When Gerry Hergert named her salon Abstrax Hair Designs, she was thinking of the prime listing she would recieve in the telephone directory. "At that time, yellow pages advertising was a large part of our marketing, representing a hefty monthly expenditure. Our name afforded me a prime, first listing location," she says. The salon has come a long way since those early days, weathering many changes and growth. Her business has now become one that makes a lasting impact on her customer's lives. Abstrax specializes in hair restoration services and will custom-design your hair loss remedy. She adds, "We make you the person you were before your hair loss because we offer many solutions to this single problem." By considering your unique pattern of hair loss, your age and your hair's natural growing patterns and tendencies, we will develop an individualized solution, tailored to your needs and allow you to look like you again."
CW: How did you get started in this industry?
After I graduated high school I immediately enrolled in Franklin Beauty School in Elizabeth. I worked part time while going to school and after graduation worked in a salon full time until I had my children. I resumed working part time in several salons until 1976, when I acheived my life's dream of opening my first full service salon. We named it, 'A Beauty on the Mall' and had ten hair stylists and two nail technicians.
CW: What other schooling did you have?
I attended Christine Valley School in New York to study dermatology and after receiving my certification as an Esthetician; we introduced skin care into the salon.
CW: How did you get into the hair loss arena?
After being in business for 14 years we started looking around for something to enhance our business, something that we could apply our years of experience in the hair industry to. At this time, I noticed there were a number of men wearing hair that in my opinion did not match their color correctly and was not blended right. As a cosmotologist, I thought I could do a better job. Additionally, I had a number of clients dealing with cancer who were suffering from hair loss. I was interested in helping them so I began looking into hair loss and its remedies. I recieved an invitation from the American Hair Loss Council to a conference pertaining to hair replacement in New Orleans. This was the same year we purchased our first hair graft and joined the American Hair Loss Council. I began networking in the industry and met several council members. I found being a council member beneficial as it allowed me to discuss many different aspects of the hair loss business. Finally in 2012, I recieved my Masters Hair Replacement Specialist Certificate issued by the American Hair Loss Council.
CW: How is Abstrax Hair Designs different today?
Two years ago we made several major investments. The first was becoming a vendor for the Government, and as such, we are certified with the Veterans Administration of provide hair prosthetics for Veterans both male and female, in the form of hair graphs and hair extensions. I find this to be the most rewarding part of my business, being able to support our servicemen and women in their hour of need. We also support cancer patients with wigs and hair graphs while they are going through chemotherapy or raditaion treatments.
CW: Tell us about some of the different organizations you are a part of.
We belong to many different organizations such as 'Children With Hair Loss' and we are considering joining the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF). This is how networking works: we met Miss Delaware, Kayla Martel who is a spokesperson for the Children With Hair Loss and NAAF. We have started networking with the local Oncology Nurses Society, which allows us access to the local hospitals and their cancer patients. We represent the Lindi Skin Care Products, which were developed specifically for cancer patients.
CW: Tell us about your work with Trichology.
Last year we became a Capilia Head First Center, one of 46 centers in the United States and the only Capilia Head First Center in New Jersey offering Trichology. Professional hairdressers often observe clients who are very concerned about their thinning hair and scalp problems. However, since hairdressers are not technically trained to identify and treat these issues, the client's problems often go untreated. Trichology is the scientific study of the health of the hair and scalp. This science brings togehter cosmetology and dermatology concepts, to allow is to identify scalp disorders and offer solutions to clients in a proven, professional way. The science of Trichology has been around for many years but has been ignored for a long time. It has helped thousands of people suffering from hair loss and scalp issues. We became aware of Trichology through our networking with the American Hair Loss Council and Capilia, which is the leading Hair Loss Professional Group in Canada. In conjunction with Novera International and Laboratoire Nature we have become Certified Scalp and Hair Specialists. This allows us to offer hairstyles and extensions, color, frostings, perms, scalp care, and hair loss solutions to a much higher standard than previously before.