Most of us are left or right brain dominant. We’re more logical (left) or creative (right). All of us with healthy brains have traits from both sides, but favor one or the other. I’m more creative. My husband, more logical. (Though his adventures with grandchildren attest to an active right brain as well. i.e. Drives on which kids determine what directions to turn. A treasure hunt where kids wear special sunglasses to ward off ghosts in the haunted woods.)
Salon owner/designer Sherri Renee Romm has turned both sides of her brain into a thriving business. She creates comfortable, realistic looking hairpieces she calls “enhancements.”
Sherri Renee, who lives in Baltimore, MD, majored in fine art her first year of college. Realizing it would be “too hard” to making a living as an artist, she switched to computer engineering. She worked as a systems consultant for Fortune 500 companies including IBM. At night, she attended Maryland College of the Arts. 10 years later, she emerged with a BFA.
Sherri Renee’s husband’s hair was thinning. She helped him search for a hair piece. “It was rough finding something that looked real,” she says. Eventually her husband connected with a doctor. They innovated a system (hairpiece) that looked dermatologically correct and found a factory to produce it.
Meanwhile (Godsign alert), Sherri Renee’s good friend came down with cancer. “She bought a wig but never left the house,” Sherri Renee says. She determined to help. She made a mold of her friend’s skull from components used in casts for broken limbs. She selected light and natural materials and had a wig made by the factory producing men’s hairpieces for her husband. She hired a stylist to cut the wig.
“My friend was transformed,” Sherri Renee says. “She started feeling better and going out. I was transformed, too. I’d found a huge calling. I’m a little OCD, detail oriented. I like figuring out solutions, thinking up things that don’t exist. I’d found a calling that merged my strengths, plus a way to make others happy.”
This was in the early 90s. Men’s hair replacements had become popular, especially through Hair Club for Men. But, Sherri Renee reports, “The women’s industry hadn’t caught up. Women didn’t want to shave their heads to glue something on.”
Word spread about the hairpiece she’d created. Salons began calling. She worked with alopecia and cancer patients. She affiliated with the trauma/burn center at Johns Hopkins.
After 2 years, she “could afford to quit” her engineering job. Unable to color or cut the hairpieces she was making, she went back to school again. This time for a cosmetology degree. And later for a senior cosmetology license, which enabled her to teach others how to work with her hairpieces.
Her then husband (since divorced) sold the manufacturing/wholesale side of his business in 2001. Sherri Renee was determined to continue. Due to thyroid problems, her hair was thinning and she began wearing her own product. As an artist, she studied the aesthetic aspects of hair. She observed chiaroscuro and other nuances present in natural hair; she rendered color on her enhancements.
When a Florida client complained her hairpiece felt too hot, Sherri Renee experimented with creating bases from different fabrics. On a trip to Paris, she visited a fabric store. She found a lightweight, durable, flesh colored Parisian silk—the perfect effect she sought. She had real strands of hair put into the new fabric, one at a time, by hand. She patented several designs. She customizes pieces for each client, including fringes, parts, crowns and full enhancements.
At her salon, Versacchi Studios, in Baltimore, about half of Sherri Renee’s clients seek alternative hair. Son, Jarod, 24, works with his mom. Sherri Renee also collaborates with a film stylist. Hollywood actresses usually wear wigs, she says, so their hair appears consistent from scene to scene.
In her spare time (LOL), this whirling dervish enjoys painting, traveling, yoga and hanging out with pet dogs Kahlo, Tia and Max.
Sherri Renee enhancements are also available at other top salons in Maryland as well as in Virginia and Washington, D.C. And at Antonino’s in Birmingham, MI. My friend Zina Kramer’s a client of Anthony Marsala, of Antonino’s. (See the earlier column about Sam Kramer’s Bar Mitzvah.) Anthony showed Zina Sherri Renee’s enhancements; she mentioned them to me. I tried one. It clips on in seconds, looks natural, is convenient and comfortable. I’m a fan.
“Hair is the ultimate fashion accessory,” Sherri Renee says. I agree. No matter how pretty my outfit, if my hair doesn’t look right, I don’t look right. Or feel right.
Thanks, Sherri Renee, for all you do to bolster women’s confidence. And thanks, Zina, for a heads up that’s literally a heads up.