Alternative uses for double-sided, self-adhesive strips

By Steve Heydt, President, Vapon Inc.

A local band was getting ready to go on stage for a Saturday night gig at a major club in Nashville. One of the band members had a new silk shirt but the sleeves were too long and wouldn’t stay rolled up. This wouldn’t do as the length was uncomfortable and certainly didn’t look cool. Fortunately, the road manager pulled out a box of tape that she keeps for situations just like this. The tape worked perfectly and didn’t harm the fabric at all.

Steve Heydt

Hairpiece tape and adhesives have been an integral part of the hair replacement industry at least as far back as the 1960s. Throughout its product evolution, it has kept hair systems, wigs, and toppers secure and comfortable for clients for more than 60 years.

Used not only by studio professionals every day, but tape strips are also a confidence-building impulse purchase at checkout. Clients like to have tape on hand just in case their system needs a little extra hold in between services. It is a great addition to a host of other assorted products sold by salons. Hundreds of hair replacement studios sell tape as a natural add-on sale to go with shampoo and conditioners.

But when it comes to other uses people find for tape, we constantly hear them say, “I would have never in a million years thought that tape could have been used for that!”

We have been selling the tape to theatrical supply houses, costumers on Broadway and in Hollywood for decades. Tape is a funny product. We heard a rumor that the famous Versace low-cut dress that Jennifer Lopez wore at the Grammys was held together with our tape. Interestingly enough, I was finally able to get an actual confirmation of that when I ran into her costumer in an airport on my way back home from an AHLC conference.

When we happened to see each other at the airport, she said, “Oh, I love your product. I do all this and I dressed you know who, and so I gave her a bunch of supplies, and she was so thankful.” But she confirmed for me that yes, indeed, it was our tape that helped Jennifer Lopez that night and saved her from one of her well-known costume fails.

We also sell a tremendous amount of products to men who do audio for on-camera interviews and broadcasts. The sound techs tell us they couldn’t do their job without it. They use it to tack down and hide small microphones so they can pick up the voice but also so they don’t show on camera.

My son sold it to all his friends throughout his time at college. He was the essential tape supplier to all the girls in his circle of friends and their friends. He would call home and I would have to send him another box of tape.

When he was little, he was in martial arts and he had the white uniform that goes with it, of course. Now being 8 or 9 years old, he was growing like a weed and we couldn’t get a uniform that fit. We always got one a little bigger. Every parent can identify here. So I would solve his uniform problem with tape and it held up beautifully, to the point where we would get seven or eight washes out of it before we had to replace the tape.

It works quite well as a clothing tape because it sticks well to fabric and does not leave a sticky residue, which is important. It is a wonderful product for hiding a bra strap or, especially closing a blouse line, particularly if you have a loose-fitting blouse.

So, considering all this, we put together a special retail package that combines two sizes of strips in one package. We put half-inch and one-inch by three inches strips into a cute little box. For years we have sold it through retail beauty products suppliers, but other places have picked it up and they have found it to be a great little impulse purchase.

One area where we do not market in medical supplies. The rare exception is with respect to the occasional inquiry for help with cochlear implants. Occasionally we receive a call from a parent whose child has a cochlear implant and they are having an awful time holding the piece to the child’s head.  That is one application where we have been happy, willing, and able to help, but otherwise, we stay out of the medical field.

At the end of the day, we are and have always been a supply company for hairpieces and that is where we focus all our efforts and energy. It is a fascinating industry, and it never fails to amaze me when I hear of the “never in a million years” uses to which people have put our tapes and adhesives. Some years ago, we got a call from the CIA. They were looking for our liquid adhesive. They wouldn’t tell us what they wanted to use it for, and we didn’t ask.