ROCHELLE — On Wednesday, a ribbon cutting was held by the Rochelle Chamber of Commerce for Skin Tea with Shanti, a new business at 951 S. 7th St., Suite J.
The business, owned by esthetician Shantal Howlett, offers eyebrow waxing, brow hybrid tint, brow lamentation, body waxing, facials/back facial, teen facial and non-medical chemical peels. Howlett said she hopes to offer eyelash work as well in the future.
“I was very interested in makeup and eyelashes growing up,” Howlett said. “When I went to school, it just came naturally to me. And then I just took the bull by its horns. I graduated last year in June. I took some time off for myself and I have a two-year-old son. This year I got the process started to open up and in March I started taking appointments and booking.”
Howlett said similar self-care businesses such as AP Massage Therapy also inhabit the building at 951 S. 7th St. and then went into her decision when looking for a space. She hopes the services she offers locally will keep residents from having to drive out of town.
“Facials are so helpful,” Howlett said. “I like to get my eyebrows done. To avoid having to go to Rockford or DeKalb for things like that, it will just be so much more convenient for people in Rochelle just to stop by. And with the other businesses in this building, they go so well together. It's like a one-stop shop here.”
The work to get her business set up wasn’t easy, but Howlett said she was thankful to her “very supportive” family that helps her create ideas and bring them to life. She thanked the chamber and the community for being welcoming.
“My clients mean everything to me,” Howlett said. “I appreciate everyone being here. I'm so thankful for my family and my support system. It really shows today.”
Chamber Executive Director Tricia Herrera welcomed Howlett and her business on Wednesday and said the chamber and city are encouraged by the amount of young people like her that are starting businesses in the community.
“Shantal came in and she was ready to go,” Herrera said. “She knew what we could do to help. We're always here to help you. We know when you open a business that you can put it anywhere. We're always very thankful when you choose Rochelle. Welcome to you and your family.”
Mayor John Bearrows welcomed Howlett to the community on behalf of the City of Rochelle. Bearrows said he was happy Howlett chose to open her business in Rochelle and made sure she knew of the resources that are available to her in town.
“When you join the chamber and open a business in Rochelle, you create partnerships with the city and the chamber,” Bearrows said. “Over the past couple of years we've seen things happen through the pandemic and the effects of the city and chamber really rang out loud and clear to local businesses that were able to stay open and stay in business. We welcome you to the community. Don't be afraid to reach out. You have a lot of people on your side that you can reach out to and bounce ideas off of. Be creative, think outside the box, and you'll do very well. Welcome to Rochelle.”