Lillian Lee is a hairstylist of over 25 years. Originally from Puerto Rico, she moved to the US to create a better life for her kids. She spent many years working in Manhattan, managing high-end salons and building a reputation as an innovative and hard-working stylist. After the birth of her son, she decided to leave the hustle and bustle of New York and start her own business from the basement of her New Jersey home. For years, she had close friends and a small, devoted clientele that kept her busy and happy. Through word of mouth, her reputation expanded to the local Orthodox Jewish community, who, through a chance encounter, discovered that she was incredibly adept at styling their wigs! Jewish Orthodox women in this particular area of NJ cover their hair with wigs, and often treat those wigs as if it were their own hair, subjecting it to regular styling, coloring and cutting. Lillian took full advantage of this opportunity and was able to expand her clientele and services in a way she never imagined.
The Lillian Lee Salon and Spa in Teaneck, NJ is a thriving business with a devoted fan-base of Orthodox women who swear that Lillian’s magic touch is the only thing that could make their wigs look good. Lillian’s passion for styling hair took a very different turn after a close friend and client passed away, leaving behind a small collection of wigs. The family of this woman approached Lillian, offering to pass the wigs on to her, in the event of someone needing a hand-me-down wig. Not knowing if or when she’d ever need it, she accepted the donation. Not long after that, Lillian had a client come in to the salon who was recently diagnosed with cancer and would soon be undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. The woman was overwhelmed with fear and self-conscious about losing her hair. Lillian saw an opportunity to to make this woman feel beautiful and offered her one of the wigs she had collected. Lillian cut the wig, styled it to her liking, free of charge and sent her on her way. The woman left filled with confidence and an added bounce in her step, knowing that at the very least, she would have hair through this whole ordeal.
Lillian found a purpose for the donated wigs and Do Wonders was born. Never actively seeking out new recipients, word of mouth would send her a steady stream of women over the next several years. Lillian would come to provide over 100 donated wigs and hairpieces to women undergoing chemotherapy, free of charge. To this day, Do Wonders has helped hundreds of women and is partnered with the American Cancer Society, City of Hope, Look Good, Feel Good and local hospitals in our area. She still receives donations from the community, and has recently begun producing her own wigs for children, since smaller-sized wigs are difficult to find and usually extremely expensive. She’s held cut-a-thons and fundraisers, and is looking for new ways to grow this non-profit organization in a way to help more people.
More info on Do Wonders can be found at the website. You’ll even find a story about a recent fundraising effort she did for Rosa Holowen, a young woman suffering from leukemia who was going to prom and wanted to look like herself again! Not only did Lillian succeed in raising the money for her and purchasing a new, beautiful wig, but she also did the young woman’s hair and makeup for her prom.
Letters from Rosa:
When I learned I had cancer I was devastated, but with people like you in my life it makes me get through the day. I was finally released from the hospital yesterday. I am stronger than ever and going to fight the disease. I want to thank you for the beautiful wig as it has restored my dignity and self-esteem.
Thank you so much for all you’ve done for my senior prom. I had the time of my life . I was crowned prom queen! It was a special night thanks to special people like you.
Rosa Holowen lost her battle with leukemia on August 28th, 2010. The staff at Lillian Lee Salon & Spa were honored to know Rosa and help give her an unforgettable prom.
“I understand the emotional stress of cancer and strive to treat you from the outside to lift your spirits and help heal you on the inside.” – Lillian Lee
This world needs more heroes. Thank you, Lillian.