When Siobian Jones started her career as a stylist, she was a motivated, goal-oriented person with energy and creativity in spades.
Twenty years later, she is still that person, but instead of welcoming clients in and out of her salon chair every eight weeks for a haircut, she’s helping people find solutions for their hair loss and helping them live their lives with confidence.
“My mission is to help people find whatever solution they’re looking for and show them validation and compassion,” says Siobian, owner and operator of The Mighty Wig, currently headquartered in a cozy studio space at Mighty Mud. “Helping someone through alopecia is very different from helping someone who’s going through chemotherapy. Often, they aren’t validated. They’re dismissed with insensitive comments, not necessarily out of cruelty, but from not knowing any different. People think it’s vain, but you cannot grow up in a society where your looks are judged, and then, when you lose your hair, expect people to not care.”
Siobian (pronounced Sha-von) started her styling career at an Aveda salon in Murray, Kentucky, followed by a few years in booth rental at another salon. One of her clients was on the board for a playhouse in town, and she invited Siobian to do hair backstage. This experience sparked a new, enduring interest, one that fed her creative side.
“I didn’t grow up knowing much about theatre or going to shows, but I’d be backstage doing hair and fell in love with that community,” she says. “I had another client who was the movement coach for Murray State, and she connected me with Heidi Ortega, the costume designer. I ended up working with them for two years. She was the one who recommended me for the Utah Shakespeare Festival as the cosmetologist.”
Things moved quickly for her then, particularly since most people who work in the theatrical wig department don’t have a cosmetology license or any experience in traditional salons. This gave Siobian an edge. The Utah Shakespeare Festival led to the Chicago Shakespeare Festival, where she worked under award-winning wig designer, Melissa Veal. While her professional experience in Chicago was top notch, the living conditions were less desirable.
“We considered staying in Chicago since it’s a theatre mecca, but we got 76 inches of snow, and it was negative temperatures for 25 consecutive days. I took public transit, but it took over an hour across five types of transportation. It was miserable,” says Siobian, laughing. “At the time, my husband was looking for a specific college program and found one at The University of Nevada in Las Vegas. He’s like, ‘What do you think about Las Vegas,’ and I was like, ‘Yes!’ I remember standing on the train platform right after that, and it was so cold, and I was looking over the rail, thinking, I will never complain about 120-degree weather. I will remember this moment right here.”
The move to Las Vegas provided warm weather, but it also opened the door for Siobian to gain experience as a stylist and wig designer for a variety of theatres and shows. For five years, she worked on various shows, such as The Criss Angel Show and ShowStoppers, along with a steady job at the Wig Cottage, where the majority of the clientele were people dealing with hair loss from cancer treatments.
While the work experience was good, Siobian felt burnout from the Vegas show environment. Right on time, she and her husband, Gary, who’s a professional white-water rafter, moved to Idaho for his job, and she picked up odd jobs while discerning her next move.
“We traveled around so he could do his thing, and I’d work for companies doing anything – a beer tender, a front desk person, etc. I say I worked in wilderness therapy to gain my soul back,” she says, laughing. “It’s what I needed to find myself again.”
She started to find herself again at the Idaho Shakespeare Theatre as the wig designer and cosmetologist for Julius Caesar, where the environment was collaborative and edifying. Yet, after one season, she and Gary decided it was time to move back east and spend some time in Knoxville, where Siobian spent her formative years. Soon, she was hired at the Clarence Brown Theatre as a wig designer, but it was 2019, and what loomed the following year would change Siobian’s career forever.
“I had four contracts in a row my first year, but then my dad had a heart attack and needed a triple bypass, so I spent three months taking care of him in 2019,” she says. “Then Covid hit. I did two wig design gigs, and then part of the third, and then it was all canceled. Everything got canceled.”
Though Gary was still able to work throughout the pandemic, Siobian’s career was at a standstill, and to make matters more frustrating, applying for unemployment isn’t simple for a freelancer.
“It took six months to start having unemployment because I’d worked in five states and they couldn’t figure me out. I finally called the governor’s office and left a ten-minute, detailed message,” she says. “I got a call back a couple of days later from someone telling me my paperwork had been flagged and elevated. They got me all of my backpay within about six weeks.”
That backpay became the catalyst for what would become The Mighty Wig, a deeply personal and passionate endeavor to help people with hair loss.
“When I started The Mighty Wig, I was able to bring in customers and actually have relationships with people and get back to some of my salon roots. I help people find wigs, toppers, and even hats. The stigma behind hair loss is that people think you’re sick,” she says, “but there are so many reasons why hair loss happens, permanent and temporary.”
Siobian’s clients range from people living with alopecia and those dealing with the effects of cancer treatment to postpartum women and those going through menopause. She also sees clients with Trichotillomania, otherwise known as hair-pulling disorder. Siobian specializes in both natural and synthetic wigs, and helps clients keep their hair pieces in good shape with regular treatments, resizing, and repairs.
“This has been the most rewarding and healing thing I’ve ever done. There is nothing like having someone come in who’s feeling hopeless for whatever reason, and they’re coming to me with their last bit of hope, and to be able to show compassion…” she says. “If I don’t have something in my shop, we’ll sit on the computer and shop together and look for vendors and find a solution. It builds such a personal experience. To watch them with that final wig that does work, just the way you see the shift. It’s so sudden. It’s incredible. I love it.”
Learn more at wwwTheMightyWig.com.