“I love getting up every day and helping people.”

Former model Simone Thomas has certainly gone through some traumas in her life. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer aged just 21, when treatment caused her to lose some of her hair.

When it started to grow back, the use of glue-in hair pieces and harsh acetone to remove them damaged her hair further, before alopecia led to her losing all her hair again.

But her experiences inspired Simone, who features on our gorgeous June cover, to learn more about hair loss and the different treatments available.

Determined to help others with what she learned, she first set up MWAH (Makeup, Wigs and Hair) in Westbourne, and recently moved premises and re-branded with the two-story Simone Thomas Salon and Simone Thomas Hair Loss. With a team of 20 staff and clients from all over Europe, Simone has clearly found her niche.

After starting her working life in telecoms, she was spotted by a model agency while shopping as a teenager, and was whisked off to London where she worked as a model for nearly ten years.

Wanting to do more with her brain, she entered into the corporate world, but also worked as a TV presenter for a while, and set up an adult lingerie and toy company, an adult social networking site and an agency supplying glamour models for nightclubs and magazines.

It wasn’t until she moved to Dorset, initially only intending to stay for six months, that Simone came up with the idea of opening a salon.

“My mum had passed away about a year before that,” she says. “My brother had always been in the Dorset area and my business was all done from home anyway. I got myself a holiday rental for six months and had no plans to stay here, but I was bored in the business that I ran and I was bored in Bournemouth not knowing anyone.”

Simone, who has also trained in air brush make-up in London, was keen to open a boudoir-style shop featuring hair pieces, make-up and lingerie.

After meeting with a hairdresser friend of her brother’s, and a beauty therapist she knew, Simone opened MWAH in 2011 with a £100,000 investment.

“I went to London to do various courses in hair extensions and hair loss,” she adds. “We started to take over with wigs for the NHS for cancer and alopecia. We became number one on the south coast.

“It was just from having an idea, thinking it was a great way of meeting people. I’d worn wigs for ten years and worn hair extensions and done all the things that you shouldn’t do and I’ve seen all different aspects of hair loss as well.”

In December last year, Simone moved down the road and opened her new, re-branded salon, which now offers hair and make-up, beauty treatments such as massages, facials and nails, plus skin peels, Botox, fillers and semipermanent make-up. Upstairs, is Simone Thomas Hair Loss.

“We do all non-surgical hair replacement systems, from someone that’s completely bald, cancer, alopecia, whether it’s through domestic violence, natural ageing,” says Simone.

“Then we have about 400 wigs as well. We do free consultations for every client and we make bespoke wigs because some people that are permanent wearers might have different criteria.”

Simone’s clients range from children right through to women, and men, in their 90s. Many are local, while others come from as far afield as Birmingham and even Paris.

“We get everything,” says Simone.

“Not having hair, it ages people and some people don’t want people to know. Some women, when they’re losing their hair, they don’t want to go out. Everyone has insecurity and it’s going to affect them and it affects their relationships. So when we see people change, it’s fantastic.”

Simone, who is a hair loss specialist for Channel 4 series Bodyshockers, also works with a counsellor who gives clients advice on coming to terms with hair loss. She is soon launching Crowning Glory, a new concept featuring a range of human hair pieces and accessories, and is now looking at expanding the hair loss service into Bath, Guildford and London, as well as working on a hair loss book.

Simone would never have dreamed as a six-year-old at an all girls’ school with a firm “learn to cook, sew and become a housewife” ethos of the success she has achieved today.

“Back then I didn’t know what I was going to do,” she laughs.

“I never knew back then I would be doing what I’m doing.” 

Simone Thomas, 54 Poole Road, Westbourne, 01202 760003, info@simonethomas.com, www.simonethomas.com