At six years old, Saige Pierce gave highlights to old beauty school mannequin heads as her mother styled a client’s hair in their basement. Her love for beauty inspired her to become a licensed aesthetician and after working for several medical spas and dermatologists around the Chicagoland area, she started her own business.
Pierce opened her first Enhance Lash, Skin and Brows location in Rockford at just 21 years old. With four years of entrepreneurial experience, she has decided to expand with a new location in Chicago’s West Loop opening in August of 2022. Originally, Pierce considered opening a location in Dallas, but the distance proved to be more trouble than it was worth, and she realized Chicago had what she was looking for.
“I wasn’t willing to give up everything that I’ve sacrificed and worked so hard for for the hopes of something happening; that’s why I decided on Chicago,” Pierce said. “I’m originally from Freeport, a super, super small town. When we would come into the city it’s like this whole new world–if you came to the city you made it.”
The West Loop sits just outside of downtown, and it is known for its restaurant scene. The neighborhood is going through its own expansion, with new high rises and companies moving in frequently and bringing people with them. This growth is not slowing down anytime soon according to Julie Darling, a board member at the West Loop Community Association.
“More and more businesses are moving into the West Loop every day, ” Darling said. “ I think we’re going to see exponential growth. Not that [the West Loop] is not its own destination now, but I really see it as an international hub.”
As the neighborhood grows, Darling notices that congestion and traffic are prevalent issues that are impacting business owners and consumers.
“I think the biggest challenge has just been the lack of infrastructure because it hasn’t caught up with the development yet,” Darling said. “The [Chicago Plumbers Union Hall] just put in a parking structure at the west end of Randolph so hopefully that helps alleviate.”
Pierce has her own growing pains. With a steady flow of clients at her first location, she has a hard time waiting for her West Loop location to reach the same popularity.
“With opening the shop, I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m putting all this money into it. I’m doing all this but where’s people?’” Pierce said. “Honestly that’s the biggest thing, trusting the process and knowing that this is really how I started out in Rockford; it’s going to be okay, but it’s going to take time.”
Pierce describes herself as “always professional, but not corporate,” and that attitude is being noticed by new customers. Paige Fix found Enhance on Instagram and decided to book an appointment after messaging with Pierce. She later shared her experience on TikTok, encouraging her followers to support the woman-owned business.
“A lot of spa-like spaces feel very corporate, whereas with [Pierce] it was that authentic feel, which was a really nice change of pace and I really enjoyed it,” Fix said. “I found her really inspiring and you can tell she leads with authenticity.”
Beauty services are not uncommon in the area, but reasonable pricing and quality services help Enhance stand out. Fix liked knowing that she was getting quality services without having to pay high prices like at other spas.
“It is in that prime spot in the West Loop, so some places can just be outrageous but it was very fair pricing,” Fix said.
Even though she is far from her beginnings in her mother’s basement salon, Pierce’s motivation has always stayed the same: empowering her clients.
“I want [customers] to walk out feeling confident, feeling beautiful, feeling like they can do whatever they put their mind to,” Pierce said. “And hopefully I have encouraged them and inspired them to be what they want to be.”