By: Merilyn E. Ulrich,
Contributing Editor/Senior Staff Writer
My name is Shelli and I create “Happy Hair Bands” for kids, teenagers, and adults who suffer from hair loss due to chemotherapy or alopecia.
The Hair Society has interviewed several important individuals who have contributed much to the hair loss population and the hair restoration community. They have all had value and made important contributions to our industry. Shelli Boggs adds a new layer to that value and that contribution and her story is important to all of us. When you are finished reading about Shelli and what she does I hope that you will find a way to embrace Shelli’s deep desire to help those who need it the most. It isn’t often that we find truly selfless individuals who care more about the suffering of others then they do about themselves. Shelli Boggs is one of those people. Her story is important and we hope that we can do justice to this amazing human being and all she stands for.
We asked Shelli to give us an example of what she does and who she works with and we received the following:
“There are two young girls who have helped me improve the quality and comfort of Happy Hair Bands. Naomi Oakes is an 11 year old girl who LOVES Taylor Swift. Naomi loves Taylor so much that on July 5th she made a video and dedicated it to Swift in hopes she would follow #TeamNaomi on Instagram. On June 25th 2015, Naomi was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). This form of leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells that spreads rapidly and requires 6-9 months of intense therapy in the hospital. Bad Blood is Naomi’s fight song which inspired the name of her video… Get Rid of the Bad Blood. Taylor Swift not only saw the video, but she donated $50,000.00 to the family’s gofundme account. By sheer coincidence, I happened to be Naomi’s older sister, Amanda’s cosmetology teacher about 5 years ago. On July 16th Amanda had to shave her baby sisters hair after it began to fall out in chunks. Amanda sent me a message telling me how they both cried the entire time. I explained to Amanda the idea I had and asked her to find out if Naomi would like to help me make it work. That’s when I started Happy Hair Bands. My high school friend Sheri Skog happened to have her sewing machine up and running. She and I put a not so great version of my idea together. It needed a lot of critiquing and Naomi was happy to help. My dad bought me a new sewing machine and my kitchen became the Happy Hair Band factory. For weeks Naomi and I worked on the improvements. I made the band, and Naomi told me what to fix.
One day in early August at Cardon Childrens Hospital Naomi met Ruby Ramirez. After Naomi showed Ruby her hair band, Ruby contacted me, and began helping me and Naomi make additional improvements to Happy Hair Bands. On April 20th 2015, Ruby was also diagnosed with AML. She was 18 years old and has since had a birthday. Naomi’s cancer is in remission. Ruby will need a bone marrow transplant. When I first talked to Ruby we ended up texting until 2:30am and became Facebook friends. Scrolling through Ruby’s pictures I noticed she had a funky edgy side about her. Before she lost her hair she had it colored with fun bold colors. Her Happy Hair Band color request was no surprise to me after seeing her Facebook pictures. She requested Blood Orange, Teal, Platinum, Lavender, and her natural color, Dark Brown.
I asked Ruby how her life has changed since her diagnosis. She told me her family has become closer and she appreciates her family and friends who are there for her especially on the hard days. Ruby has one friend who has stayed close to her who is genuinely concerned about her health. Days after I gave Ruby her hair bands she made a video and posted it on Facebook. She thanked me for her Happy Hair Bands. She said they have given her confidence she had begun to lose. After beating this cancer, Ruby plans on attending cosmetology school because she LOVES to do hair and make-up. That also was no surprise to me. She will be a fantastic cosmetologist. She and I have also discussed her helping me with HHB after her completion of the cosmetology program. We will be two cosmetologists, making kids happy through Happy Hair Bands.
Happy Hair Bands will be naming a color after these two incredibly courageous girls. Naomi has chosen; Naomi’s Nutty Nilla, which is her natural hair color. It is medium blonde with a strip of any chosen color going through it. Ruby has chosen Rock Star Ruby Red… a VERY bold red of course. Bold like Ruby. These two brave girls have helped me start something that will bring happiness to some of the saddest toughest times kids battling these terrible diseases go through. Naomi and Ruby will help me and Happy Hair Bands make a difference. They are real life heroes, and I am so grateful to be able to bring a little happiness to them during their courageous fight.”
