Doing my job

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November 22, 2004 // UPDATED 4:45 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Britt Johnsen
Britt Johnsen

Janice Lee, Owner of Lee's Wigs, 1000 Marquette Avenue

Janice Lee, owner of Lee's Wigs, 1000 Marquette, has a stable head on her shoulders.

She knows the trends. She knows the people. She has seen the ins and outs of the business from when it originally began and what it is now.

Right now, the shop's location is the big difference. Two years ago, Hennepin Avenue added more restaurants, which forced the wig shop, a Downtown commodity since 1974, to move from 5th & Hennepin.

Regardless of change, Lee is still passionate about her job, and the business continues to thrive.

"Generation to generation, they just keep coming in," said Lee, who commutes from Burnsville to Downtown six days a week.

She said she helps everyone from actresses to cancer patients; men and women, young and old; and people who simply don't like their hair.

"Of course, [wigs are] for fun, too," she said, noting that sometimes people come in to buy wigs for a party.

What people buy is as variety-filled as the customers themselves, Lee said. Currently, the most popular look is a more natural look. And because colder weather is creeping up, she's lately sold longer hairstyles. Many celebrities and public figures (including TV anchors) wear wigs, so their styles and looks are catching on.

It's caught on for her, too. She owns her own wig, which works for her because of her short hair, she said, stroking her black coif.

Before Lee's Wigs, Lee owned a small shop for eight years in Rand Tower on 6th & Marquette called Remembering Is, where she sold cards and gifts. She took over the wig shop nine years ago, when her in-laws -- who opened the shop in 1974 -- retired. In her 17 years owning small shops Downtown, the Seoul, South Korea native loves the feeling of accomplishment she gets from helping people.

"I really appreciate helping somebody that needs hair," she said.