Everyone likes to look in the mirror and like what they see. Thanks to one mother’s efforts to meet the special hair needs of her two Ugandan-born daughters early in 1993, women of all hair densities have that chance.
Birgit Okoth created Vancouver’s Abantu to meet the needs of every woman, and today this legacy continues as the store offers every significant hair product imaginable to women from all walks of life.
“We have young women who just want a small piece for extra volume that they can clip in, and we have older women who need coverage for certain areas for thinning or hair loss,” says Abantu’s owner, Mark Okoth. “We also serve people who have medical reasons for hair loss and need day-to-day pieces for full coverage.”
Abantu customers want to feel more confident about themselves hair density-wise, and there are many ways to do that, Okoth says. “A lot of people think if their hair is thinning, they need a wig and they transition from nothing to a full wig, but that isn’t the case.”
A wig is a full “ball cap” shape that offers full coverage with hair in different lengths. Often toppers are a more suitable solution, offering partial coverage with different base sizes. Some are narrow, as small as a 2-inch by 5-inch strip, and some are triangular with a round edge for wider coverage.
“We have different base sizes for different people, and we have different colours to match a customer’s natural hair,” Okoth says. “Customers can research colour matches themselves on our website, or they are welcome to come to our store and see the demo pieces and our range of colours and styles.”
Top pieces have come a long way, he adds. Many are heat-friendly, which means wearers can change the texture. All pieces are processed to the specific colour match, and some are even pre-done to give the appearance of roots growing out, which is another way to achieve a natural look.
Abantu’s edge is customer care and focus on making each person leave happier, better educated, and more confident than when they walked in. “Our model has always been, ‘if you don’t look great, we don’t look good,’” Okoth says.
Abantu carries several lines and options to fit every need. The main considerations when choosing a hairpiece are, first, human hair versus synthetic hair. The next consideration is coverage, determined by base size, and then the length of hair.
“We offer products from some great companies that have been innovative leaders in the industry for a long time and fit most demographics with a range of colours and great quality,” Okoth says.
Here are a few to consider.
AbantuJon Reneau toppers:
These heat-friendly synthetic and human hair toppers come in a wide range of blonde and rooted colours. They are madly popular because they are easy part pieces—like this easiPart HD 8"—which means they are the perfect choice for fun, quick, and easy volume or coverage with a part in the center area.
These mainly appeal to younger, middle-aged, and older customers who want a quick and simple way to feel their best. Products in this brand start at: $135.00
Tony of Beverly hairpieces:
AbantuThis all-synthetic line focuses on middle-aged and older customers with a range of fashionable, slightly shorter, and curlier styles, and a nice range of greys, mixed, and salt and pepper colours.
The Concealer is a lightweight hairpiece with three pressure sensitive clips for easy and secure attachment. A translucent monofilament base allows for multi-directional styling, and long, softly curved layers make it easy to blend the piece seamlessly into natural hair.
Estetica Design Mono-wiglets:
AbantuThis is another company more focused on the middle-aged lady, offering a fine selection of natural colours, including shades of gray in various lengths and synthetic and human hair options.
The Estetica Mono-wiglet 36-LF adds density and volume to existing hair, while covering up unwanted patchy areas as naturally as possible. This piece offers even more natural styling possibilities, thanks to a front lace line, and it attaches easily to the natural hair with three snap clips for a secure, confident fit.