MANILA, Philippines - The sound of laughing customers is music to her ears. The giggles and shrieks are almost automatic when clients try on the wigs at Lynelle, a store that sells wigs and hairpieces. And for owner Jennifer Sevilla-Go, the positive cheer is an encouraging sign that she chose the right venture.
Back when she was still hosting That’s Entertainment, Jennifer always paid close attention to her hair. “I was known for having different hairstyles. I like to experiment, minsan naka-tiss yung bangs, minsan kulot, minsan chin-length, ginagaya-gaya yung hair namin ng fans, kaya dapat iba-iba,” she said.
Her busy acting schedule did not hinder her plans to become an entrepreneur. And since she was interested in clothes, she started designing outfits for her friends. She employed a few sewers and ran the business at home, while still actively doing movies and TV shows. In time, she started getting contracts to make uniforms for companies. Unfortunately, the manufacturers in China offered the same service at a much lower cost. Just like the other local manufacturers, Jennifer had no choice but to close shop.
But the actress did not exactly lose everything. Thanks to her clothing venture, she met a dashing businessman named Saymour Go, who supplied mannequins to stores and boutiques. He ran a store in Tutuban Mall, which sells all the components in visual merchandising including wigs.
A certified style enthusiast, Jennifer discovered the convenience of wearing wigs. She brought the hairpieces to her tapings and instead of spending hours fixing her hair, she simply wore the wig of her choice, and she’s good to go.
“Normally after a scene, you change your clothes, and fix your hair. Ako, I change my clothes tapos I wear a wig and then I rest and wait for my next scene. Yung iba, they still have to blow dry and style their hair especially if it’s a different scene like a party, or flashback. Madalas iba-ba yung kinukunan sa isang araw so palit ka ng palit ng hairstyle. Kaya madalas, sina-shampoo ulit yung hair, tapos dina-dry bago mag-shoot. Ang hirap di ba?”
For someone who spent years and years working in a movie set, the number of hours saved was very significant. In time, her co-stars became very interested in her hairpieces. “I would bring a few during my tapings, palaging nauubos because they buy it,” she said. Soon, Jennifer became known in the production circle as the supplier of quality wigs.
In 2007, on the year she married Saymour, Lynelle Hair Fashion officially opened in her husband’s mannequin showroom in Tutuban. Later on, she opened her first stand-alone outlet in Virra Mall and at the Dela Rosa Square in Makati.
Lynelle offers a vast collection of Japanese Kanekalon synthetic fibers and European and Asian human hair wigs. The store has over a hundred different hairpieces in various cuts and colors, including the famous hairstyles of movie stars like Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston, Robert Pattinson, Lady Gaga and many more.
While wigs and hairpieces have always been available in the market, there weren’t too many styles available. “In the past, people were not open to the idea of wearing a wig. Yung mga nag-wi-wig yung mga nakakalbo, may sakit, o kung kailangan mag-costume.”
She added that in other countries hairpieces are part of one’s personal wardrobe. “For example, si Angelina Jolie minsan mahaba ang buhok, tapos biglang short hair, that’s the magic of wigs, you can change your look anytime,” she explained.
The growing demand for stylish hairpieces clearly signifies the changing perception towards her products. “Nowadays, women are more open to wigs. Di ba minsan, gusto mong mag change ng look, for an evening affair you want long hair, pag nag-wig ka na okay na.”
She added that the accessory is beginning to be a staple in any stylish girl’s closet. “Para na siyang little black dress, you have to own at least one. So you must have at least one wig for days when you want to look different,” she said.
Lynelle sells hairpieces for all kinds of budgets. “We have the synthetic, colored wig na for one-time use, it starts at P300, eto yung ginagamit sa cosplay or teenagers who dress up like Animé characters. We also have first-class synthetic wigs from Japan, price starts at P1,000. These wigs last longer, especially if it is well-maintained,” she said. The wigs are packed in boxes complete with instructions on how to clean and store the hairpieces.
Aside from wigs, Jennifer also has her own line of clip-on hair extensions called Keira; these are long strands attached to the natural hair to instantly increase the length. According to the entrepreneur, one of the best contributions of hair products is the practical use of clip-on hair extensions. It enables men and women to have long and silky tresses in a flash.
“Nakakatuwa siyang gamitin kasi biglang humahaba ang hair mo. We have it in all colors. You can even have it curly or straight. No need to wait years so you can have long hair. You can have sexy hair in minutes,” she said. We didn’t realize she was wearing extensions during the interview, until she started removing the clipped hair from her head.
Keira hair extensions are easy to use. A tutorial video is available on the site, with Jennifer herself gamely demonstrating how to securely attach the extensions. Available in different colors for both straight and curly hair, the additional length clearly guarantees a sexier look. The clip-ons can also add volume to thinning hair.
Once attached wearers can style it like their natural hair. “You can blow-dry, use a straightening iron, rollers, you can style it any way that you want,” she said.
Lynelle Hair Fashion stores at Virra Mall and at dela Rosa Square in Makati are often visited by production designers, cross-dressers and animé enthusiasts. Her wigs and extensions are seen in nearly every show on television.
“We did Marian Rivera’s long hair in Amaya. We used Keira extensions. Kahit yung hair ng mga boys, those are all extensions. Michael V gets his wigs from us for his show Bubble Gang. Other shows like Banana Split, Goin’ Bulilit, lahat sila sa amin kumukuha. We supplied the wigs in The Sound of Music and Little Mermaid. I have an advantage because I am very familiar with production, kasi nga I do movies. And so I know what they need.” Lynelle also supplies leading hair salons.
Jennifer looks forward to the fun atmosphere at Lynelle every day. “You always hear people laughing, palaging masaya. Minsan mga employees on their lunch break pupunta sila dito, they look for wigs for their office party. Minsan naman mga gays, ang lalakas magtawanan, ang saya-saya nila. I feel so fortunate the store is such a happy place.”
In celebration of the Christmas season, all wigs are sold at 20 percent off until Dec. 31. Lynelle also sells accessories like bumpits, a do-it-yourself kit for bouffant hairdos similar to the signature look of Jackie O and other stylish women in the ’60s.
Lynelle also has multi-colored bandanas, a fashionable solution for those unexpected “bad hair days” or for those who simply want to cover their heads. The accessory is often used by patients suffering from thinning hair due to medical treatments.
With the growing demand for her products, Jennifer is busy running the business and being a doting mother to three-year-old son Simon. As for her showbiz career, she was part of the indie film Bisperas directed by Jeffrey Jeturian. It won the Best Film award at the Cinemalaya Film Festival. It also bagged the Best Asian-Middle Eastern Film award at the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival.
And while her husband openly supports her movie career, for now she is happy to be focusing on her hairy business.