Sherilyn King was distraught when she lost her hair during treatment for breast cancer.
Sherilyn King did not realise how many women have breast cancer
But the experience prompted the former hairdresser to set up a personalised wig service to other women affected.
Mrs King, 48, is opening her own wig business in her home village of Pontyclun, south Wales, with the emphasis on customer care.
She and her daughter Lisa will unveil Hair 2 Go on 10 October, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Mrs King was diagnosed with the disease in May 2004 and has had surgery twice, along with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
She lost all her hair as a result, but buying a wig left her feeling more could be done for women in her position enduring such stress.
"It is devastating when you lose your hair - and eyebrows and eyelashes - and as a woman you feel like an alien," said Mrs King, who had been working in personnel and training at the Leekes store in Pontyclun.
"I was very tearful to think I had to have a wig in the first place. I've always worn my hair very short and it's quite fine, and when you go to put on a wig on there's such a lot of hair on it.
"I was devastated just trying them on, although the staff were very nice and helpful.
Mrs King and her daughter will also visit customers at home
"I had a smashing wig, but there is no service for cutting them. They don't offer the service there on the spot, and the majority of wigs have too much hair and need thinning out.
"I was lucky and had a friend in the trade who came to cut the wig short. Most people didn't even know I was wearing it."
She and her daughter will also visit customers' homes and offer a wig wash and dry service.
Her husband Peter admitted her was surprised by her decision to open the business.
"I know she's headstrong, but if it was me I don't know what I would have done," he said.
"She's not fully recovered now but what made it possible for doing this was that the doctors said she's fit and well.
"I'm really, really proud of her. Obviously I'm giving her my full support and I'll let her carry on and do as much as she can."
Mrs King has been helped by the Wales Co-operative Centre under the Welsh Development Agency-funded enterprise rehearsal project. It allows people on benefits to continue claiming for six months while their business gets on its feet.
Catherine Evans, of the centre, said: "We've had a lot of success stories of people who were on benefits and set up in business . This scheme is great for her because it gives her a chance to build up the business."
Mrs King believes she has gained strength from her experience.
"It makes you fearful and you lose your confidence," she said. "But it's amazing how good things can come out of bad. I can empathise with other women because I know how they feel.
"It's been a long road, but I do feel that I'm coming out the other end."
She is still undergoing treatment and will work as often as she can.
"My energy levels are not back to where they were," she said. "They don't give you the all-clear but I'm 15-16 months down the line and you carry on and take every day as it comes.
"I particularly wanted to open during Breast Cancer Awareness Month because it needs to be highlighted.
"I didn't realise how many women are affected by it until I was touched by it myself."