May 22 - British women struggling to cope with mounting debts are selling their hair as a novel way of making money, with some earning up to £250 for the best quality natural blonde hair. Hayley Platt reports.
Annette Moore's long blonde hair has been her crowing glory for years. Now she's decided to get the lot chopped off. But she won't be paying the salon - they'll be paying her. SOUNDBITE: Graham Wake, founder and owner of Bloomsbury Wigs, saying (English): "You're looking at anything from about £60 upwards, I would have to put a top on it of about £120." With money tight and bills to pay a number of British women are selling their hair to make some extra cash. And Annette's natural blond locks are among the most sought after. SOUNDBITE: Annette Moore, saying (English): "Well I need the money really, I might use it for going abroad with friends in August or just keep it aside for the bills really." It's a multi-million dollar industry and it's growing - Bloomsbury say they receive up to 40 envelopes of hair a week. Those that make the grade will either be made into a wig or sold as hair extensions. The late British singer Amy Winehouse once replied when asked if her hair was all her own "It's all mine because I bought it." The majority of hair comes from China, India or Eastern Europe, but that's changing. Bloomsbury Wigs run by Graham Wake, is one of a small number of so-called 'hair harvesting salons'. SOUNDBITE: Graham Wake, founder and owner of Bloomsbury Wigs, saying (English): "This is a new market for the UK, I would say that about 50 percent of our purchased hair is now within the UK and I would hope to say that within about a year we'll be buying a 100 percent of our hair purely from the UK." Graham estimates he'll spend £100,000 on hair this year. £120 of that will go to Annette but it will be sold for considerably more after it's been made into a wig or hair extensions. SOUNDBITE: Graham Wake, owner of Bloomsbury Wigs, saying (English): "The clients love to be able to come in, look at all this unprocessed hair and actually select the pony tails and they give us some time to obviously make them up into extensions. This will probably cost from about a £1,000 to about £1,300." Annette's certainly pleased with the extra cash and her new complimentary hair do. But if she wants to repeat the process it may take up to five years until her hair grows back. Hayley Platt, Reuters