Monday, 29 December 2014

Beautiful Words ...

Doing what I do can sometimes be pretty stressful.

I'm the kind of person who takes things in on an emotional level which is a good thing in that it allows me to identify deeply with my clients but the other side of the coin is that I find myself often teetering dangerously over the edge of the dreaded 'burn out' cliff.

Luckily for me though something always seems to come along right at that time that reminds me of why I set up Aspire in the first place! 

Do you believe that things in out life happen for a reason? I do ... Which is why one tea time a couple of weeks ago I was taking my weekly day off work (and by day off work I mean I wasn't working here in the shop but I was working from home) and I was tired. 

I was tired.

I was stressing over the minor things.

My kids were driving me crazy!! 

I had all these stresses going on around me that, as individual things, really didn't matter but all together felt ridiculously overwhelming.

So I'm sat there going over my marketing and my goals when my trusty old iPhone 'beep beeps' to let me know I have an email. 

I'm so grateful to the client that sent me the beautiful words in that email ...


[ Deep breathe. Composes self ]

Those beautiful words are why. 

Not the praise and compliments or the part about being a fairy god mother (although that's incredibly cool and let's be honest .... I'd make an AMAZING fairy god mother!) for me it's the part about how my client doesn't cry about her Alopecia anymore. 

The fact that she is now able to live her life confidently DESPITE her Alopecia. 

For my client Nikki this transformation in her life was brought about by a number if things ...

The FIRST and most important thing was all down to her and neither myself nor any wig manufacturer in the world could ever take credit for this.


Nikki found me online and she reached out to me via email.

The SECOND thing she did was she came and met with me. Nikkis mum came along too and they made the trip together from Ireland to Sheffield. 

The THIRD thing was that she trusted me. I really can't ever stress enough about how I genuinely have my clients best interests at heart. I don't want to upset anyone further and I definitely do NOT like having folk mad at me! 

Mix that together with the fact that it would be just plain old mean to be anything other than genuine when it comes to new hair and medical hair loss and you've got yourself someone who will work hard for you in finding the right alternative hair.

I want to say a massive thank you to Nikki who gave me her permission to share her beautiful words and her beautiful photos. 

Nikki wears the Follea Aero2 and couldn't be happier with it. 

It's been an absolute pleasure Nikki! 

I'd love to hear your comments below ...

Stay strong and positive ladies and I'll be back next week with another post <3

Monday, 22 December 2014

Merry (almost!!) Christmas :-)

Merry (almost) Christmas!

Are you excited yet for the 'big day'?. I am! I can't wait to watch my children and loved ones open up their gifts from Santa and see them have fun on Christmas morning.

I can't wait to go out for dinner this Christmas. Something we have never done before so it's going to feel like a real treat for for us as a family!
As women (and mums, partners, sisters, aunts etc) we often work super hard to create the perfect Christmas for our family and friends. This is great and very admirable and something we should be very proud of ourselves for I think!

But what about us?

What about YOU!?

I'm more than sure you'll be getting some fab-tastic treats this Xmas and you'll be grateful and enjoy everyone in their own right!

For me personally though, nothing makes my Xmas more than the following three things ...

Christmas Jammies

Luxurious bath and body treats

New hair (or money towards new hair!!)
Now, gorgeous ones ... I'd love nothing more than to be able to send you out an email telling you that I'm giving you gorgeous free hair for Xmas as a way of saying thank you for your continued support over 2014.

I'd LOVE to send that email out but unfortunately I am not yet a millionaire so that email will have to wait! One day though maybe ..... one day <3

 What I CAN do though is make the new year a little better for you by letting you know about our January sales!

Remember the Black Friday sales we held at the end of November?
Well, this sale was so popular and the feedback we got back from you all was that the discounts we offered were very VERY welcome! And I can totally understand that as I love a good bargain too!!

So, I've sat down and worked out what the most popular products were through the whole of 2015 and created a sales section on the Aspire website and popped all the items in their for you. If you click through to the website right now you will see the JANUARY SALES SECTION listed under our shop heading on the website BUT you'll see its empty (or should I say hidden!) until midnight on the 26th December which is when our sale will start.

