NILES – With 30 years of experience behind the chair, Niles woman Lawana Wortham is stepping out on her own at Anew Divine Beauty Salon, 1200 W. River Road, in Niles. Her new salon will open officially Thursday, welcoming in her guests to the space she has redesigned into the salon she always hoped she would own.
Anew Divine Beauty Salon has five hair stylist stations on the first floor, in addition to a sixth with a privacy curtain, a pedicure throne, a manicure table, a room for brow and lash services, and a barbershop upstairs to accommodate everyone. Upon entering, a colorful wall behind the shampoo bowls greets the eye.
“I want this to be a multicultural shop. It’s a place of all colors,” Wortham said. “It’s for all people, so that just represents color. No matter what color you are, this salon, I pray, can be everything for everyone.”
Wortham hopes to bring in beauty professionals from all backgrounds.
“If we work with one another, we can learn from one another,” she said.
“It’s always been my dream to be multipurpose, where you can come in with the family,” she said.
Wortham’s vision includes being a stop where full wedding parties, including bridesmaids and groomsmen, can get ready under the same group in separate atmospheres.
The dream of an inclusive salon environment comes with Wortham’s 30 years of experience in the beauty industry, and her retirement from being a security guard for 15 years with Niles Community Schools.
“I’m looking for years and years of good service, good people working here and making good relationships with people like I have in the past when I worked at the schools and the salon,” Wortham said. “I’m just creating my own journey.”
The Anew Divine Beauty Salon location had a former life as a hair salon, though Wortham said it needed extensive updating.
“When we moved in, there was carpet on the walls,” Wortham said.
Once that was removed from the walls, there was dated wood paneling behind it to replace.
“Every wall is brand new,” she said.
The floor plan has been adjusted to be more private in certain ways, like creating a hallway to the bathroom, and more open in other ways, where color processing and dryer chairs are located along a wall instead of in the middle of the salon. The upstairs suite, which now features two barber stations, was previously unfinished and primarily used for storage.
“I [originally] came in here and said ‘oh no,’” Wortham said with a laugh. “I didn’t think about it for weeks, and it just hit me in the middle of the night. This place was on my mind.”
After taking another look at the property, Wortham was urged by her husband, Mark, to look past the cosmetics of the building.
She walked through the space five times before she started to envision what her business could look like in the building. After getting a feel for how she would change the space, she put a bid on the building.
The renovations took roughly four months. With a completely renovated upstairs and downstairs, Wortham is now excited to welcome guests into her business. On Thursday, she opens the doors to the public for the first time to welcome clients into her vision for beauty in Niles.
Wortham is hoping to hire a larger team for the salon, including hair stylists, barbers, braid artists, nail technicians, lash and brow technicians and more.
“It has always been my dream to be a salon owner. I’ve always wanted to own,” Wortham said. “I just didn’t know when I would own.”
To inquire or schedule an appointment, Anew Divine Beauty Salon can be reached at (269) 262-4013.