A woman who spent over 20 years keeping her alopecia a secret started her hair loss business through Duport and now sells her solutions to women all over the world.
Rebecca Dawe, now 43 from Bedfordshire, was 16 when she felt a bald patch for the first time. For over a decade she was able to hide the patches of missing hair, but after the birth of her second child, she lost all the hair on her head, as well as on the rest of her body. For years, she covered up her alopecia, never discussing her hair loss and always wearing a wig.
Struggling to cope, and with the realisation that she needed to come to terms with what had happened, Rebecca started researching to find better solutions for wigs and hairpieces that worked for her and felt more comfortable.
Seven years ago, she ‘came out’ on Facebook for the first time and after receiving support from everyone, she realised how freeing being more open was for her. ‘I went public for the first time via Facebook. I was absolutely terrified to do that. The response was overwhelming and people were telling me they were in tears. That really encouraged me to push forward with it. Everyone has their own hang ups about their body and I was saying “I am flawed in this way”.’
‘The initial embarrassment was rewarded by feeling so much closer to people. That was my healing.’ Over time, Rebecca realised she could turn her knowledge into a business and decided to set up Hair Necessity, working with other women to find ways to help them cope with hair loss. The business has grown and Rebecca now sells her own unique solutions for hair loss to women all over the world, as well as delivering hair loss courses to help salons support their clients with hair loss.
Here’s what she’s learnt about running a business.
If you could go back in time, to when you started, what advice would you give yourself?
I don’t think I’d say anything. If I would have known what I know now, I’m not sure I would have even started! It was my total ignorance about how difficult it would be to design new products and get them manufactured, not understanding what was possible, enabled me approach this with a completely open mind where anything could be possible. When you start like that, it is much easier to be creative and find solutions for problems. The business is continually evolving and every challenge, including Covid has led to where I am now.
How do you make your business work?
I know now that the most important thing for any business is to keep adapting. I know it’s been said a million times but every knock back is an opportunity to learn and move forward. There have been a few times when I’ve thought I’d reached the end of the line, but I just couldn’t let it go and found a new way forward. Finding the right people to work with, share ideas with and learn from has been the most important factor.
How does working for yourself compare to working for someone else?
The freedom is liberating and being able to work on something that I believe contributes in a positive way creates a lot of personal satisfaction. Being a mum, being able to juggle what I do around the needs of my children is really important to me.
What was most difficult about starting your business?
Having to learn and do everything myself, especially the technical stuff! It can feel like a mountain sometimes. Also balancing my cash flow and the ability to scale are on-going challenges.
How does your business use social media? – Which platforms.
I use Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter and Pinterest but to be honest I haven’t put a great investment of my time into them. It’s definitely on the radar for this year.
What do you find is the most successful form of marketing?
I get most of my business through blogging and writing about solutions to common pain points.
What three things would you go back and change.
At the moment nothing. The best way to improve and come up with new ideas is to keep coming up against challenges. I learnt more recently how vitally important it is to plan where you want to be, start with yearly then break down to monthly, weekly & daily. You need to have direction, but the joy for me of running my business is not the end goal, it’s the daily achievements.