The Wig Lady
Even if you’ve never shopped at Gloria Marable’s hair specialty shop, chances are you’ve at least noticed its name. Shh! It’s a Wig may be a mouthful, but the business has practically earned its own catchphrase in Macon.
“The name attracts a lot of attention,” admits owner Gloria Marable. “I do consider it clever marketing, though that was not my original intent. People tell me that my commercials are catchy for all ages, and I am always getting laughs from the sign on the side of my car.”
In spite of her witty marketing, there is a somber side to Shh! It’s a Wig. Many of Marable’s clients are chemotherapy patients suffering from alopecia (hair loss). “With my medical needs clients in particular, my goal is to find the style and color of their original hair and closely match it so that they can focus on getting their treatments without having to look sick,” she explains.
Oncologists routinely hand out her business cards to patients once treatment begins. Marable recommends a visit to her store before patients lose their hair so she can best match their color and style. That is when she delivers the personalized service that remains the true trademark of her seven-year-old wig business.
“My medical needs clients have a special place in my heart,” says Marable. “I want them to look as beautiful and feel as good as possible about the way they look. There is so much to that.”
In addition to her paying clients, Marable works with the American Cancer Society and offers free adjustments and style modifications to the donated wigs. She is currently in the process of creating her own foundation, The Angel Hair Foundation, to provide wigs to others unable to afford them.
Her hair “roots” go back to preteen years spent watching her aunt, a cosmetologist, as she worked. By the age of 12, Marable was proudly sporting various wigs. Ultimately, her different hair styles became her trademark. “Everybody always whispered about my hair as if it were a secret. But, it’s not a secret that I wear wigs because tomorrow you will see me in different hair,” she laughs.
Marable has not always been known as “The Wig Lady.” She spent 20 years teaching grammar school before finding her way to open Shh! It’s a Wig. She fell into the business after “inheriting” salon equipment when her husband purchased office space for his own dentistry practice that was once occupied by a beauty parlor.
It is not just Marable’s self-proclaimed “wig habit” that fuels the passion for her product. “I really, from a spiritual level, feel this is what God led me to do,” she says. “I feel totally complete with the work I am doing with my medical needs clients. This is just my little way to give back to a person and make them feel good.”
Six months after she started selling wigs, her own mother was diagnosed with cancer. Marable says the experience gave her a deep understanding of cancer’s emotional journey and the hair loss that often results. “I am not just selling a wig. I’m a part of the healing process each person is going through,” she says. “We’re going to put this wig on you, and you’ll only have to worry about your treatment. Once we go through the paces, and they look in the mirror and tell me they look good, that’s just my reward.”
By: Allyson Moody