Rimona Hornung has always been intrigued by the idea of consignment stores. “After you’re done with something, why not consign it and make some money back?” she asked.
The Hillside mother of three took that a step further: If it could work for baby gear and adults’ clothing, why not wigs? She has been wearing them since she got married in 2002, and was well aware how useful such an option could be for Orthodox women.
“My own experience with wigs over the past nine years has been bumpy,” she said. “However, through the bumps, I’ve learned what to look for in a good quality wig, and what to stay away from.”
Ten months ago she established her store, aptly named MOPS, selling gently used sheitels, or wigs, out of the basement of her home.
She offers brand-name custom- and semi-custom-made wigs, and partial falls, made in Europe, all in good condition. The wigs she stocks cost $2,000-$3,000 retail when new, but her prices, she said, are about half that.
“My most expensive is $1,200, but my goal is to keep prices under $1,000,” she said. She splits the proceeds 50-50 with the seller.
The wigs are displayed in what had been the bar area in the basement of her home. “The shelves, with a mirror behind them, worked perfectly. My husband came home and asked, ‘Where’s my schnapps?’” she laughed. “I had it packed away in a box. He wasn’t too sure about the wig idea at first, but now he’s really supportive of it.”
Hornung, 30, was born and raised in an Orthodox home in Montreal. She and her husband, Meir, who is from Elizabeth, moved to Hillside three years ago. She is a licensed social worker and works on a per diem basis as a medical social worker at Overlook Hospital in Summit, and that leaves her with some flexible time.
To the best of her knowledge, Hornung said, the closest store of this kind is in Baltimore. Women have been coming to her from all over the tristate area.
As Hornung pointed out, a purchase of a new wig can turn out to be a mistake. “My sellers bring me their wigs for a variety of reasons. For example, a wig was cut too short, or it’s the wrong color, or they just want a style change,” she said. That can mean wasted wigs, and wasted money.
“The idea for MOPS was brewing in my mind for quite some time until one morning I just decided to go for it,” she said. “I contacted some of my friends, and they each had one or two good-quality wigs lying around. And now 10 months later, I have over 50 wigs to offer.”
‘I feel great’
Showings are by appointment. Her customers, she said, are “hardworking wives and mothers from various backgrounds who are looking for a good quality wig without paying a few thousand dollars. I love meeting and talking with them, and everyone has their sheitel stories. If I can send someone out looking like a million dollars, without her having to pay so much, I feel great.”
Hornung is also eager to help non-Orthodox women who are looking for a wig because they have lost their hair as a result of chemotherapy or another medical condition. “I can help them feel beautiful,” she said.
She asks that sellers bring in wigs that have been washed and styled. If they aren’t, she has them cleaned and styled — and trimmed if need be — by a sheitel maker she works with in Brooklyn. What is for sale is “as is.” “I make it very clear that I’m not a sheitel macher; I just sell them,” she said.
Hornung also does showings of her wares on request in other areas. As with Tupperware, people can host a “sheitel consignment party” in their own home. That can earn the hostess a 50 percent discount off the price of a MOPS sheitel.
Suzannah Gordon-Luchins came from Teaneck to do business with Hornung. “I consigned two sheitels with Rimona and bought one,” she said. “Rimona is very personable and friendly, and I felt she was honest about the origins and quality of the wigs. The piece I bought from her is beautiful and when I took it to a woman to have the bangs cut, she commented on how lovely the hair was.”
Gordon-Luchins also hosted a sale at her home in Teaneck. “I think Rimona has a real feel for customer service, and she seems to really enjoy working with wigs,” she said. “I think her shop has the potential for great success.”
Hornung has a Facebook page, MOPS Sheitel Consignment Store. To make an appointment, contact her at 646-270-4058 or firstname.lastname@example.org.