When Nai Packnett had to close her hair salon during the beginning of the pandemic, her second business came to the rescue: A fledgling wig shop that has grown through the power of social media.
Packnett opened her standalone shop in early 2020, after years of mastering styling her own hair and renting salon booths, all under the business name Hair by Nai. When salons and barber shops had to close that spring, Packnett turned to wig-making, a practice she had long been interested in pursuing.
By March, she launched her business, Never Too Wiggy.
Over a year later, Packnett’s new business venture has opened several doors for her through the power of social media and loyalty built with customers. Her wig business has earned more than 1,000 Facebook followers and garnered sitewide attention for her creativity during hardship.
“The wig business has really saved my hair business, pretty much,” Packnett said in a phone interview. “At the time, there was no in-person contact, and, of course, you had to make some type of revenue.”
Moving forward, Packnett said, both businesses are here to stay.
Wig industry poised for growth during, after pandemic
Packnett, like countless barbers and stylists in Texas and beyond, had to close shop and stop taking on new clients last spring.
Opening her standalone salon in 2020 was the culmination of years of practicing on hair — first, her own, then on friends and family, mastering dreads, braids and weaves. Packnett turned her passion into a business during her first year of college and rented a salon booth in Arlington, where she has lived since she was 18.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Packnett recalled, when she had to close her appointment books.
Wig-making had long interested Packnett, and the pandemic closure gave her the push to get to work. She had started a page for Never Too Wiggy in January, and hit the ground running when she could not seat clients. She found suppliers through WhatsApp and relied on Facebook Marketplace for bookings and sales.
Some of Packnett’s wig customers have been her longtime customers.
Dakota Myles has gone to Packnett for styling for three years. Her sister, Kellie, recommended her after both moved from the Philadelphia area to Grapevine. Finding the right stylist for Black and African-American textured hair can prove difficult, Dakota said, but she found and built trust in Packnett.
“She’s the only person that I will allow to touch my hair,” Myles said with a laugh.
Myles was wary about going out during the pandemic, but she also had reservations about diving into the world of wigs. However, she had a familiar guide in Packnett to get acquainted with the change.
“I was kind of on the fence, but I trusted it because it was her, and I’m glad that I did,” Myles said. “They take a lot less time and they’re just really food quality, too, so that I can really appreciate.”
Myles is not the only one to branch out during the age of social distancing. The market for wigs and hair extensions is poised to grow by as much as $2.4 billion between 2020 and 2024, according to a March study from market research group Technavio. The pandemic had a positive impact on the market by prompting business owners like Packnett to retool their business models.
After the pandemic upended her industry, Packnett said she has found a new pandemic “normal” in maintaining and expanding her two businesses. She sees two or three customers per day, and dedicates her weekends to Never to Wiggy and restocking her salon.
The fledgling business has caught the eye of people looking to elevate Black business owners and creators, especially those who have found a new niche during the last two years. Packnett was one of several entrepreneurs featured on Facebook’s #BuyBlack Summit. The three-hour virtual conference featured industry experts who spoke about the power of social media as a business tool.
In time, she envisions spending more of her time working at Never Too Wiggy than behind her salon chair. After eight years of tending to hair professionally, she said she would like to see where the growing e-commerce industry takes her.
“Don’t get me wrong; I love my clients and I love doing hair,” Packnett said. “I just feel like being able to be at home more and doing what I love still is so amazing to me.”