Dr. Erica Gamble had a passion for wigs at an early age. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and always witnessing her Grandmother Bessie, Aunt Bea, and mother Rosa snatched up in fashion and powerful wigs, which she called “hair hats”, lead to the Wig Dr.’s Inception. Having an earned a Doctorate Degree in Organizational Behavior and Leadership, coupled with over 20 years of Leadership and Higher Education success, brought Dr. Gamble to her passion.
She is currently studying Trichology (science of function and disease of the human hair) and adding it into her current practice. Dr. Gamble will soon hold a Dr. of Health Sciences (D.H.Sc.) with a concentration in Trichology.
The Wig Dr. specializes in quality wigs and hairpieces for men, women and children. They provide solutions for hair loss due to Chemotherapy and Alopecia. They carry a variety of wigs, as well as doing special orders. If there is a particular wig that you have in mind their wig specialist will work with and for you to create the vision.
They also provide wig wash and repair services, in addition to free shipping on domestic orders. Visit them at 4880 Lower Roswell Road Suite 50 Marietta Georgia 30068.
“Hair is an accessory and I believe it is important for people to look and feel their best each day. This all starts with prayer and “good hair”– Dr. Erica Gamble
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s time for GWBC Radio’s Open for Business. Now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:19] Lee Kantor here. Another episode of GWBC Open for Business. And this is going to be a good one. Today, we have with us Dr. Erica Gamble, The Wig Dr. Welcome.
Erica Gamble: [00:00:29] Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:31] Well, before we get too far into things, tell us about The Wig Dr. How are you serving folks?
Erica Gamble: [00:00:36] So, The Wig Dr. is a wig boutique and a hair loss center located in Marietta, Georgia. And, basically, our goal and our mission is to help people to look good and to feel better, especially those who are going through any type of hair loss, whether it’s a chemotherapy – I’m sorry – a cancer diagnosis, they’re going through chemotherapy, aging, medication, alopecia, or any other autoimmune diseases that may cause hair loss.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:07] So, your business is geared to people going through that kind of a traumatic experience rather than, maybe, just people who want to have a variety of wigs just for fashion?
Erica Gamble: [00:01:20] So, it’s twofold. I do service people as well who are looking for, perhaps, a new look or some people have just been wearing a wig for years. There’s also people who, obviously, use wigs for costume and dramatics. So, yes, I do service those people as well. However, I will say, probably about 85 to 90 percent of my clients are medical needs in terms of the wigs.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:50] Now, how did you get into this line of work?
Erica Gamble: [00:01:53] Honestly, I moved from Cleveland, Ohio in 2006 to Atlanta, Georgia. And at that time, I was wearing wigs, but I also didn’t have a hair stylist. And so, it was very hard for me to find someone that I was happy with, that I wanted to become my hairstylist. And so, I thought, “You know what? I will just continue to wear wigs until I find somebody.” And so, I essentially had an overflow of wigs in my home. And so, I would get a lot of compliments. People would ask, “Hey, where’d you get your wig? Your hair looks nice. I love the color.” And I would explain to them that it was a wig. And so, I came up with an idea. I said, “You know what? Maybe I’ll open up a small boutique to service people. People are interested.” So, honestly, I just jumped right in and that’s how I got started.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:50] So, you started out just because you had collected wigs over the years and you felt like maybe there’s other people out there that might want some of these wigs as well?
Erica Gamble: [00:03:03] Absolutely. Absolutely. And then, necessarily didn’t know where to go or, you know, maybe they didn’t have the knowledge or insight on, “Hey, where do I go buy that? How do I pick the color? What’s right for me?” So, I figured, “Hey, here’s a teachable moment and I turned it into a business.”
Lee Kantor: [00:03:21] Now, how did you kind of learn about the business side of it? I mean, buying wigs for yourself as a kind of a retail customer. But if you’re selling it to other people, now, you either have to manufacture your own wigs or partner with other people to do that. And how did you kind of learn the business side and the industry side of things?
Erica Gamble: [00:03:41] So, what I did was actually there was another wig boutique in my area and I decided one day to take a ride there. This wig boutique have been in business since 1969. So, there was a lady there, the owner of the boutique. And honestly, I went in there looking to see what does she sell, how does this work. I talked to her about it. I wasn’t sure how candid she would be with me about giving me the information. But what she did was, she shared some of the vendors that she uses to actually make and manufacture her wigs and sale.