After reading this we had to know more. Here is our conversation with Rochelle “Shelli” Boggs the founder/operator of “Happy Hair Bands”.
Shelli Boggs was born in Kingman, Arizona and raised in Mesa, Arizona. She has two daughters 24 and 26 years old and a 13 year old son. She is also the very proud grandmother of a 2 year old granddaughter.
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn the light on.”
She attended cosmetology school and rented a station in a hair salon for 12 years after graduating. Shelli got her instructors license at the Arizona State Board of Cosmetology and taught for 12 years.
Shelli also attended the cosmetology educational classes at the University of Phoenix and acquired her teaching certification in order to teach at public schools which she did for 11 ½ years.
When Shelli’s step-son, aged 14, was diagnosed with testicular cancer 4 years ago she began visiting him at Children’s Hospital. She noticed that when boys lose their hair due to chemotherapy it grows back faster than girls and that the girls were far more traumatized. This is when Shelli knew in her heart that she wanted to do something that would give these young girls something to allow them to transition from total hair loss to either regaining their natural hair or purchasing a wig. She wanted to create something that was comfortable, affordable and would not hurt their already sensitive scalps. She wanted them to have instant hair.
The story that we posted above about Naomi and Ruby was how the birth of “Happy Hair Bands” came to be.
She tried a couple of different methods for creating “Happy Hair Bands” and settled on the band style that would be comfortable, fit well and would be simple and quick to make. She was able to obtain supplies from her local beauty supply store using her own funds and time.
Shelli works from her home and spends her own money to purchase the supplies needed to create her “Happy Hair Bands” and is dedicated to making sure that she can provide every child, teenager and woman who suffers from hair loss due to cancer or alopecia with instant hair. Her sensitivity to the needs of these individuals is amazing and her work is selfless. Shelli Boggs calls both Naomi and Ruby heroes, but in fact, Shelli herself is a true hero to them and so many other lives she touches.
H.S.: How did you come up with the name “Happy Hair Bands”?
S.B.: When Naomi received her hair band she told me that it was like Christmas and her happiness at having hair was over-whelming. Her happiness gave me the idea to call them “Happy Hair Bands” I was able to keep her scalp free and open and she loved the band style and the way it fit and looked. It was measured to fit perfectly and to look like she had a full head of hair. The word “Happy” was a perfect description of how she felt and reacted so the name stuck.
H.S.: What type of hair do you use to make the hair bands?
S.B.: There are two types of “Happy Hair Bands”. One is made of human hair which can be cut, colored, and styled and the other is made of a mixture of both human hair and synthetic hair. The only difference is that you can’t color or use high heat on the mixed bands but can treat the human bands just like you would with any natural hair. Both types can be cut and styled to suit the wearer.
H.S.: Do you only make the bands for children?
S.B.: At the hospital and elsewhere women who were suffering from hair loss due to breast cancer and other conditions began to notice the bands as the children wore then and asked me if I could make them for adults. The answer was yes so I now create them for children of all ages and grown women too. There are no age limits to those who can benefit from a Happy Hair Band.
H.S.: How quickly can an individual receive their “Happy Hair Band”?
S.B.: It takes me an hour or less to make one hair band so I can deliver them in one day. They are simple to make and they can be customized and cut to suit the style that is desired. I can re-style them at anytime. For someone who is not local, it may take a bit longer because of logistics.
H.S.: What hair lengths do the bands consist of and what is the cost?
S.B.: There are the 20-22 inch bands which cost $100 for human hair. There is an added cost for blonde or light colors of $20. We can also mix colors for a blended effect. The mixed bands which are a combination of both human and synthetic hair in the 20-22 inch length cost $80 plus the additional $20 for light colors. There are also 10-12 inch lengths made of human hair which are $40 and the additional $20 for light colors and the mixed bands (human and synthetic) are $15 less. All of the hair is purchased from various wig and extension supply stores. I can cut and style any of these lengths.
