Tuesday, November 07, 2006

European Human Hair Wig - How Much Does It Really Cost?

I am sure you have wondered what the truth is about the prices of wigs made from European human hair. From shop to shop you will find a huge variation in prices - anywhere from 300 USD to as high as 10,000 USD!. So let me take you through each step of the process of producing high quality handmade wigs, and show the real costs.

Firstly, take the acquisition of hair. The cost of hair for one wig (0,2 to 0,4 kg) varies from 30 to 40 USD throughout most Eastern European countries. There is little variation there, but an important additional cost is incurred by high-quality wig-makers who collect hair in an appropriate and well-controlled way. The best wig-makers visit hairdressers and care for the hair themselves, using no middleman. They do not buy hair from wholesalers because wholesalers blend hair, because it is so time-consuming to acquire really good hair. One simply has to find a girl among hairdresser's clients that has beautiful, healthy hair and who wants it cut. The hairdresser can offer a free service to such a girl and actually pay her for her hair - and clearly both sides benefit from such a transaction. But this shows that, by its very nature, acquisition of good-quality hair cannot be a simple large-scale automatic process. That explains why outside of Eastern Europe the price of acquiring good quality hair is skyrocketing - not because the hair in itself is expensive, but because of its rarity. It is difficult to imagine a large-scale cheap process of acquiring high quality human hair in European countries.

Second, take the other materials used in making wigs. These are not expensive and their costs do not exceed 50 USD for a typical wig. These are the materials used to produce a cap. More and more wig-makers are now buying ready-made caps, so called "monofilament", which are gaining popularity and their cost is not very high.

Third, take the labor involved in making high quality hand made wigs. This is the main cost factor. Handmade wig needs at least a week to be produced by an experienced expert worker. It takes a week of hard work, with each hair being knitted to the cap with a very small crochet-needle or glued with a special glue. In the case of long hair, the production time could be two to three weeks. Reliable wig-makers knit hair with a double-knot which makes the construction much more durable but needs some extra work-time. Depending on the type of wig, length of hair and type of cap the cost of labor is from 150 to 300 USD.

Finally, you cannot forget other typical business costs - investment's amortization, management costs, taxes, insurances, rent, and profit. Altogether, the price of a handmade human hair wig made from European hair cannot be lower than 500-600 USD even for the shortest hair. There is no upper limit and it only depends on how much a customer is willing to pay, but before you pay 1000 USD or more for your wig remember the real costs of its creation.

And now for a real mystery. Why are European human hair wigs not made in China where labor costs are much lower than in Poland, Russia, or the Czech Republic? The main reason is no good quality European human hair available in large enough quantities to make profitable large-scale production in China possible. This is because wig-makers in Eastern European countries are buying all of the available hair for their own production. Surprising? - but that is how it is. And that is why most of wigs produced in China are made of Asian hair or blended hair widely available on a wholesale market.

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