 Have a fantastic Christmas everyone and here's to an amazing 2015! I'd just like to say again that I really appreciate all of your support during 2014. I've had a blast and it's all down to YOU!!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

How does it feel to lose your hair?

I used to get asked this question a lot when I was younger.

"What does being bald feel like?" 

"Did it hurt when your hair fell out?" 

Questions like this used to really upset me. Not only did I NOT want to answer them but I also didn't want any reason to have to talk about the fact that I'd lost my hair. I didn't want to be reminded that I had Alopecia. All those question did to me was to open up an ageing wound.

Every question stung me and hurt me all over again on an emotional level. 

I didn't want any reminders. All I wanted was for all of it to be over. I wished I was having a nightmare and that I'd wake up soon and it would all be over. 

But that's not how life works is it .... 

As a teenager my parents took on the approach of avoidance. If a shampoo advert came on the telly they switched channels. When a mascara advert came on guess what they did? Yep you got it! They switched the channel. 

I know they were trying to protect me and did what they did to avoid upsetting me but it taught me a very bad habit which took me a good ten years to change. 

They taught me avoidance. I became an ostrich. And just like an ostrich I began burying my head in the sand as a way to protect myself when I was scared.

My fiancΓ© brought me out of myself when we met ten years ago. He didn't do anything elaborate or dazzling he just let me know that it was ok to be myself. My Alopecia didn't make him view me any differently. He thought I was a great person and that's who he fell in love with. It was from that point my confidence grew. 

It was a slow process! I took baby steps to accepting myself and my Alopecia but those important baby steps helped me get to where I wanted to be.  Those baby steps took me directly to starting my business Aspire and I can't imagine doing anything else now. 

So, now when I'm asked the question "how does it feel to lose your hair?" I can answer honestly and with confidence ...

It's painful emotionally.

Initially it robs you of a chunk of your identity.

It makes you wonder if you'll ever find that special someone who will love you regardless of your Alopecia.

It can often introduce you to depression. A depression so dark you don't know how you even manage to breath. Breathing feels like too much effort.

It makes you angry. You hate Alopecia. 

And then I remember how the other side of the coin feels .....

It made me realise how strong I am emotionally. 

It made me realise how much of an impact finding the right alternative hair can have on a person.

It made me realise I'm not alone in this.

I know this may seem like a pretty deep post for a Sunday night but the words have been tumbling around in my head all day long so I figured this was something I needed to share. 

I hope, if your reading this .... If your struggling right now that you will take some comfort in the fact that you're NOT weak either. Your strong. Your amazing and you're going to be ok :) 

Massive amounts of love and hugs to all those struggling today

Emma xxx 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Well this is new ....

Hello gorgeous ones! 

I'm blogging on the go today from my iPhone! 

I was having a conversation with my almost 13 year old son a few days ago and we were negotiating over how if he keeps out of bother at school Id allow him a friend to come and stay over on Friday night. 

He agreed to 'be good' and I agreed that if he stuck to this his friend could stay. 

"So who are you gonna ask to stay then" I asked him. He told me the name of his friend. A friend who had not been to our house before and I thought how nice it was that he'd made a new buddy at school. 

I nodded and smiled. Way to go my boy! You see, my son has Autism so every friend he makes feels like such a milestone for him. 

My son was thinking away. He was thinking hard! I could almost see the cogs in his brain turning away he was thinking so hard!! 

"What is it?" I asked him 

Awkwardly he responded .... "Mum, when my new friend comes can you, erm, if you don't mind .... Keep your hair on ?" 

ME: 😳 "yeah I guess so ...." 

He had NEVER asked me before to do this. All his friends know I have Alopecia and non of them could care less!! 

I chose my words carefully .... 

"Do you think your friend would make fun of you because I have no hair?" 

And my son chose his carefully .... 

"No I don't think so but I don't know him all that well yet and I'm not ready for him to know everything about me" 

Well played son. Well played .... 

