A combination of hairdressing qualifications, a love of sewing and a serious car crash led Ramsgate resident Sammy Jo Stone to launching her own wig making business and supplying stars such as presenter and comedian Katherine Ryan and TV show Strictly Come Dancing.
The 36-year-old is the owner of Dream Hair by Prestige and, working from home, creates wigs including U part pieces – a full head of hair extensions sewn to a wig cap, which has a U shaped opening at the top to allow the person to wear their natural hair and parting freely.
Sammy Jo’s latest wigs have been worn by award-winning presenter and newsreader Angela Rippon and presenter Angela Scanlon on the latest series of Strictly.
That commission came about following a recommendation by Katherine Ryan who has bought several of Sammy’s creations.
Sammy Jo runs Dream Hair by Prestige but the journey to self-employment was not a simple one.
The former Ellington Girls student said: “I started it as a hobby. When I was a kid I was obsessed with Lord of the Rings and didn’t believe they were wearing wigs!
“Eight years later I ended up training as a hairdresser but I didn’t enjoy working in a salon environment. I later took up sewing as a hobby so this is a combination of the two skills.
“In 2015 I was teaching at Canterbury College and I got hit by a car on the way home. I almost lost my leg and I did lose my job which was on a temporary contract.
“It was a long recovery , I wasn’t even allowed to touch my toes to the floor for the first 11 weeks and it took six months before I could walk again and it wasn’t until last year I could jump.
“I started doing the wigs from a makeshift hospital bed at my mums and it became full time.”
Sammy Jo opened an Etsy store and promoted the business on facebook and it was social media that clinched Katherine Ryan (pictured below) as a customer in 2019.
She said: “It came about by chance. Katherine Ryan put a post on Instagram saying she was fed up with having her hair done for shows, wanted a break from extensions and needed something she could just put on and take off.
“One of my old friends from college and that led to Katherine Ryan messaging me and buying four pieces.
“One was shown on a massive billboard (of Katherine) in Times Square. She also wore them in Netflix documentary Glitter Room.”
And thanks to a recommendation from the comedy star Sammy Jo was approached by the show’s ‘head of hair’ and a total of six pieces were ordered – including a late request for Angela Rippon.
She added: “I got it all sorted and then they messaged on Wednesday to say they needed something for Angela Rippon by Saturday!”
As well as catering for the stars, Sammy Jo has made pieces for local theatre, independent films and says she now has a lot of customers who have suffered hair loss due to covid.
She said: “It is staggering how many people have lost their hair from covid. A lot of my customers are in the 25 to 45 age range but I do have younger and did a wig for a 14-year-old who had hair loss due to the mini pill. I get quite a wide mix of people, quite diverse, but do find there are a lot more with hair loss than previously.”
Strictly Come Dancing, produced by BBC Studios, returned to BBC One and BBC iPlayer for series 21 last month and is shown on Saturday evenings on BBC 1.
Find out more about Dream Hair by Prestige at: https://dreamhairbyprestige.com/