Today we’d like to introduce you to Ellie Johnson.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Ellie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
At three years old, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Alopecia Areata. Alopecia causes your body to attack hair follicles causing hair loss. Throughout my childhood, I had amazing support through my parents, family members, and friends. Even though I had a wonderful support system, losing my hair was still my reality and it impacted me negatively at times. My hair would grow back and fall out in waves which caused a lot of uncertainty. In just a few short days, I could go from decent growth to nearly bald. This level of instability and inconsistency was something I really struggled with. During my teenage years, I started treatment that worked really well. Kenalog shot injections into the bald spots.
However, around 22 years old, the shots stopped their effectiveness and started to cause health issues. I thankfully stopped the treatment in favor of my health and that is when all of my hair began to fall out. My family and I had a head shaving party and each person shaved a bit of my remaining hair off. A few months later, I had no hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, or body hair left. Immediately following the big shave, I felt relief I hadn’t felt in a long time. For so long, I thought I craved the stability of hair, but in all reality, I just needed consistency in any form. At the time, I worked at a school and needed a wig and found one at a shop but it was incredibly uncomfortable, big, and insecure. Right at the time of my diagnosis when I was three, my mom went to a support group and one of the members had a hair piece called Freedom Hair. My mom kept this wig in her mind and once I shaved we called for a consultation and I got my hairpiece months later that completely changed my life.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
When it comes to a disease that impacts your appearance, there are many different struggles you can encounter. The first being the emotional impact. For me the emotional impact was the constant feeling of inconsistency. I never could feel confident in the future because I didn’t know what it would hold. Would I have hair in 2 months? Will I be bald? During my teenage years, this is an emotion I felt often. The other struggle was the inability to fully relax. At the time, I was determined to keep my hair loss hidden under hats, bandannas, and hair powder. Swimming in front of unfamiliar people was impossible for me at that time. Many Alopecians face the fear of being “found out” before they are fully ready to let others know about their hair loss. I felt that fear when wind would blow the bald spots into view. I also face some health issues and annoyances. Without eyelashes, things constantly irritate my eyes and cause me to have red itchy eyes. The other had part is not having nose hairs to keep dust out. Ultimately, becoming completely bald has changed my life for the better. I have an amazing hairpiece that is better than any hair I could ever grow and I am apart of an amazing community. My self worth is no longer in my hair, but in how God sees me.
Top Knotch Hair Solutions – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am the Independent Agent in Southern California for Freedom Hair. Freedom Hair is a wig company in New Zealand that creates custom wigs for individuals experiencing significant hair loss. Our hair pieces are known for their comfort, security, and customization. Other wig companies mass produce their pieces, but we make ours specific to the client. The process starts with a consultation where the client chooses a variety of options of hair color, curl preference, length, and parting. This level of customization allows the client to have hair that is virtually the same as their naturally growing hair before it was lost or something completely new.
Then I take a 3D scan of the client’s head using a scanner with CAD software. The information is sent to Freedom Hair and they begin creating the hair piece. Other wig companies have a mesh lining or woven material on the cap of the wig. Freedom Hair’s cap is 100% medical grade silicone that creates a vacuum seal. This provides incredible security without tape or glue. I can swim, hike, and ride roller coasters without the worry of my hair piece falling off. I am very active hiking, camping, and boating all with my Freedom Hair Piece. I am proud to be a part of this company to help individuals along in their hair loss journey. I am proud to be a part of a company that strives to create an amazing high-quality product for those who need it.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment has been the ability to be involved in the Alopecia/hair loss community. I love meeting new people with the same condition as me and helping find resources that work best for them! It is so refreshing to have a community that supports one another.
- Website: www.topknotchhairsolutions.com
- Phone: 9518051333
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @topknotchhairsolutions
- Facebook: @topknotchhairsolutions
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Check out the VoyageLA Podcast:
Episode 1 with Content Partner Lisa Taitelman, Founder of Hiking & Wellness company Find Your Trail.