I understood. I wasn't offended. I remember being a teen and worrying about what people would think of anything out of the ordinary. 

As my son left my bedroom after our conversation he causally turned to me and said "oh and by the way, don't wear your headscarf either mum.... You look like a gypsy" 


Love you too kiddo!!! 

Much love! 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Good morning Britian!

Late Thursday all of us girls who did the Pretty Bald calendar got a message asking us if we could get down to London to do an interview on Good Morning Britain the very next morning! 

Was I excited? YESSSSSSS

Was I scared? YESSSSSS

Going on the T.V has been on my lifetime goal list for a few years now so I knew I had to do it. So, pushing my fear to one side I found myself on the 18.58 train to to London from Sheffield. 

Not only was I nervous and a little scared about appearing on live T.V the next morning but I was also pretty scared about having to travel to London and get the tube to Paddington station all on my own. I've never travelled along as I usually drag Gary along with me and I have absolutely no sense of direction! 

I arrived in London and somehow managed to plonk myself on the correct Tube train that was to take me to Paddington station. Next came the 20 minute search outside Paddington for the car that ITV had booked for me to take me to the hotel! 

Seriously .... sometimes I just have no common sense what so ever. After huffing and puffing and almost collapsing due to an anxiety attack (Honestly I was getting myself in a right old state) I finally located my lovely driver. 

Guess where I found him????

That's right, he was waiting for me at the Taxi rank right outside of the station. Who's have thunk it eh?? 

The drive to the hotel was lovely. It was very busy in London on Thursday night and traffic was pretty manic but my driver was a true pro and I felt safe and sound despite him constantly having to switch lanes and squeeze through the tightest gaps ever between other cars, buses and taxis. 

As we headed towards Waterloo road we went over the bridge and oh my what a beautiful sight it was to the left and right of me. Lights everywhere. Beautiful :) 

I shared a room with Jen from AUK and we spent the rest of the evening (and most of the early hours!) chatting away. At one point we wondered weather or not it was worth doing to sleep as we needed to be up at 4.30am anyway!!! 

I did nod off though (hopefully not as Jen was talking as I was genuinely interested in the conversation!) ..... I was beat .... 

My alarm went off at 4.30am and i did the deadly thing that I'm sure pretty much all early morning risers do.


Not a good idea for me as I am so not a morning person anyway. 

Luckily, Jen politely switched on the main light which got me up. Many thanks for that Jen! 

A car was waiting for us outside the hotel and we all piled in and set off to the studio. 

Gwen, Elin, Nikki and Hannah



Hannah and I

We were live on air at 6.45am and 8.10am. Everyone was amazing!!! 

The girls, the film crew, the presenters and the make up artists all made us feel wonderful. I even managed to get a few selfies!! 

Selfie with Richard Arnold!

Selfie with Ben Shepard!

You can watch us online by clicking on the picture below :)

I'd love to hear what you think of the interview and the Pretty Bald calendar! 

Let me know below.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

In the spotlight! | The Elite wig by Jon Renau

For the final post in this Spotlight series I'm introducing you to the Elite wig :)

I've always been a massive fan of longer styles and up until starting Aspire I never had any interest in shorter length wigs. Aspire was a massive eye opener for me! I suddenly became obsessed. Not just obsessed with the long hair look but also shorter styles, medium length styles .... everything really!!

I wanted to create a business that would work for hair wearers everywhere. Any budget, any colour and any style.

So let's get on with it and take a more in depth look at the Elite wig!

First here's the blurb from Jon Renau on Elite ...

"The elegantly tapered silhouette of this chic short style feels as great as it looks, with cooling open cap construction and effortless wear ability."

The Elite by Jon Renau is a short style that can be worn smoothed out or slightly flicked out using a little water or styling spray.

Shorter length - less friction! This is one of the main things I love about shorter length styles like this. They do tend to last longer than longer length synthetic hair.

Elite is made from high quality synthetic fibre but she's not heat resistant so remember to be careful when you open that oven door!

