By Luke Baynes
Mention the word “rug” these days to Agnes Perellie and she’ll likely talk about the carpeting currently being laid at her newly renovated Williston business.
But had you uttered the same word 30 years ago, when Perellie was getting her start in the hair restoration field, she might have mistaken it as a crude toupee quip.
“It’s like night and day,” Perellie said of the hairpieces once derisively referred to as a synonym for shag carpets. “I’ve seen it go a long way from something that was the butt of a joke to something that you can’t even tell that it’s not their hair.”
Today, Perellie’s Blair Park-based HairBuilders is on the cutting edge of hair restoration, featuring hair replacement, hair loss control therapies and referrals for hair transplant surgeries for both men and women. It also offers free wigs to people undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
“As far as men and women go, hair loss is hair loss. Male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness are very similar,” Perellie said. “I personally treat them the same. The difference would be the length of hair. A woman’s not going to want the same amount of hair a man would want, but the area’s about the same.”
The original location of HairBuilders was on Church Street in Burlington. It moved to Williston’s Blair Park in the 1990s. Perellie, who was instrumental in the move to Williston, became co-owner six years ago. She bought out her silent partner last August.
“I looked for someplace that was discreet and private, where somebody can walk in the building and nobody knows where they’re going,” Perellie said. “It’s not set up like a salon. It’s set up like you’re going into an eye exam or a doctor’s office. We try and keep it private, and each room where someone would go in for their monthly service is all self-contained.”
Perellie, 62, admitted that it was a risk to become a sole proprietor so late in her business career, but she hopes that her 38-year-old daughter and current employee, Karen Morse, will be her heir apparent.
“Maybe I’ll slow down in about 5 or 10 years,” she laughed.
In the meantime, Perellie will keep taking life one day—and scalp—at a time.
“I can honestly say that there’s not one day that I’ve worked in this field that I have gotten out of bed and said, ‘Ugh, I have to go to that God-awful job,’” Perellie said. “I love my job. Probably the most rewarding thing anyone can do is helping someone else.”