and as many as five hours of gluing and stitching. That's what it takes for custom wig designer Tarnesia Jennings to make just one unit from scratch.
"The cramping in the fingers is definitely something that I deal with a lot," she said.
But for her, there are some clients who really make the process worth it — clients she discovered after a conversation she had with a friend who lost her hair to lupus. "She was like, 'You don't have any idea how many people are out there that have to order because they've had cancer or alopecia and they no longer have the hair, and they still wanna wear quality hair,'" Jennings says.
That's when Jennings decided she would give back every time a customer made a purchase through her business Tarnesia's WIGS FOR GIGS.
"You think [a] style is amazing, so I wanna make that same wig for someone that just wants to wear their hair again," Jennings says.
While a custom hair style may contribute to one's outward appearance, Jennings says it also impacts how a person feels on the inside.
"I wanna make sure that whether you're rocking your bald head and gorgeous or whether you wanna still have that long, pretty hair that you still feel amazing, no matter what," says Jennings.
Wig design and creation is expensive, meticulous, and time-consuming work. But Jennings says it's a labor of love.
"[A customer bought a wig from] me, let me [make that same wig] for somebody else," Jennings says. "I think that that is what will change even our society back. If we have that 'lift as you climb' kinda mentality, that's what I think matters to me."
Jennings says she plans to donate a number of wigs to the American Cancer Society each year.
Right now her customized units are only for adults, but she hopes to soon start designing wigs for girls dealing with hair loss as well. You can learn more about 'Tarnesia's WIGS 4 GIGS' through the business's Facebook page.