The owner of an award-winning shop specialising in women's hair loss has described how she is on a mission to fight the taboo after her own "horrific" experience.

Bear with the Hair in Hornchurch High Street competed with two other local businesses in the category to win best customer service prize at the Havering Small Business awards - picking up the most votes from local people.

The business began when owner Kellie Green, who grew up in Chadwell Heath, decided to leave her life as a writer behind to set up the shop after having lost her own hair more than 20 years ago.

Recalling her journey, Kellie told the Recorder that she was “driven by the passion to help other ladies” who had gone through the same thing as her.

Romford Recorder: Bear with the Hair on Hornchurch High streetBear with the Hair on Hornchurch High street (Image: Bear with the Hair)

She said: “There are not really many places you go to as a woman if you have lost your hair. You can go online and buy a wig, but I found it virtually impossible to find anywhere that actually understood what I was going through.”

Read More: All the winners at 2023 Havering Small Business Awards

Her first experience at a wig shop was “horrific” she added: “It was loads of heads with hair on and no real personal service”.

Kellie says Bear With The Hair is not simply a wig shop. From just covering a tiny little bald patch to covering a full head, she offers hair integration and extensions, among other services.

Recently, she also has designed a system to enable ladies with total hair loss just at the front to lead a normal life. Kellie claimed that to her knowledge and research, nobody had ever provided such a solution to this problem.

Romford Recorder: Wigs and hair extensions on display at Bear with the HairWigs and hair extensions on display at Bear with the Hair (Image: Bear with the Hair)

She said she is now at a point where she is about to launch her own range of hairpieces that she has designed herself.

Kellie insists the business is run from her heart rather than her pocket and she is on a mission to change the taboo around female hair loss.

She said: “Women can be very embarrassed and nervous about it. I am trying to give them a warm welcome.”

The industry can be very expensive for many women, Kellie noted, and she aims to make it more accessible to those who need help.

She added: “I give them a free first consultation. They get to talk about their issues and hair loss and reasons behind it. I become like a counsellor and really get to know my clients.”