Finding More Than a Wig with Susie Kirch's Tickled Pink
● By Sue Ralston
Pink PowerOctober 2015
By Sue Ralston
Photos: Mandy Reed
Four years ago, Susie Kirch’s young niece, Jill, was diagnosed with cancer. When it came time to find a wig after chemotherapy, it wasn’t easy. “We had to go out of town to find a good one, something youthful enough for her,” recalls Kirch. A couple of years earlier, Susie and her sisters had lost their mother to ovarian cancer. When they bought wigs for her online, the companies wouldn’t give them a refund if they weren’t right, only a credit.
From these difficulties, Tickled Pink was born in 2012. A homey boutique run from Kirch’s Anderson home, Tickled Pink sells wigs, scarves, hats and other head coverings to those who have lost their hair because of chemotherapy. But it’s not just a shop, according to one customer. “She has a really nice home and a studio dedicated to the business. When you walk in the door, you just feel like Susie has been your best friend forever,” says Ann Carter, who was referred to Tickled Pink by Solace Cancer Care of Redding. “When you’re diagnosed with cancer, it’s shocking enough, but then after chemotherapy, you face losing your hair.” Kirch not only helped her select a wig that was the perfect color and fit; she helped Carter shave off her hair. “I didn’t want to wait for it to fall out,” Carter says. “We went out on her back porch and Susie gave me a GI Jane haircut. We laughed so hard that we cried.”
Kirch, who worked in medical and dental offices before she retired, says her best referrals come from happy clients. She works by appointment only, meeting with customers one-on-one and making sure they don’t feel rushed. She stocks about 25 to 35 wigs in various styles and colors that customers can try on in a private, nurturing space. If nothing suits, they look together at color swatches and place an order. Once the wig comes in, clients are not obligated to buy it if it’s not perfect. “I make sure they’re completely happy before they make that all important decision to buy,” says Kirch. “I love to see the smile on their faces when they try them on.”
The wigs she carries are synthetic hair, which hold their style and cost much less. “They’re so much better made than they used to be,” says Kirch. “They’re made with a sheer, monofilament top now, which looks more natural and allows air to circulate.” Dimensional highlights, gradient colors and shadowed roots make them look more authentic than wigs of previous generations. She also stocks accessories such as wig stands and brushes, cotton caps to wear underneath and shampoo that’s environmentally friendly.
Loreen Becker sought Kirch out after she was diagnosed with breast cancer last December. After chemotherapy in the spring, she went to Tickled Pink for help. “The minute I called her, we had an instant rapport,” says Becker. “I got one of the Halo wigs and I wear it with a cute hat. I have migraines so the weight of a full wig is too much.” A Halo wig is open at the top, and is designed to be worn with a hat or scarf. “I get compliments on my cute hats all the time, but it’s really the hair that looks good,” she says with a laugh.
Kirch considers Tickled Pink as much a service to her customers as a business. She encourages her clients to check with their insurance company about coverage. If the insurance company isn’t helpful, Kirch will call and even help with the billing or other paperwork. “I truly feel blessed to provide this service so life is a little easier on my clients during this difficult time. I’m just so happy to help someone who is down.”
Tickled Pink Wigs • By appointment only • (530) 410-4344
[email protected] • tpwigs.com