From making wigs to changing lives, SE Queens business thrives

By Sadef Ali Kully

The hair industry in southeast Queens is big business from salons that braid and twist strands into special dos to wigs in every shape, length and color one can imagine.

But sometimes hair means more than changing a style — sometimes hair can be life-changing.

At least it is for the nonprofit Where There’s A Need Inc., an organization dedicated to changing what hair means after its loss because of an illness.

It creates hats with hair, scarves with hair and baseball caps with hair, as well as turbans and wig alternatives for older and young women, girls and children who have suffered from hair loss due to illnesses such as cancer, alopecia hair loss and/or discoid lupus.

Its main office is based in southeast Queens with offices in Florida and Georgia.

“We really specialize in children’s wigs,” Cheryl James, CEO and founder of “Where There’s A Need Inc., said. “Sometimes we do special turbans for seniors.”

Where There’s A Need also gives back to the community with cancer awareness workshops in school, senior homes and hospitals across the borough and works with the American Cancer Society offices in Queens and Brooklyn Hospital.

James is also the creator of the organization’s hair scarf, which has a patent and copyright.

James lives in Jamaica and holds a theology doctorate from North Carolina College of Theology. She is a wife and mother of four, and has served her community for over the last 20 years.

For James, it all started when her daughter’s friend had a brain aneurysm and suffered from hair loss right before heading back to school.

“So I attached some pieces of hair to a beautiful scarf for her,” she said. “It started with her, but as a person of faith, I believe I was inspired by God.”

After a few years, James started getting calls for her hair and scarves — word had gotten around. Today her business is 10 years old and she has serviced hundreds of women and children across the city and around the country.

“We are a small business and our funding is small. We try to do what we can with what we have,” she said.

James said out-of-state customers usually purchase the wigs, but many New Yorkers receive her wigs in New York through the American Cancer Society offices in Rego Park and Forest Hills.

James was honored in 2008 with a city of New York Proclamation for her years of service to the community.

For more information, visit www.wheretheresaneed.org or call 866-803-6095.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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