Evanston nail salon provides dazzling manicures to students and residents

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Sheena Tan/Daily Senior Staffer

Dazzle Nails, a local nail salon on Church Street, opened in May 2020. The salon offers a variety of manicure and pedicure options for clients.

April Li, Senior Staffer

Dazzle Nails opened its doors in May 2020. The bright nail salon, located on 628 Church St., features silvery decor, floral accents and chandeliers. Customers choose their nail polish from a colorful display on the wall and recline on plush pedicure chairs.

Despite opening during the pandemic, the family-owned nail salon in downtown Evanston has grown popular with residents and students. More than 30 clients come on busy days.

But the nail salon didn’t have such a dazzling beginning. Owners Eko Lkhamaasuren and Baska Delegpil started construction work on Dazzle Nails in early 2020 but COVID-19 delayed their opening by three months. Business slowed during the following winter and the salon has not been able to operate at full capacity yet.

“We had a rough first year,” said Suvd Turbat, the salon’s manager and Lkhamaasuren’s daughter-in-law. “We barely survived.”

Dazzle Nails isn’t Lkhamaasuren and Delegpil’s first small business. In 2007, they opened UB Spa Nails in Glenview, one of the first Mongolian-owned nail salons in the Chicago area.

Over the last 15 years, others in the Mongolian community have opened their own nail businesses. Lkhamaasuren and Delegpil sold UB Spa Nails and opened three more salons in Illinois: UB Nails in Lake Forest, Wow Spa Nails in Barrington and most recently, Dazzle Nails.

For them, however, Dazzle Nails is different from the rest.

“In the suburbs, regular manicures and pedicures were the key to success,” Lkhamaasuren said. Evanston, though, is “totally different” from the suburbs. “The young people and students in the area want a lot of acrylics, gel extensions, dipping powders.”

The management decided it had to change its business model.

Turbat said she quickly learned the skills to provide clients with the manicures they wanted. The salon’s technicians focused on catering to their customers’ desires, taking pictures of the products people requested.

“We ordered everything that customers asked for,” Turbat said. “When we made a little profit, we spent it to improve our services. We’re teaching the other workers how to do extensions and acrylics, and they’re learning so fast.”

The technicians also set high standards for themselves. Turbat, who went to school for accounting and to become a licensed nail technician, said she understands student budgets can be tight, so she strives to make everything perfect for her student clients.

Third-year applied physics Ph.D. student Gamze Gul has been a client at Dazzle Nails since it opened. It was the second nail salon she tried when she arrived in Evanston and she has returned almost every month for a new manicure.

“I’ve been a client of almost every one of the employees and they all provide the same quality,” Gul said.

Originally from Turkey, Gul said at first she was nervous about communicating with the technicians because English is not her native language. However, she said she didn’t need to worry — she said the technicians are skilled and understood what she wanted.

Gul currently gets Dazzle Nails’ dip powder manicures, although she has also chosen their regular and gel manicures in the past. She said since she started visiting the salon, her nails have become healthier and grow faster.

With the salon’s wider range of services, increased vaccination rates in the city and Northwestern students returning to campus, Gul is not the only returning client. Turbat said Dazzle Nails now has a regular customer base.

Gul said she encourages others to give the salon a chance. 

“I keep going back because they don’t let me down,” Gul said. “They just take care of you.”

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