About The Don herself
Founder and creator, April Donnelly, operates as her own entity. Book The Don Herself for creative hair service and styling expertise in her capacity as a creative director.
The Don Hairstory
When The Don was a little girl, she often imagined what she would do if a genie had granted her with three wishes.

The Don Hair started as an experiment. Founder, April Donnelly, always had a curiosity for hair. Born to a South African coloured household of varied skin complexions, the type of hair among the women in her family caught her attention. At a young age, April was made aware that the texture of her hair was unfavourable for her light complexion. Unlike everyone else, her hair was coarse and difficult to manage. Her dissatisfaction shaped the relationship she had with hair- and later, with herself.
bouncy and

natural curls

Styling her hair became a ritual. A routine for transformation that was mostly determined by how she would be perceived by the environment she entered- she just wanted to fit in. In primary school, her expertly relaxed hair was supposed to be a stand-out among the predominately black crowd. In high school, she felt as though her long clip-in extensions were a necessity to her appearance among the predominately white crowd.

As a coloured girl, her desire for easily manageable and bouncy natural curls had her frequenting chemical treatments and too many DIY remedies- occasionally altenating with braiding styles when it all got too much. She would look in the mirror year after year, and make a wish: “I wish I had better hair.” And each time, “better” seemed to have a different look.
History of The Don
April often made changes to her other two of the three wishes as she got older, but nothing ever seemed important enough to change her hair wish. In December 2017, she cut her hair off for the first time. It was not as monumental of a moment as she had expected it to be. She felt the same. In fact in that moment, she realised, that her ability to drastically change the way she looked made her feel more comfortable than whatever the hairstyle was. To explore her newly found freedom, April touched base with the only hair adventure she hadn’t yet explored: Wigs.
defined beauty

for herself

In February 2018, April purchased her first set of bundles. It was no surprise that her first attempt at creating a wig was close to perfect for her standards at the time. In fact, after enduring years of hair obsession, she would’ve been disappointed if it wasn’t. April explored wigs in all styles more frequently and was pleased to discover that she no longer found herself conforming to any particular beauty standards or felt the need to fit in anywhere. She defined beauty for herself and she had never felt more empowered.

April made, coloured, and installed a wig on another person in August 2018 for the first time. Until that moment, she hadn’t realised the power she felt within herself could be transferred.

From her hands to the spirit of her client, she marvelled at the transformation. Her friend looked incredible, but it was the girls’ energy that was even more captivating. From her smile to the way she walked, her glee and confidence took over the room. Together they had reignited the girls’ love for herself- and if April remembered what her rotation of wishes were as a child, she was sure that “I wish everyone could feel as beautiful as they are” was one of them. April started The Don Hair in October 2018, at 19 years old.
Evolution of The Don Hair
At the time, a 19-year-old in South Africa wearing a wig for fun was not a common practice. Wigs were particularly synonymous with older women and hair loss. For April it was about reinvention- she chose to wear wigs not because she had to, but because she could. She played catch up with herself for all the times she wished she looked different. The more she stepped outside the box, the more she learnt how to manipulate the hair, to get the results she wanted.

the box

She would spend hours every day experimenting with her wigs- colouring, cutting, styling- and coaching herself through everything she thought worked and didn’t. It wasn’t until her business took off within the first month, that she realised just how high in demand the skill she had acquired was. Nor did she realise she had sparked an interest in those who had never seen it been done before.

April found herself booked and busy week in and week out. She tried her best to navigate being an entrepreneur and a student as best she could, but her passion beat out her academics and she decided to put studying on hold to focus on this important shift in the hair industry and how she could cement her position as a pioneer. People wanted to buy her product!

She would’ve been ecstatic if it wasn’t for the fact that her product didn’t exist. Her potential customers wanted to be able to purchase a wig, take it straight from the box, and have it look just as good on them as it did on her. April knew it wasn’t that simple, for everything she had ever done on herself was through trial and error- difficult to replicate and the furthest thing from a quality product she would be comfortable receiving money for.
April was sure that the standard she imagined was possible, and took a closer look at the established local wig specialsts ahead of her, only to discover that there was a lot she didn’t like. She didn’t like the craftsmanship- how the wigs weren’t made in correct sizes, and if it was, they never sat flat enough with no bumps. She didn’t like how the coloured wigs had too many mismatched tones. She didn’t like how the styling was sloppy and thought the lace didnt look as natural as it could. She didn’t like that what people saw being advertised wasn’t exactly what they received. She didn’t like to see people spending thousands of rands on a product that was no good. But most of all, she didn’t like that people didn’t know not to like it too.

April felt as though she had a responsibility not only to her customers but to the craft she so dearly respected, to sell a product that upheld the standards she stood by. She changed her business model and dedicated the following three years to seeking and exploring answers to questions she gathered through her now “Wig Services Only” business: working on wigs provided by the client, training herself to see through the cracks in order to perfect her craft. It was this decision that brought her a lot of success and recognition within a short period of time. Although she hadn’t been selling a full product, people knew of The Don. Despite not selling hair, clients would still commission her hands to make their wigs look as good as only she knew how.

it is three years later, 22 April 2022, and The Don Hair is finally ready to transcend to new heights with ithe launch of it’s first original product.

The genie has surely granted April with her hair wish. Only they know what more is to be fullfilled. Stay tuned to our journey and progress to see what all becomes of The Don’s reality.
Transcend to

new heights

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April Donnelly operates as her own entity. Book The Don Herself for creative hair service and styling expertise in her capacity as a creative director.