Nena’s Beauty Lounge opens in style in downtown DeKalb

Downtown DeKalb’s newest hair and beauty salon helps recent cosmetology school students to grow their business

Nena's Beauty Lounge is seen April 29, 2024 at 203 E. Locust Street in downtown DeKalb.

DeKALB – When it comes to hair and beauty, first impressions tend to be a must.

At Nena’s Beauty Lounge, 203 E. Locust St., DeKalb, this is no exception.

Owner Stephanie Ortiz said business has been fairing well for her and fellow cosmetologists since relocating to city’s downtown from their Fourth Street location in November 2023.

“It’s starting to pick up,” Ortiz said. “I think location is key to running a business. I never realized that until now. We are trying to set our own personal hours to fit more of our clients walk-in hours, so we can take walk-ins a little bit later during the day because we do understand that people might get out of work a little bit later and they don’t have time to reach the nail salon or get their hair done. Now that we’re in downtown, we have all that walk-in and all that visibility, as well.”

Nena’s Beauty Lounge and its new location recently were celebrated by the DeKalb Chamber with a ribbon-cutting.

The salon is staffed by two independent stylists, but there’s a third on the way who’s finishing cosmetology school.

Ortiz said she prides herself on specializing in a little bit of everything that Nena’s Beauty Lounger has to offer.

“When we opened, it was just myself,” Ortiz said. “I had to kind of do all the services, but now we have somebody who specializes in certain areas.”

Ortiz said one of her friends also works at Nena’s Beauty Lounge as a licensed aesthetician and certified lash artist.

“She does take her clients Wednesdays through Saturdays,” Ortiz said. “She’s been with me since the beginning. She went through the [move] with me. … We just stayed together. So her clients go to me, and then my clients go to her. Now we have a nail tech that just started a week or two ago. So we’re starting to expand a little bit more just by having one person specialize in that certain area.”

Ortiz, who is a licensed hair stylist and nail technician, said she enjoys what she does for a living.

“I’ve always loved being in the beauty industry,” she said. “I think I mostly started doing nails when I was around 14, 15. I would practice on my sister.”

As a recent cosmetology school graduate herself, Ortiz said she’s all about making a way for students to grow their business.

“I do take student interns from Debutantes [School of Beauty],” Ortiz said. “Recently, one of them just graduated and our other one is about to graduate at the end of this month.”

The building in which Nena’s Beauty Lounge occupies is about 1,000 square feet.

Ortiz said she’s satisfied with the decision she made to choose a new location in town.

“I felt like it was going to be a great fit for what I had in mind business-wise because we do offer a little over 20 services,” Ortiz said. “In my mind, I did have planned out … more people working here and then just being able to serve more people in the community.”

Ortiz said that making clients feel at home is a priority at her salon.

“We want everyone to feel welcome when they come to our shop,” she said. “We do offer many services, so everything running from nails, hair, makeup. We do specialize in the quinceaneras and weddings.”

Ortiz said people generally have positive things to share about their experience at Nena’s Beauty Lounge.

“I feel like our clients feel really comfortable at this new location that we’re at more than anything,” she said. “We do have that team mindset. We all have the mindset that our experience, the experience that our clients receive here at the salon is what matters. So we always try to have snacks or even have complimentary drinks. We’re always trying to serve our clients first and give them that experience. Everybody has been liking it.”

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