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New business in Suffolk offers help to women affected by hair loss

PUBLISHED: 15:40 24 January 2018

Betty Daka, who has set up a business called Chine, offering wigs to cancer patients and women with other forms of hair loss. 
Picture: GREGG BROWN

Betty Daka, who has set up a business called Chine, offering wigs to cancer patients and women with other forms of hair loss. Picture: GREGG BROWN

When a woman loses her hair through cancer treatment or for some other reason it can be a very emotional time.

Chine is based at Exning, near Newmarket, but works with clients across the region - and beyond.
Picture: GREGG BROWN Chine is based at Exning, near Newmarket, but works with clients across the region - and beyond. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“It’s part of your identity as a woman,” says businesswoman Betty Daka. “Your hair is everything and losing it can affect your confidence and sense of yourself.”

Betty and her business partner Edward Chambers have recently set up a company offering wigs and hair extensions to women affected by hair loss.

But that’s not the only reason Betty knows so much about the subject herself.

Nine years ago she was involved in a car crash that almost took her life.

She had at least 20 operations - many while she was in a coma - after major organs, including her kidneys, liver and intestines, suffered catastrophic damage.

Miraculously, Betty recovered. But the accident made her look at life differently.

“That car crash in 2009 also resulted in my losing a lot of my hair,” says Betty, who now lives near Newmarket and wears a wig herself. “It was a very tough time in my life. I lost a lot of major organs as well. I couldn’t walk or talk.

“I promised to God that if he allowed me to walk again I would give back. I was always in the business world but when I regained my strength I went into caring, working with the elderly for a year-and-a-half.

“After that, I started to think about how it felt when I did not have hair as well. When I was going through my transformation there was someone to care for me. It made me realise it was not the end but the beginning of my journey and that the future would be brighter. That is what I wanted to give back to people too and why I am doing what I am doing now.”

Betty and Edward’s business, formed a few months ago and based in Exning, is called Chine. It offers custom-made wigs and extensions made of human hair to clients. Betty is also hoping to link up with an American company producing make-up free of chemicals to complement the service she offers.

Customer care is hugely important to Betty, who travels to clients’ homes as part of the service.

“We are not in this to make big profits,” she says. “We also want to put some of the proceeds of anything we do make into good causes, supporting schools and education.

“When we are consulted by a woman we want to know more about her and her lifestyle. If she has cancer, what stage is it at and how sensitive is her skin? We take time to explain to them about the wigs - most have never owned a wig before. We can go through how to care for it and who to contact if they need more help.

“For the most part, people who consult us are not after a new look. They want to look like they looked before. They will show you pictures of themselves as they used to be. It means more than anything to them to look like they used to so we have a hairdresser to style the new hair as they want it.”

Prices start from £160 for the wig itself.

“It’s 100% real hair - synthetic can be quite itchy,” says Betty. “We aim just to reach out to people to show them that we have this quality hair and want to give a quality service. For me it is all about making sure the client is happy.

“I still wear a wig myself. It is part of my identity but most people don’t even know I am wearing it. I want to show people there is nothing wrong with wearing a wig. We want to normalise it and take away any stigma that still exists.

“When I see a smile on a customer’s face it makes my day. I know I have helped change a life in the same way someone once changed mine.”

■ To find out more call 01638 577211 or 07397155150 or visit www.chinedaka.co.uk. Chine has an Instagram page at chine_beautyy.

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