by Jenne’ Matilda
It is said that “A woman’s hair is her Glory.” The standard of beauty surrounds itself with HAIR especially in the Black Community. There were many times growing up I would hear “She has good hair” or “She has bad hair.” So when you hear statements like this, it is bound to give a young lady a complex when it comes to her “given” hair. But what if one day you wake up with a bald spot in your hair? Completely bare like a baby’s bottom? Then you learn that this is going to be your life from now on, fighting the re-appearances of bald spots with no rhyme or reason, how would that make you feel?
It was an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to sit down and talk with a woman who took this negative and life altering event in her life and turned it into something amazing for women fighting hair loss. Charmeka Jackson is the founder and CEO of Frances Crown and Glory Boutique. She is also a woman who lives with Alopecia Areata. Alopecia Areata is a sudden hair loss that starts with one or more bald patches, which grows and falls out on a consistent basis and can be hereditary. There are two other types of Alopecia: Alopecia Totalis, which is the loss of all hair on one’s scalp, and Alopecia Universalis, which is the loss of hair on a person’s whole body. Charmeka is a 39 year old entrepreneur and single mother who was first diagnosed with Alopecia Areata when she was in the 10th grade.
Jenne: What was your initial reaction to the bald spot in your hair?
Charmeka: I never saw my hair disappear but it would fallout in quarter patches. I thought that wearing ponytails or the relaxers were the cause because it would grow back. But then it started to get bigger and was starting to spread, and I realized there was a problem. So I went to a dermatologist, and they did a biopsy with a scope and told me that my hair follicle was dead. They asked if anyone else in my family has Alopecia. I went home and asked my Mom, and she told me that her first cousin has it. I reached out to her, and she explained to me what it was. I was told by the dermatologist that I had to get the injections with steroids which did help my hair to grow back but they told me I might not have a menstrual cycle. So I stopped taking the injections, and then the only part of my hair that would grow back was the top. Then two years ago, everything grew back but a part in the top. So I shaved it all off, figuring I have nothing to loose at this point, and now it grows in gray.
Jenne: Who is Frances Crown and Glory Boutique?
Charmeka: The name Frances was my grandmother’s name and a cousin of mine who is deceased now, but we were raised like sisters. She was the only person that would let me play in her hair. I started Frances Crown and Glory Boutique about 4 years ago because most people think that those who are living with hair loss, it’s mainly due to cancer. So I figured I would put myself out there and show the different types of hair loss. The business came about because I wore wigs. I got my first wig right out of High School. My mother bought it for me, and they were big but I never saw any styles that I wanted. My cousin and I would buy different types of hair, style it and ROCK IT! Then people would ask who did your hair. I would tell them this is a wig. I started watching YouTube and learned how to make my own wigs. I make many different types of wigs, illusion braids and pony tail wigs. Starting Frances Crown and Glory Boutique for me is teaching my daughters about self-esteem, as well as myself and to let women know your beauty is not defined by others.
Jenne: Do you sell your wigs?
Charmeka: When I first started I was donating my wigs. There was a lady outside of the country who knew many women who were dealing with hair loss. She would tag me on Facebook and from that point I started to mail off the wigs. I would pay my own shipping, but then it was a lot of women in my inbox asking for wigs. So I had to make up a questionnaire to see if these women were all dealing with hair loss or just wanted a free wig. I have come up with a different process. Now if I give a free wig away, they pay for the shipping or if I make you a wig, you supply the hair, and I will pay for shipping. But I gave away free wigs for about a year until I got a handle on who really qualified for a free wig. Then I started to have people asking me how much do I charge for my wigs. This is how I got into selling my wigs. People donate wigs to me, I wash them, re-style them, and give them away to people who need them.
Jenne: Why is it important for you to give back to women struggling with hair loss?
Charmeka: It’s important for me to give back whether it’s hair loss or homeless or wherever you can give back, but you never know who needs something more than the next person does. When you put a smile on someone’s face and they go and tell someone else, that makes a difference.
Jenne: Hair is an initial part of a woman’s being, like breast. The loss of these things are very significant and life changing to a woman. When you talk to a woman who has lost her hair, what is your first piece of advice?
Charmeka: My first piece of advice is to always go with the three B’s! Bald! Bold & Beautiful! The reason why I say this is because every morning you look at yourself in the mirror and you look at yourself as being BALD, you’re BOLD because you have to go out in the world and you’re still BEAUTIFUL. That’s it. That’s how I look at it.
Jenne: Do you do events?
Charmeka: I do many back scenes events, by doing hair. I’ve done wedding affairs, plus size models, tiny tot models and events at the World Congress Center. I’ve tried to do a class on how to construct your very own custom unit, but I do plan on doing a seminar in the near future.
Jenne: If you could go back 25 years and talk to a younger you, what would be some golden nuggets you would tell yourself?
Charmeka: I would have waited until I got married to have children but my first child brought me closer to what I needed to do. My Dad always told me you are meant to work for yourself. So that is what I tell my girls. I understand this now because I have a 9-5 job, and I think to myself if I can work for them, I can have someone work for me. I would have started that mind set earlier in life. I would tell myself, “If they can do it, I can do it top.”
Jenne: If you were to leave this earth today, how would you want to be remembered?
Charmeka: I think most people would say my smile and dimples, but I want to be remembered as a outgoing person who tries to help others in need no matter what.
What are we doing to change the standards of beauty? Charmeka is definitely taking control of what her daughters, the next generation will know and understand about the definition of beauty, style and grace.
Charmeka can be reached : http://www.facebook.com/francescrownandgloryboutique