Erica Gamble: [00:04:22] And so, I started making phone calls to these manufacturers to develop relationships. It did take some time because, obviously, the manufacturers and the vendors wanted to make sure that, (A) I was a legitimate person, but (B) they don’t necessarily let everybody in. And so, I had to sort of introduce myself, let them know what my goals were, and what it is that I was looking for. So, I would say, it took about a year to a-year-and-a-half to build those relationships. But, now, we’re six years in. So, it worked out pretty good.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:58] So, are people who sell and buy weaves, are those people customers or potential customers or is that a different type of client altogether?
Erica Gamble: [00:05:12] That is a different type of client altogether. Because I don’t sell hair weave or extension. So, hair weaving, really, you have to have a hair stylist to kind of take care of that aspect of it. So, that’s not something that I specialize in. I did and I do have access to hair extensions. However, keep in mind, many of the clients that come to me are either completely bald or will be bald, so hair extensions and hair weaves are not options for them.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:50] But do you have any kind of partnerships with people in that business because their customers might eventually become your customers?
Erica Gamble: [00:05:59] Yes. I do. I do have relationships with some of the extension vendors and manufacturers, so I do have access, I do have a relationship. So, if a need existed or if someone came to me and that’s something that they were interested in, I still would be able to service them. Absolutely.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:17] Now, are you seeing people losing their hair as a growing problem? Is there more of that happening nowadays?
Erica Gamble: [00:06:25] Yes. There has been a tremendous amount of hair loss, I would say, since the beginning of 2020, which, obviously, the pandemic happened. And a lot of that created shock, tension, obviously, with people losing jobs, people staying home with their children, people not knowing, you know, maybe perhaps what direction their lives would go in. And so, that’s called shock hair loss. And there have been studies and research that shows that shock hair loss has been linked to the coronavirus pandemic, also known as just mere stress. So, yes, absolutely.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:11] So, now, what is it like for your clients? Is this something – if they’ve never had a wig before, this is something they’re nervous about, like what is kind of their emotional state when they first meet you? Are they eager or is this something that they’re kind of, like, begrudgingly doing?
Erica Gamble: [00:07:31] I would say a combination of both. Obviously, when you’ve been diagnosed with some sort of cancer and the doctor tells you that you’re going to lose your hair, you know, that becomes a thing. You know, you’ve never been without your hair. Most of the clients that I see that are diagnosed have never, in their life, put a wig on their head, so it’s foreign. They are very concerned. It is very emotional. Most oftentimes after they make their appointment and they come into my boutique, lots of tears, lots of just emotional factor, and a lot of not understanding. So, it is definitely not a happy time to change a look for a lot of the people that I serve because it is, you know, attached to something else.
Erica Gamble: [00:08:26] Many of them are open to it because by the time they come to me, they’ve been diagnosed and typically they start losing hair three to four weeks. So, that may have been a little bit of time for them to actually process, you know, that this is actually going to happen. So, by the time they get to me, they’re already of the understanding that this is inevitable, “I am going to lose my hair and so here we are. But a lot of times, they don’t necessarily buy right away. They want to bring family members. And sometimes they put the process off until they actually see the first, you know, maybe few clumps of hair in their sink. So, it’s not a very easy process for many.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:07] Now, are your wigs for men and women?
Erica Gamble: [00:09:11] Yes. I do service men, women, and children. Because, obviously, men and children go through the same types of things that women do so it’s not gender specific at all. Right now, I’m at about 10 percent male. And males are a lot different to service because, oftentimes, if a man is told he’s going to lose his hair, men deal with that differently than, obviously, women. So, I do have some men who do want to wear a wig because they are professionals, they’re continuing to work, they don’t want to show up without hair. And so, there’s different circumstances.
Erica Gamble: [00:09:55] I also service older clientele of men – they used to call them toupee back in the day – they were used to wearing hair pieces. And those things have evolved so much that now they come because they want to look better and they want a better quality of hair and a hairpiece.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:14] Now, walk me through what happens, like, say I come in and I want a wig. What does the process look like? Is this something that takes a lot of time? And once I decide, does it take a long time to get it. Like, is it custom fit to my head? And how does it adhere to my head?
Erica Gamble: [00:10:31] So, you make your appointment. Typically, when I make appointments, I make the appointment for about an hour to an-hour-and-a-half, especially if this is a first time wig wearer. So, those are questions that I like to ask before you come in. So, I’ll kind of gauge how much time we may need to spend. I have a showroom. And so, in my showroom, I have lots of wigs, lots of different wig styles, lots of colors, different manufacturers, and also colors.
