Missouri entrepreneurs aim to help children fighting cancer with new hair care line | News

LAMAR, Mo. — Business owners Ashley and Jeremy Augusta have launched a vegan hair care product line, NuLuxe Beauty, and part of the proceeds will be used to create wigs for children with pediatric cancer.

Worldwide, at least 300,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer annually; approximately 1 in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday, according to the American Childhood Cancer Organization.

Ashley, co-owner of Lotus Salon Studios in Lamar, in Southwest Missouri, said she’s preparing a free, hand-colored wig for a 12-year-old girl in Minnesota who wanted one made of pastel unicorn colors. There are about five other children on the waiting list to receive wigs.

“If the child is local, we’ll hand deliver the wigs, but if not, we’ll ship it straight to them,” Ashley said. “As soon as the first one is shipped, I’ll start on the second one. I use a human-synthetic blend, so they can put a little heat on them. I’m looking for some wig suppliers to partner with us to offer human hair wigs.”

Jeremy, who also owns the gym next door, Barton County Strength Club, described himself as an entrepreneur at heart, having been a business owner for 12 years.

“We have other businesses, but this is our first product line,” he said. “This has been a big learning curve.”

The husband-and-wife team said they’re passionate about fighting cancer and drew inspiration for the wigs from a loved one who died of the disease. Each wig is made with the hope that it continues to provide smiles and support during a family’s difficult time.

“We want to help as many people as possible,” Jeremy said. “We want to grow to where our full-time job is helping other people.”

NuLuxe Beauty’s hair care products — shampoo, conditioner, sculpting fibers and mousse — are vegan, sulfate-free and paraben-free. They are also safe to use on extensions and all hair types. Jeremy said they’ve been receiving orders from across the United States.

Vegan beauty products are created without animal products, byproducts or derivatives. Ingredients derived from plants contain more antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, the couple said.

“This is a professional-grade product,” Jeremy said. “It’s not going on Amazon. It’s intended for professional stylists. and the more this grows, the more people we want to hire and create our own manufacturing process to create local jobs.”

The couple met as students in beauty school at Jenny Lea Academy in Johnson City, Tennessee. They graduated on the same day in 2010 and were married later that same year.

“October 2009 was when I got out of the military service (U.S. Army, Coast Guard), but the economy crashed,” Jeremy said. “I got out because I was raising two children on my own, and there were no jobs. I decided to use my GI Bill to get some money while the economy got better. The only option I had was to go to beauty school to feed my kids.”

They uprooted from Tennessee and moved to Lamar to start their own businesses.

“The pieces kind of fell together, and it was like we were meant to be here,” Ashley said.

Several new products for different hair types are in the works and will launch in the fall. The owners said their goal is to continue to grow the line and to help as many children as possible. NuLuxe Beauty can be purchased in Lamar at Lotus Salon Studios and Tea Shirt Shoppe and online at www.nuluxebeauty.com. For more details, call 423-502-4237.

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