In a home on a quiet street in the Snacks-Guion Creek neighborhood, a sewing machine whirred for a bit of goodness.“This is where all the magic begins,” said Mark Ollesca as he made a wig for an out-of-state cancer patient. “It might be a small room, but this small room can do a lot of things.”As his second job, he makes wigs in his home studio and sends them around the world.Usually using human hair — some gathered from a salon, some donated — Ollesca uses his growing wigmaking talent to help others.“Everything I do is based from passion,” he says. “Passion to help. That’s what I do best.”He started making wigs as a hobby for close friends in 2017 when he moved to the U.S. from the Philippines. When a friend told him that he could turn that sideline into a business, the idea was sparked.
Now, though he will make a wig for anyone, his true devotion is to make wigs for those who have lost their hair due to illness.He knows how that feels. He suffered from alopecia when he was younger, losing his hair from the disorder. He faced bullying and disinformation from others. People were afraid of catching it and would laugh at him, he said, even though the disorder is not contagious.
Now Ollesca makes wigs for people all over the U.S. as well as for people who will find his business Marky’s Custom Made Wigs on Facebook from Canada and the Philippines. His motto is that he “turns hair dreams into reality.”Ollesca strives for a natural look so others can’t tell they are wigs. Some wigs are done mostly on the sewing machine, but others are hand stitched, hair by hair, using a magnifying glass to insure the perfection. Those specialized wigs may take a month or two to do. He charges flat rates, but not hourly.
He also shares his knowledge. He will help others learn how to start their wigmaking businesses.“I share everything I know. I’m not greedy, you know,” he says. “I strongly believe I’m not alone in this world. There might be some people who want to help, too, and I will help them help others … chain reaction.”Recently he finished the wig he was making for the cancer patient and takes a couple photos to text to the client. Ollesca receives a heart emoji response.“Bless his soul,” he reflects. “I hope he recovers quick because I have a lot of relatives who passed away because of cancer, and I saw how they suffered. So I don’t want him to suffer. I want him to get well pretty soon and enjoy life.”One wig he will be making soon is for a former cancer-afflicted client who is having him make the wig for a friend who also has cancer. When her time comes, says Ollesca, it is his client’s hope that her friend will have “beautiful hair” for when she dies.Ollesca’s heart is full of good will for helping others.“If you do something good, all the best will come back to you,” he believes.But the man who has turned his passion into a business on the side also has fun, too.“You know what I’ll be doing next when I have time?” he asks with a twinkle in his eye. “Mullett!”