H.S.: Where do you deliver most of the bands that you make?
S.B.: I deliver them to Cardon Banner Children’s Hospital through child services who partner with me to determine the children who are candidates for the “Happy Hair Bands” and I work with Relay for Life and various local beauty salons and beauty supply stores.
H.S.: Can any Hair Salon or business donate and help to support your work?
S.B.:Yes!! Any support or donations are welcome and much needed. I am currently working with Armstrong McCall Professional Beauty Supply to provide a representative to contact the salons that they service to help us either through donations of money and supplies and in any other way that they can help us to continue providing “Happy Hair Bands” to people who need them.
I also have created a gofundme account which is: gofundme – Happy Hair Bands that allows anyone to help by makings a donation.
S.B.: Yes, at the moment they can contact me at via my Facebook page. I will be launching a new website soon devoted exclusively to “Happy Hair Bands”.
H.S.: How are “Happy Hair Bands” different from other wigs and extensions?
S.B.: The hair is already treated and does not cover the full scalp. It is not a wig but a secure band making movement easy. They are not tight or uncomfortable or itchy. Comfort is everything. These are the perfect transition from complete hair loss to re-growth or the future purchase of a wig. It’s a temporary solution to the problem of baldness due to hair loss that is caused by chemotherapy, radiation therapy or alopecia. They can go out and feel as if they have hair without looking or feeling awkward or embarrassed. This is especially important to teenage girls who are so conscious of how they look and how people will perceive them.
H.S.: What are your goals for the future regarding “Happy Hair Bands” and your organization?
S.B.: First, of course, I’d like to see a cure for cancer. Until that is possible I would like to be able to have enough funds available to take a trailer, painted in pink with our name on it “Happy Hair Bands”, and travel the entire country to all of the camps, like Camp Rainbow that are for children who have cancer and to provide them with “Happy Hair Bands”. Because I believe that hair is our biggest accessory and that it is connected to self-esteem, confidence and feelings of security I want to continue making and supplying “Happy Hair Bands” to anyone who would benefit from having one for as long as my service are needed. I want no child (or adult) to feel badly about how they look due to a disease that they had no control over. I want them to have hope above all else.
We were extremely humbled after speaking with Shelli and learnng more about her and the Happy Hair Bands organization. All too often, many of us have dealt with cancer, either personally, in our immedaite family or a friend. We have seen the stark results of chemo therapy and hair loss connected to it. We witnessed the pain and suffering and the many unwanted side effects that come with hair loss. Any ray of hope offered to children or adults who are suffering from this terrible disease is a gift and Shelli supplies that gift through pure generosity of spirit and the desire to give of herself to make their lives easier and better.
There are many ways to donate money and/or supplies to help her to continue her good work and every business that deals with hair loss and hair restoration should offer the opportunity for this immediate solution as other treatments and methods are ongoing to help those who have lost their hair. Shelli offers hope and she does it on her own out of a love for those who suffer. Who is more worthy of your support then this amazing person with a huge heart?
If you would like to help Shelli with a donation of any kind, please contact her directly at: Click here to email Shelli directly
The Hair Society would like to call on all of its readers, members, subscribers, and viewers to reach into their tip jars, pockets, check books or even supply closets, and donate to Shelli and become a part of a such an incredible organization.
If you are interested in having your Salon become a “Happy Hair Bands” affiliate, please contact us directly at The Hair Society and we will provide you with all of the details needed. Become an affiliate of Happy Hair Bands
If you are a manufacture, and would like to sponsor Shelli and “Happy Hair Bands” by providing much needed supplies, hair, or even help with the dream of making the pink trailer, please contact Shelli directly: Become a Sponsor of Happy Hair Bands
Visit on Facebook at: Happy Hair Bands