Marcy McQuillan is a California mom who loves head lice. That’s right—she loves the little critters. It wasn’t always that way, though. Like most moms, she hated lice the first time she encountered them.
Head Lice: A Lousy Problem
McQuillan’s two daughters were in elementary school when they came home with head lice. One of them got it during a sleepover and she thinks the other got it from a baseball helmet. It was her first exposure to a lice infestation.
“I had a hard time getting rid of the lice,” said McQuillan. “I bought a lice comb and a prescription shampoo that the pediatrician prescribed, but I felt so guilty for putting those chemicals on my daughters’ heads. And their hair was so thick, it was painful to comb them out.”
Besides enduring hours and hours of tedious, painful combings, her daughters suffered itchy scalps and lice bites while McQuillan spent time and money treating them at home. It took weeks, but McQuillan finally succeeded in removing the head lice and lice eggs (called nits) from both her daughters’ heads.
A New Business, Thanks to a TV Program
Years later McQuillan was watching a national morning show and saw a device called the LouseBuster that was proven to kill head lice and 99 percent of lice eggs on infested people in a single, 30-minute treatment. The device killed the lice and eggs by dehydrating them with nothing more than heated air. She remembered her experience with her daughters, and how horrifying the experience was for them. She thought that if this was not a scam it would be smart to start a business with the device and offer this great service to her community.
After all, anyone with hair can get head lice. There are about 6-12 million cases of head lice in the United States per year, with most cases affecting children between the ages of 3 and 12. A little head-to-head contact with an infested person is all it takes to get head lice.
McQuillan took her husband with her to meet with representatives from Larada Sciences and to discuss renting the LouseBuster device. After gathering all the details and talking it over with her husband, she discussed with an entrepreneurial friend the idea of starting a business. Her friend told her it was a good idea.
She Now Loves Lice
Fast-forward to 2010. McQuillan started a new business called Nitless Noggins in Scotts Valley, Calif. “All we use is dry heat,” McQuillan said of the LouseBuster treatment she does for her head-lice clients. “The speed of the air flow combined with the dry air eradicates the lice quicker.”
McQuillan said parents have come to her utterly desperate, saying they have tried many different methods that didn’t work. This included Raid, WD-40, kerosene, Listerine, Cetaphil, mayonnaise, salt, and even some of the prescription medications like what McQuillan tried. However, once they got a LouseBuster treatment at Nitless Noggins, her clients viewed her as a superhero, she said.
Currently, McQuillan’s Nitless Noggins is so successful that they have employees in two locations, Scotts Valley and Los Gatos, Calif. Her company is on the forefront of a trend where parents are opting to get professional lice treatment rather than trying to treat it themselves at home. There are over 50 businesses in the United States that use the LouseBuster device to kill head lice professionally. With plenty of areas where the LouseBuster treatment is not yet available, there is an opportunity for moms and others like McQuillan who have some marketing expertise and a can-do attitude to open a successful lice-treatment business.