When Rachel Gardea posted her custom-made rainbow unicorn wig on Instagram a year and a half ago, she never imagined the overwhelming response she’d receive from people all over the world asking her to create a custom wig for them.
In the mystical world of unicorns and rainbows, fairy tales can come true, and Rachel Gardea of Santa Rosa is over the rainbow with the success of her wig business, Gardeaux Wigs.
Originally selling her wigs on Etsy, Gardea’s startup plan was to open an online store and go from there. Quickly into the process, however, she realized Etsy worked. She began selling wigs so fast, she had to prioritize.
The unicorn went from a gallop to a full-on sprint. Gardea sells wigs starting at $700 at an average of 45 wigs per month.
All Gardea’s wigs are 100 percent human hair and to make selection fun she has names for her most popular styles like the Hannah, the Katie and Born Blonde.
What’s special about Gardea’s business? She provides a service to people who may not otherwise have the confidence to face the world. As human beings, hair is an important part of our confidence. This basic human desire is not only in the United States, the need for inner confidence is a world-wide commonality. Gardea sells wigs regularly to places like Dubai, the Netherlands, Australia, throughout the United States and Hawaii.
“The appreciation I get from the clients I help is beyond priceless,” Gardea said. “Women want to look young and current, and if you aren’t happy with the hair you were born with, or you are 16 with alopecia [hair loss], or have cancer, you will find the perfect match with a Gardea custom wig.”
All wigs are custom-created for each client. Gardea asks each client to send her a picture of themselves and a picture of what they are looking for. She asks the client to send her detailed measurements of their head [directions are located on Esty]. She then buys a real human hair wig, custom colors the wig, cuts and styles it to perfection according to the client’s wish list.
Q & A
How did the wig business sprout its wings?
“I posted my first wig creation on Instagram and said, ‘Hey, look what I made myself.’ It was a half wig,” Gardea said. “Real human hair is expensive, but when I finished the custom color, it matched my hair perfectly.”
For a while, Gardea said she put off potential business because she merely made the wigs for herself with no intention of embarking on the wig business. As a hairstylist, a cover band singer and mom to a five-year-old, she already had three jobs.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
“I kinda wanted to be an actress or singer but I had no real direction. As I got older, I knew I needed to do something to pay the bills so I waited tables. Then I became a makeup artist. That led to doing hair, which then led to doing the wigs. Meanwhile, I auditioned for a few cover bands and landed a lead in a working band with some really good gigs. I found myself doing all these great shows and getting paid really well.”
She said, “The hair and music go hand in hand. As much as I love singing, I also have a love for getting ready for the performance, applying the makeup, wearing the wig, and putting on the outfit.”
Not only is Gardea filling a void in the wig industries market share, she is creating confidence in women all over the world by giving them hair they’ve always wanted.
You can find her online store on etsy.com/shop/GardeauxWigs