In the SPotlight
...with Andrea Grinberg / Wrapunzel.com
When Andrea Grinberg started posting YouTube tutorials on hair wrapping six years ago, she did not do it with the intention to start a whole movement. She was newly married and had just moved to the US from Israel, where scarf-wrapped heads were pretty mainstreamed. She quickly realized that women in America did not know how to properly wrap their hair and that many new brides found the mitzvah of covering their hair difficult and tedious. She wanted to share her love of this mitzvah and make it easier for others to serve Hashem with the same enthusiasm by sharing her hair wrapping techniques.
After two years of making these videos, Andrea’s popularity began to explode beyond the Jewish community. People from all over, undergoing chemotherapy, suffering from hair loss, looking for a new fashion accessory, or for a variety of religious reasons, started reaching out to her. Many asked where she got the scarves she featured in her videos. They told her that the ones they were getting were not fitting properly, not breathable, or uncomfortable. Andrea realized the helpfulness of her videos would continue to be limited if her audience did not have the proper merchandise to use. Selling scarves specifically tailored to head wrapping seemed like a natural next step.
After listening to the needs of many women, and thinking about what she would want as a new kallah, Andrea developed a business model and began her drive to spread happiness with her versatile designs. She made sure that the scarves would serve a whole range of needs. She designed serious styles for professional women and more funky styles for casual wear. The many colors, patterns, and accessories she is constantly creating, allow a woman to express their feelings or experiment with new ideas. She set up a website to sell the scarves, and within the first week of her launch, the site was so full of traffic that it crashed! Although she was caught off guard with such an enthusiastic reaction, she realized she was onto something. Thus began the building of the Wrapunzel enterprise. Andrea’s goal was to not only to create products that would speak to a wide variety of women, but to create a whole community of support for those covering their hair.
As Wrapunzel expanded, Andrea realized that in order to bring this venture to its full potential, she would have to hire a team of devoted women to help her. She brought on women who share her vision and have a real passion for what they do. The staff packs every Wrapunzel scarf with love and emails are answered by a full-time, in-house customer service representative, in order to make everyone feel supported and heard. The business manager has taken over the monetary and organizational side of things, so Andrea can focus on her creative process and the Wrapunzel community. The beauty of an all-women team, led by a family-focused owner, creates an environment full of encouragement and compassion, which is then passed onto their customers.
The Wrapunzel staff understands that it is a big change when a woman begins to cover her hair, and they make every effort to create a smooth transition for those who come into their stores or join their community. Each team member acts as a supportive big sister figure to help customers decide what they need. They never tell a woman what to buy or what style would look best on them. Instead, they encourage each woman to tune out the external noise and search within themselves for what speaks to them and represents who they are. Andrea stated that after women go through this self-exploration, they always end up choosing a personal style that looks amazing on them.
The team is also trained to help customers who are just starting out with the proper “equipment”. There are “undergarments” that have to be put in place (like a shaper, etc.), so that a women can focus on her life without having to constantly worry about her head covering. Proper wrapping technique can only be done with the right tools. The Wrapunzel staff is there to help people who may not be familiar with all of the different options when they first get married or start wrapping. Wrapunzel offers a beginner’s page on their blog, a lot of hand-holding during the learning curve, and a comprehensive kallah kit, filled with everything a new wife needs to begin wrapping her hair.
When Andrea first started the business, people would ask to try on the wraps before buying them. She soon realized that allowing so many people to do this in her house would not only mess up inventory, but also take up time from orders and her home life. Instead, she started traveling to different cities, doing live events, where women would get the face-to-face, hands-on attention they needed as they decided what to buy. She also brought on a few select women to start small, personalized boutiques in their own houses. Wrapunzel now has locations in Baltimore, St. Louis, and Boca Raton, in addition to their office and warehouse site.
So many women have benefited from Andrea’s videos and Wrapunzel’s services that a Facebook group was started by their fans to offer additional support and advice to those who are wrapping. Even though this warm Facebook community has now swelled to almost 5,000 members, each request to join is screened to ensure that it is a safe space for wrappers to feel loved and not judged for the reasons they are wrapping. Every post is related to hair wrapping, whether it is a question on technique or just a picture of someone in a wrap who would like some positive feedback on to brighten her day. Andrea’s dream of making a positive difference in the world, and a Kiddush Hashem, is being realized in a very real, impactful way.
In addition to this unbelievable community, Wrapunzel has also created a non-profit foundation which provides free consultations and head wraps to those undergoing chemotherapy, who may also be suffering from financial hardship. This side of Wrapunzel is kept more quiet, in order to respect the privacy of those going through a difficult time in their lives. Although they now accept donations, Andrea sent the scarves free from her own pocket when the foundation first began. She strives to bring back the vibrancy, creativity, and femininity to those who are feeling deprived and dehumanized. These beautiful scarves can serve as a real pick-me-up and source of inspiration during trying times.
Over the last six years, Wrapunzel has been filling both a physical and spiritual need within the Jewish community—and doing it in a very creative way. Not only has it made the mitzvah of covering one’s hair so much easier, but it has also been a wonderful outlet for women to express themselves as individuals. To learn more about Wrapunzel, or to place an order, please visit their website at www.wrapunzel.com.