Become a Commericial Wig-Maker

Few jobs seem as inaccessible and mysterious as that of the professional wig-maker. Yet, strange as the job may sound, it is actually an important and central part of many industries, and every year many people train to become a wig maker – a job which also entails making beards and toupees, and requires a degree of technical knowledge that is usually learned through a combination of formal learning and on-the-job-training.
And it isn’t a job for the work shy, either. Despite the image it might conjure up – that of a serene atmosphere with all the time in the world, perhaps – the job is not usually without its noise and it can at times be hard on the hands (with workers producing an average of 150 wigs per day).
Although its a job suitable for both males and females, many wig-makers tend to be women working conventional hours in factory-type conditions (although this largely depends on the manufacturer, and some may be more homely than others). And, although the general work load consists of making only several kinds of wig, there is often great variety within those parameters, with some orders being for afro wigs (which are made using a special “heated cupboard” that turns the hair frizzy).
Generally speaking the wig-making side of things involves putting a fabric cap onto a machine and threading tubes of hair – usually artificial – through needles; a process which can take as little as several minutes per wig. This sews hair onto the cap apparatus as it moves around, and the motion of the machine enables the wig-maker to concentrate solely on the sewing duties.
To become a sought-after wig-maker you’ll need to have confidence and concentration skills to rival a serious chess player. Flexibility is also called for, as orders change suddenly and the pressure is on to get a brand-new style of wig, toupee or beard out and off on delivery to its eagerly expectant customers.
In terms of training, most wig-makers require at least three months’ specialist training to effectively use the machines (often of Italian descent and highly specific in the jobs they do). This can be done either after gaining employment with a wig manufacturer – where often no other qualifications are required – or by attending a City & Guilds course in Wig-making; this qualification or an ITEC Diploma in wig-making is essential for some work in theatre and film, which often command a much higher salary and more opportunities for future employment.
Sadly, despite the hard work involved to become proficient, wig-makers aren’t well known for their wealth, so don’t head into this career unless a passion for seeing your creations realised is enough to satisfy you until you break into the theatre or movie industry.
That said, wig-making is something which can provide an immense amount of job satisfaction, especially when those pieces created in-house are seen for the first time in film or on television.


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