Colour wise, Elite is available in an impressive selection of colours from a 1B natural black right through to a light ash blonde. She's also available in a natural salt / pepper colour (56F51) and a beautiful natural light grey / white for more mature ladies (60)

Check out the profile look that you're going to get from Elite!

Perfect for all ages thanks to the modern cut but not too modern. I think It's a really nice balance between a short sassy look and a more mature look. I think I'm going to love Elite just as much as I love the Natalie wig by Jon Renau!

The cap construction on Elite is light weight and easy to wear. An open cap allows ample ventilation to avoid over heating. This type of cap construction also makes the Elite extremely light! It only weighs 2oz!!! How cool is that ... :) 

Have you tried the Elite yet? Let me know what you think!! 

Am I going to be getting Elite in at the salon? Oh yes!!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

In the spotlight! | The Gwyneth wig by Jon Renau

Jon Renau have brought us one Human hair wig in their new 2014 Fall collection. 

Please welcome the gorgeous Gwyneth!

 Gwyneth is made using 100% Remy human hair which means you can curl her, straighten her, blow dry her out and even colour her if you'd like to.

Most of the styles that Jon Renau offer in human hair come Pre-Styled and ready to wear after just a little styling. Gwyneth is more of a blank canvas on which you can create any look.

Can you wear her exactly as she comes? Of course! The thing I like about Gwyneth though is that a few layers here and there and you can totally change her look making her 100% 'yours'.

Shown opposite worn slightly waved and in a different shade, Gwyneth gives you a great profile look.

A great little extra in this seasons collection is that two new blonde shades have been added in the Gwyneth! The 613/10S8 and the 22/16S8. Both of these shades are rooted colours which is a new addition.

Shown opposite in the colour 12FS8.

Gwyneth's cap construction is ultra luxurious :)

Featuring the famous Smart Lace front from temple to temple and a full Monofilament top, Gwyneth can be worn with the hair away from the face (no fringe / bangs needed!) The clever Mono top allows you to part the hair in any directions helping to further customise your look and create a natural look.

The fully hand-tied stretch cap is soft and comfortable with velvet ear tabs and an adjustable velvet lined nape area. I really like this cap style! It's very light weight and breathes well keeping you as cool as possible :-)

Remember what I said about that Smart Lace front? How you can pin your hair back away from your face? Well to the right you'll find a picture of myself wearing a Smart Lace wig and it's a genuine iPhone #Selfie! No airbrushing (I wouldn't even have a clue how to do that!!!).

Pretty impressive don't ya think!?

Have you seen the Gwyneth wig yet? I'd love to get your feedback on her :-)

Gwyneth is now available at Aspire as are all of the Jon Renau wigs.

Tomorrow is the last day in this series on the new 2014 Fall collection by Jon Renau and I'm going to be wrapping it up with the new Elite wig! 

See you tomorrow <3

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

In the spotlight! | Top Level by Jon Renau

I'm going to be brutally honest here.

Toppers never interested me all that much in the past. 

I know that this is down to the fact that I don't personally require a topper. I'm 100% hair free on my scalp and most of my body (those pesky under arm and chin hairs just annoy me!) so for me, a topper is useless. 

As Aspire has grown though I started to see many women coming to me for help who have thinning hair or androgenetic alopecia. For these women a topper would be welcome! 

I started researching toppers around two years ago and sadly there wasn't really much out there. A couple of human hair toppers here and there ...... a hand full of synthetic toppers etc. I found a couple of problems whilst trying to source the 'perfect' topper for my clients ... 

1 - The base size. Most ready made toppers came in just the one base size which was often too small for my clients needs.

2 - The hair length. Mostly shorter hair lengths meant that unless my client specifically wanted a heavily layered look then the ready made toppers were not going to be suitable. 

Being the perfectionist I am (and I say this through gritted teeth as often being a perfectionist is a royal pain in the butt!!!) I can never 'settle' for something. This trait transfers heavily into my working life as well as my personal life. Everything has to be the best I can possibly make it .... for my clients and also for my own peace of mind. If I don't feel I've tried my very best at something I just end up spending the following days / weeks worrying. 

