David Richey has been a hair restoration business owner since graduating from college, and is one of his own clients now. He uses a nonsurgical graft. Photos by Diccon Hyatt.

David Richey has had all kinds of clients over the years – everyone from construction workers to brain surgeons to himself, a hair-replacement entrepreneur since graduating from college. “I started losing my hair at 20,” he said. “I went to different companies, wasn’t happy, and bought a franchise.”

He subsequently left the franchise to start Images of Princeton, now located at One Nami Lane in Hamilton since leaving Princeton eight years ago. At an office there and another in Cherry Hill, clients can avail themselves of a range of hair-replacement techniques including wigs, folligrafts, permagrafts and laser hair therapy.

Laser hair therapy is a new technique in America that uses lasers to regrow hair.

Richey is a user of a nonsurgical graft, which he described as an extra-thin layer of artificial extra skin in which hair is placed with medical adhesive, giving the appearance of natural hair.

He said the nonsurgical graft was much more advanced and much less noticeable than the traditional hairpiece.

“Years ago there were just hairpieces. But the nonsurgical graft has taken the place of that,” he said.

Richey said he used the technique for himself because he found losing his own hair to be troubling.

“When you lose your hair, it’s a physical thing and it’s an emotional thing,” he said.

He said many of his clients are men in their late teens who have begun losing their hair at a young age due to genetic reasons. Among his 1,500 or so clients are also chemotherapy patients who wear full wigs for the duration of their treatment and others, whose hair is merely thinning, who seek laser therapy. He said some of his clients are women who are suffering from thinning hair. The treatments vary in cost, and all require coming back to the office for maintenance. The total expense can cost $1,200 to $2,900 per year. For this, there are three themed salon rooms in the office designed to provide a laid-back atmosphere.

Richey said what sets his business apart from other hair restoration franchises is the friendly demeanor of the office, and the personalized service.

“At first, they don’t want to be here,” he said of his clients. “But after a while they really enjoy coming down here. It’s not a family-owned business, but the atmosphere is like a family-owned business. That’s kind of our niche. We’re not a small company, but we’re not this vast conglomerate like the Hair Club for Men.”

Richey said he creates personalized plans for each client rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach.

For more information, call 584-9875 or visit imagesofprinceton.com.

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Diccon Hyatt is business editor of U.S. 1. He has worked for Community News since 2006 and was previously community editor of the Ewing Observer, the Hopewell Express, the Lawrence Gazette, and the Trenton Downtowner. From 2003 to 2006, he was a general assignment reporter for the Middletown Transcript in Middletown, Delaware. In 2002, he graduated from the University of Delaware, where he was features editor of the student newspaper, The Review. He has won numerous awards from the Maryland-Delaware D.C. Press Association and the Association of Free Community Newspapers for features, news, and opinion writing. He is married and lives in Marlton, NJ.