“Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.” — George Bernard Shaw
Remember that last time you had a bad haircut, where the hairdresser cut 2 inches shorter than you told her to? And then you decided to wear a hat or a cap for the rest of the month to hide the hair cut and spent the entire time whinging and grieving over it?
Not Sherri Sosslau.
In 2005, after an incident of a bad haircut, Sherri Sosslau decided to take the matter into her own hand and made a wig with brown yarn and turquoise, hand-felted twists which resembled dreadlocks. A few years later, her friend, Kaihea lost all her hair due to chemotherapy, and this gave Sherri the inspiration to make a wig that could be secured on her bare scalp. Sadly, that day never came. Kaihea passed away in November 2008.
Inspired by her memory, Sherri started a HairFlair wig-making project in November 2009. She set up a Facebook Page to recruit her supporters and soon, friends, neighbours and strangers gathered in her living room and for weeks, they made wigs and shared stories of family, friends and co-workers’ journey with cancer. With a budget of less than $2000, they handcrafted and donated over 100 wigs that went out to children in hospitals and women who have lost their hair as a result of cancer. But it is not the number of wigs they produced that kept Sherri humbled, its the community spirit, the people who have gathered in her living room to help bring joy and hope through HairFlair, and soon, the idea of HairFlair for Hope was born.
“What I am most proud of is that the Washington DC community has so many kind-hearted souls that have volunteered to help make my dream a reality.”
Sherri explained that HairFlair for Hope represents two things: “1. HairFlair represents the stylish flair of our fantasy wigs. 2. Hope stands for something much more heartfelt to me. We design these unique head coverings to be worn on days when the wearer is ready to take exceptional ownership of her challenging medical situation and use her HairFlair wig as a talking point to share her personal story.”
Since starting HairFlair for Hope, Sherri has brought joy, confidence and hope to children, women and all those who are confident enough to don the wig and be proud of who they are. However, to continue doing this, she’ll need to raise $6779 to cover the cost of getting a 501(c)(3) status, and the cost of operation to increase the reach of HairFlair for Hope. After searching for a platform for fundraising, she struggled to find one that fits the project, and when one of the directors told her about StartSomeGood, she immediately put her application in and got approved!
StartSomeGood is the only crowdfunding platform connecting those who has a venture or idea that address social needs or has a social impact, with those who has the capital to invest into these ventures. According to Sherri, “With the financial help, and increased awareness that SSG will help us achieve, we plan to grow more HairFlair for Hope.”
What’s next for HairFlair for Hope?
“The Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal would be to take HairFlair for Hope nationwide, offering every man, woman and child who would like to wear a HairFlair fantasy wig the chance to do so! We hope that one day there will be a HairFlair chapter in every major city, using our wigmaking workshops as art therapy in cancer centers around the US and donating the wigs to the local children’s hospitals and chemotherapy centers in each locale.”
Beyond that, what keeps Sherri sane and what keeps her going is the hundreds of lives that she has had an impact on since starting this project. Just recently, a cancer patient she gave a wig to told her, “Thank you for reminding me that cancer did not take the fun out of us.”
That, is the power the hope.
Changemaking is hard work, and we get criticise more than any business or projects you can think of and trying to be a budding social entrepreneur makes it even harder. Trying to juggle the paperwork and bringing change, and handling the doubts and energy you get from the public is not an easy job. So, I asked Sherri if she had any advice for any budding social entrepreneurs out there and her advice is:
“If you have a good idea for a product or service that can truly make a difference, and you are passionate about it, the rest will follow. Start small and stay focused. Resist the urge to go big, too quick. Believe in what you do, stay focused and never be intimidated to ask for what you need to make good happen. Supporters will come.”
If you would like to support HairFlair for Hope in bringing hope to all those who have been affected by hair loss, visit their page on the StartSomeGood website.
// Contributed by Ehon Chan