As a high school student on the South Side of Chicago, Candace Thomas Perteet started doing hair for her classmates at Morgan Park High School. Now, she is a cosmetologist and owner of Hair Sauce Beauty Lounge in Hazel Crest, Illinois.
“I was inspired to start my business because making people happy is a passion of mine and why not do something that you’re skilled in and blessed with to help others feel good about themselves?” said Candace.
Candace specializes in natural hair styling, healthy hair maintenance, hair addition, coloring, hair shaping, and custom cranial hair prosthesis. Her salon also carries its own line of styling products, extensions, and accessories.
When Candace’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, Candace began making custom wigs for her to wear while undergoing chemotherapy. “She’s the reason why I began my wig business,” said Candace. Since 2010, Candace has donated hundreds of wigs to patients at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, where her mother was once a patient.
In 2014 and again in 2016, Candace received small business loans from Allies for Community Business (A4CB). In 2020, she worked with an A4CB Business Coach to help her organize her business plans.
“[Allies for Community Business] was the first company that believed in me and my vision to become a salon owner,” said Candace. “When I was ready to do a small expansion, they were excited to help and provided me with the best customer service.”
When the pandemic hit in 2020, Candace’s salon shut down for four months. Her salon not only provides a living for her and her family, but it also provides jobs and beautification services for the community. “To not be able to provide for those who depend on you the most has really put a mental strain on me,” said Candace.
Luckily, Candace was able to work with A4CB again and received a Back to Business grant, which she plans to use on increasing her inventory of styling products, extensions, and accessories. “I can honestly say this experience has been truly an eye opener as well as a journey,” Candace said. “[This] support goes a long way.”
Candace’s dedication to her clients and craft is unquestionable. She plans to continue growing Hair Sauce Beauty Lounge to help more people feel beautiful and confident. Candace also hopes to start a new business named Kimberly Renee Suites in honor of her mother’s strength.