With all this in mind you can imagine my delight when I spotted the new Top Level topper in Jon Renau's 2014 Fall collection! 

Jon Renau brought us the gorgeous Top Form in two lengths back in April 2014 and also the Top Notch. The addition of the Top Level leaves me feeling tickled pink :D

Top Level is a longer length topper with a lovely wave to the hair. Made using Jon Renau's high quality, fine texture synthetic fibre this piece is going to be a very versatile addition to your hair wardrobe!

Perfect not only for ladies who are experiencing thinning but also for women who simply want more volume and glamour.

My niece is always using toppers and extensions on nights out and I think this will be a piece that she's going to love along with my clients who are looking at toppers to wear on a daily basis.

The picture you will see to your right shows the position in which the Top Level should be worn. This is the ideal positioning that will give you an even hair length all the way around the piece.

What a lot of women I see do is they position their toppers by using the parting on the piece as a guide. DON'T DO THIS!
What you'll end up with is a 'wonky' look which (lets be honest) Isn't going to do your confidence any good and as I'm in the business of building confidence you can see why I'm adverse to you using this method of placement. If, when you've positioned Top Level on your head you find the parting is not in the ideal place for you simply set a new parting!! The Mono top is there for that purpose and the purpose of creating a more natural parting look.
So, moving right along to the base construction lets take a look at what were gonna get from the Top Level.

The top section of this piece is made using a material called Monofilament (Mono). Mono is a fab-tastic material that breathes well and helps give you the appearance of a natural parting.

One of the very best things about Mono (from a visual point of view) is that it gives you a very definite (if wanted) and natural look to your parting.

Mono is a semi transparent material usually so it's going to take on the appearance of what's underneath it. If Mono is on top of your scalp then you'll get your skin tone coming through and if it's on top of, for example, black hair, then the parting mono will bring that colour through also.

What are your thoughts on the new Top Level by Jon Renau? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, 6 October 2014

In the spotlight | The Elsa wig by Jon Renau

No collection could ever be complete without a shorter style :) 

The Elsa isn't the shortest style in the new 2014 Fall collection by Jon Renau but never the less she's a great length and style that has a few added extras thrown in their for good measure ...

Let's get a little from Jon Renau ..... 

"Polished combination of comfort and versatility, this graceful lace front style features HD fibre that can be straightened, curled or crimped with heat" 

Elsa can be worn smooth and sleek or with more volume by using your fingers to tease in volume. Thanks to the HD fibre you can also change up the style by popping in some heated rollers to create even more volume and a wave or curl should you choose to do so.

If we take a look at Elsa from the side, you can see what a beautiful cut this is. Longer layers on the top and nice, neat and tidy into the nape make Elsa look stylish and sophisticated.

Brush the hair back to create the look shown in the photo opposite or brush the hair downward and feathered around the face (always using the Jon Renau HD comb of course!) to create a more rounded short length bob look. 

As mentioned above, the HD fibre really add tons of versatility to the Elsa wig. I like HD fibre wigs so long as they are not super long or all one length but I have to say that i LOVE shorter length HD wigs :-)

Elsa features an open cap with the famous Smart Lace front. Smart Lace is made from a material called welded lace that is more rigid than, say, French or Swiss lace. French / Swiss lace would require bonding or taping into place in order to sit flat and provide security whilst wearing. Welded lace on the other hand is much more durable and sits nice and flat without having to use glue or tape. 

Velvet ear tabs on the Elsa make the experience of wearing hair much more comfortable than it used to be and adjustable straps at the nape area allow you to bring the cap size in smaller for more security. 

Double sided tape doesn't work so well on velvet I've found but small sections of PU could always be added to the ear tabs if you're set on wearing Elsa with tape. 

 All in all Elsa is another great style from Jon Renau. I'd just like to point out as well that although we do offer ALL of the Jon Renau wigs at Aspire, I am not sponsored by this company or any company for that matter! 

All reviews, posts and ramblings are my own and my own opinion on each brand or product. 

Have you seen / tried / worn the Elsa yet?

Are you a massive JR fan like me and my clients are!? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Elsa in the comments below :-)