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Extensions: A Recession-Proof Industry

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As someone who’s been in the extension industry for two decades, it’s safe to say I’ve pretty much seen it all. Through everything, there’s one thing I’m sure of. Women will give up almost anything before giving up their extensions.

When I was a stylist in 2009 during the huge economic recession, my clients never left my chair. They’d tell me stories about their immense financial struggles but would still splurge on themselves due to one fundamental truth: Women will always want to feel beautiful. 

In contrast to everything else going on in the world at that time, 2009 was one of my best years. In fact, it prompted me to launch Laced Hair Extensions in 2010. In these past ten years –– Has it really been that long? –– Laced has blossomed into something I never imagined. I’ve come from selling my hair to close friends to shipping hair globally in multiple methods and textures, plus educating stylists all over the world in my techniques. 

For me, the most surprising thing about all of this has been the transformative power of extensions for both stylists and clients. We all know that having well done hair makes us feel more confident. But beyond that, extensions can provide us with dream hair we’d never be able to create on our own. I know this is the fact of the matter for me.

When I initially went through treatment for my brain tumor and eventual Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, I lost nearly 70% of my hair. I was left with extremely fine, thin hair and badly damaged confidence.

The women that surrounded me during these treatments mirrored similar reactions and struggles during their own health journeys, inspiring me to start the Laced Hair Foundation to gift extensions to those who have fallen upon difficult times. Every time I meet and interact with a nominee, the transformative power of a full head of long, beautiful hair becomes that much more clear. 

From a stylist’s perspective, extensions allowed me the financial freedom and security I could have only dreamed of in hair school. My biggest passion is passing this skillset onto other women through Laced Academy. I’ve seen stylists I’ve trained double their earnings at 20 years old, and there’s nothing that makes me more proud of what I do than being able to empower these individuals.

I also take the success of the stylists who work locally at my salon very seriously. Because of this, I was nervous about keeping my full staff on as we went into the pandemic. Luckily, extensions proved their staying power yet again, and I was able to keep every single stylist with full books immediately upon reopening. In fact, 2020 is on track to improve upon 2019’s performance for all aspects of Laced. 

When it comes to extensions, there will always be a new trend, method or go-to look. The real test of a stylist’s staying power is their ability to grab onto this ever-changing market and hold on like crazy.

Lacy Gadegaard
Lacy Gadegaard
Lacy Gadegaard is a celebrity hairstylist, extension specialist and CEO of Laced Hair.