By: Merilyn E. Ulrich,
Contributing Editor/Senior Staff Writer
The Hair Society
One on One with Vanessa Ranoni of Shear Pointe & Shear Pointe Medical
This is a unique interview from my point of view. This is about not only a highly skilled facility that offers many hair loss solutions to the public but about someone who truly gives meaning to the expression “Pay it forward”.
According to their website, “Shear Pointe places the highest priorities on helping you find a solution to your thinning hair and hair loss. In fact, we don’t even think of you as “clients” rather, we think of you as our guests. Shear Pointe’s facilities are specifically designed for your comfort and privacy.”
This interview is about why Shear Pointe offers something special to it’s “Guests”.
The path that Vanessa Ranoni followed to get where she is today is interesting and most of all, important. I hope that I can do her story justice because to me, she is truly a hero.
HS: Tell me about yourself and your education.
V.R.: I was born and raised in Detroit, Mi and attended Wayne State College. My major was in psychology and I got my Bachelor’s degree in psychology followed by a Masters degree in marriage and family counseling. I counseled both married couples and teenagers and found that I had a great affinity for teenagers in particular. I actually liked them! This led me to teaching 11th and 12th grades. I taught the “Sciences” like Biology, Chemistry and Math. I truly enjoyed making these difficult subjects fun for my students and continued to teach for 8 years.
HS: We heard that you had been a member of the fashion community prior to going to school. What did you do and what was your role?
V.R.: Before I went to college I was a make-up artist for both Dior and Este Lauder but quit when I went to school full-time.
HS: Vanessa, what drew you to the Hair Loss Industry?
V.R.: Personal experience and a need to help others as a result of my own experience with hair loss.
HS: Can you elaborate on those experiences?
V.R.: It started when I was teenager. I had long, thick and beautiful hair. It was something that I was very proud of and made me feel beautiful. One night I put my hair in rollers (as I always did) and went to sleep. When I woke up the next morning my entire life changed. I found some of the rollers on my pillow with my hair still in them. I was scared and ran immediately to my Mom who noticed that I had bald patches all over my head. I was devastated and horrified. This began a journey from seeing one dermatologist to another; countless painful treatments and injections and a complete lack of self-esteem. When this happened to me in the late 60’s and early 70’s not much was known about the affliction known as Alopecia and no one really offered me any real hope. I eventually lost all of my body hair which is known as Alopecia Universalis.
(National Institutes of Health)
Alopecia universalis (AU) is a condition characterized by the complete loss of hair on the scalp and body. It is an advanced form of alopecia areata, a condition that causes round patches of hair loss.
This led to depression and devastation and my life changed drastically. Hair Systems that exist today were unheard of back then so my Mom bought me a short wig so I could look somewhat normal and return to school and my life as a teenager. Some girls at my school noticed that I was wearing a wig and joined together to pull it off exposing my total baldness. I was bullied, called names and humiliated. I felt depressed and isolated and I even refused to watch commercials for hair products. I was miserable and hated the word “wig”. I hated everything about myself and my life had no purpose. It was a terrible time in my life. All of my hair was gone and it never returned.
HS: How did you cope with this situation..how did you survive?
V.R.: After countless painful injections of corticosteroids and topical creams my beautiful hair continued to “fall out” day by day until it was all gone. During this time my mother bought me a simple, short department store wig so that I could go to school. Most of my friends and school mates thought I got my hair cut, until some of the girls became curious, suspected that it may be a wig, and conspired to pull it off in school. I was devastated again and became the laughing stock of the entire school. I vowed never to go back to school. Ever. Kids would march back and forth in front of my house chanting, “Eagle” over and over. I felt like a monster.
Seeing how miserable I was my Grandfather offered to buy me a custom wig made from human hair. We saw a sign for a place called Shear Pointe and I went there for a consultation. This changed everything.
HS: How did the people at Shear Pointe help you?
V.R.: The consultant talked to me about Alopecia and explained that I was not alone. I had felt that I was the only one going through something like this and it was reassuring to know that I was not the only one and that there were solutions for me. It was explained that a hair system could be created especially for me that would look and feel normal. That I could feel accepted and live again without feeling like a monster and that no one would know that I was wearing a hair system. When I got my hair system it changed everything and many people actually complimented me on my beautiful hair. I could finally embrace my hair and feel better about myself.
HS: How did you come to work at Shear Pointe?
V.R.: I met Scott McCarty who is a very respected and well known industry leader within the hair loss community and he became aware of my experience in marketing and sales and wanted to hire me. Today, Scott is my significant other and we both work at Shear Pointe.
HS: What is your title at Shear Pointe and what do you bring to the job?
V.R.: I am an Image Consultant and my goal is to help those who suffer with hair loss. I view our clients from the feet up…not the hair down. I view the whole person and use my experience in studying psychology to allow those who suffer from Alopecia to be viewed as a whole person. I try to build their self-esteem and their loss of worth that resulted from their hair loss. I use my own personal experience to make them feel good about themselves. It is very satisfying and I love what I do.
HS: What is the biggest challenge that you face in the hair loss industry?
V.R.: Women are much more emotional about their hair loss and even though men also suffer they are not as vocal. I constantly deal with the fact that a lot of people are not willing to invest what it takes to get a really good hair system. You get what you pay for and a good quality and realistic hair system costs money. A lot of people are not willing to spend the necessary amount of money to get the very best. Some people prefer to wallow in bitterness rather than spend their money on a solution. Especially when it comes to children with hair loss; parents must realize that their child is worth the very best and that it will make a huge difference in how they view themselves and in how others view them. They have to bite the bullet and do what will look and feel the best for themselves or for their children. If they can spend $5.00 on a cup of coffee on a daily basis they can invest in their life and well-being by seeking the very best in hair systems and hair loss solutions.
HS: You have been very brave in discussing your past hair loss problems with us and I wanted to ask you how you view what you do today and how it makes you feel.
V.R.: I hid for a long time. I wanted to be a model but that was out of the question. I wanted to be beautiful and popular and that was out of the question for a long time too. I realized that with my background in psychology and because of my own experience I could truly help those suffering with hair loss. I could build them up educate them and teach them to overcome the stigma of hair loss. It makes me feel good every time I see someone with a beautiful hair system walking around looking and feeling like a normal human being. I love knowing that they won’t suffer or be bullied or stared at. I love knowing that they won’t be depressed and devastated as I was as a teenager and beyond. This is a path that I truly believe I was meant to follow and that everything that happened to me happened for a reason. I love what I do.
This is the first time that I have interviewed someone who actually suffers from Alopecia (her hair never grew back), and the first time that I actually felt her suffering and how this disease affected her life and the lives of others. I was moved beyond belief at the courage Vanessa displayed in not only discussing her experiences but in wanting to help others.
This interview was both a privilege and an honor to conduct and I want to thank Vanessa personally for allowing me to share her life and how difficult it was. She truly gives meaning to the expression that I began with…she has “paid it forward” to the benefit of many others and I consider her a hero.
|Shear Pointe –Locations||Hours of Operation|
|Hair Restoration Center
1971 E. 14 Mile Road
Birmingham, Michigan 48009Shear Pointe Medical
1999 E. 14 Mile Road
Birmingham, Michigan 48009Toll Free: (877)-967-9462
|Monday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Thursday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am – 2:00 pm