Mara Caldwell suffered from total body hair loss 21 years ago. With over a year of testing, Doctors nationally could not explain her hair loss. It was later determined that with her having mild Alopecia Areata, she experienced an allergic reaction to a new form of birth control medication that resulted in incurable Alopecia Universals (AU). AU, is an Autoimmune Deficiency Disorder which antibodies are produced against ones own hair follicles and triggers total body hair loss.
“I felt ugly, scared that I was terminally ill and foreign. I didn't recognize myself at all and I hated to look in the mirror. Many aspects about my body changed including my skin pigment, moisture and it triggered other Autoimmune Deficiency Diseases. I began to lose who I was and hide behind my my wigs, fearing every day that society would not accept my baldness."
She was working on an assembly line at the time, which made her feel even more self-conscious. “My hair was falling out by the hand-fulls and I had thousands of people surrounding me daily, there’s no way to hide it.” Mara quickly fell into deep depression trying to find the medical explanation while working to be strong for her family and overcome the symptoms. It took her close to three years to fully accept her baldness, but she still wasn’t comfortable in her own skin. “I struggled to find a wig that fit my personality, was comfortable and that looked like the old me. When I would finally find one that made me feel pretty , it would be the last one or discontinued. I was continuously faced with having to change my look and explain the new hairdo.”
“Throughout this entire process, I was not comfortable in my skin.” Inspired by her own trials and journey in 2013, Mara the Harmony of Hope Foundation, Inc., a 501 c(3) Federally Approved Non-Profit organization that helps children who suffer from hair loss. Mara explains that with beginning Harmony of Hope, Inc. “I really wanted to be able to help guide kids through the healing process and provide them with courage, hope and strength.
Harmony of Hope Foundation (HOHF) provides children with free wigs and wig supplies every year up to the age of 21. If they are a full-time student, they may continue to receive this support through the age of 24. The HOHF is the only Foundation in the U.S. that provides these services to this age group.
Shortly after starting her foundation, Mara and her husband discussed how others may be faced with similar obstacles, and new that she could be their HOPE. She began selling wigs and accessories on two 3rd Party Online markets while partnering with a manufacturer to develop her own wig care product line.
The Mara Wig Boutique currently has over 85 wigs on display and offers a large selection of human and synthetic hair, wigs, extensions, frontals, toppers, headbands, and receives new arrivals weekly. The most rewarding gratification at the end of consultation is for her to see the transformation of each person. “Wig shopping for the first time is scary, there are many unknowns and options. When someone visits my store, I recognize their fear and offer a solution to ensure that when they leave they'll regain hope, courage and confidence. I hope to always provide a safe and compassionate environment for everyone."
" I know, I understand, because I am just like YOU!"