Erica Gamble: [00:11:04] So, the process really starts with a person coming in, they sit down and we talk. You know, most oftentimes I already know why you’re coming. But just to break the ice, tell me a little bit about you, your lifestyle. Are you going to be wearing this wig or hairpiece every day? Are you working? Are you just wearing it to a doctor’s appointment? All of that matters. So, just really taking a pulse on their lifestyle.
Erica Gamble: [00:11:31] From there, we start looking at styles. What style of hair? How do you wear your hair? What type of style? Then, we start looking at wig styles that kind of match your lifestyle. Once we do that, then we can narrow it down, then we get to color. Colors are the most trickiest aspect to a wig because there are some people who are very, very specific and particular about the color of wigs that they have, especially if they’re blonde or redhead, because those are the hardest to match. If the wig is not in stock, the wig can be ordered. If it’s available, depending on where the wig is coming from, it can take anywhere from three days to seven depending on if it’s in stock. Once the wig comes in, we fit it and make sure that everything is right, we inspect the wig. And then, the client can take the wig home or they can leave out that day with the hairpiece.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:29] And then, how does it attach to your head?
Erica Gamble: [00:12:35] Wigs are glueless, so you can just place a wig on your head and it fits according to your size. So, there are three sizes, so there’s petite, average, and large, depending on where you fall. If you’re any of those, stock or semi-custom wigs come in those sizes. So, it would just fit. You just actually put it on. There’s a small tightening mechanism in the back of the wig and you can adjust it to fit. You don’t have to use glue or adhesive. But some people choose to because it gives them a little bit more comfort and security. I would say, probably 85 percent of my clients do not use glue, adhesive, or tape. One of the reason is because of the damage. My men clients, I would have to because, obviously, men have – it’s just different for men. And so, most of my men will use tape or adhesive to keep the wig on.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:36] And then, once it’s on, you can run, you can move around and feel pretty confident that it’s going to be secure?
Erica Gamble: [00:13:45] Yeah. You can swim. You can exercise. You can do your normal activity. Obviously, of course, with anything, sweat and all of that, does come into play. You have to gauge that. If you’re the type of person that sweats and you know that, then you have to take a little bit more care and concern, knowing that maybe you have to add a little bit more extra adhesive. Or make sure that when it loosens up, you’re prepared for that. You have what you need at home so that you can re-glue or reassess where the tape needs to go. But outside of that, yeah, it’s business as usual.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:20] This must be very rewarding work because of the impact you’re having on these folks’ self-esteem and confidence.
Erica Gamble: [00:14:28] Yes. It makes me feel good when a client comes in after realizing that (A) this is not an option, (B) this is something that I have to have, and then (C) once it’s embraced, once they get it on, they look at themselves, you know, it is what it is. And, yeah, it is rewarding because they can get back to some sense of normalcy, although it’s a wig and it’s something foreign that’s on your head. Eventually you’ll get used to it just like a pair of pants or new shoes. You break it in and you move forward. But, yes, my goal is to make sure that they’re comfortable, they’re educated, and that they actually understand what’s happening once they leave my boutique.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:14] Well, what compelled you to get involved with the GWBC? Why was it important for you to join them?
Erica Gamble: [00:15:23] It was important to me because I always feel like in business that we should be connected. And once I was introduced to the organization, I started to connect with other women who were also a part of the organization. They shared with me a lot of things that have helped them, a lot of resources that were provided to them, and how beneficial it was. And so, for me, that was a no brainer as a business owner, the importance of connections in the community. And so, since I joined and become a member and involved, there are tons of resources and opportunities that are helpful for me in my business. And also ways for me to share with other women and invite them to, perhaps, join in and see what great benefits that they can have for themselves and for their business as well.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:21] Well, thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Erica Gamble: [00:16:27] Absolutely. Thank you for having me. And I hope that if there’s someone out there who has a need, they can connect with me. And if not, connect with someone in this field who is about education and about supporting those who have hair loss needs, because this is really a struggle and a battle for many. So, thank you for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:48] Now, if somebody wanted to get a hold of you, do you have a website?
Erica Gamble: [00:16:53] I do. They can go to www.wigdr.com, and that’s www.wig, W-I-G-D-R,.com.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:05] And then, you have a retail establishment as well, right, in Marietta?
Erica Gamble: [00:17:09] Yes. I’m located in East Cobb. Yes. And I’m on Lower Rosswell in the Parkaire Shopping Centre in East Cobb in Marietta. So, they can also make an appointment and visit me there as well.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:22] Well thank you again for sharing your story today.
Erica Gamble: [00:17:26] Thank you so much for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:28] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We will see you all next time on GWBC Radio.
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