The American Dream is the concept of achieving success in the United States. Trinidadian Shivaughnette Mendoza, the owner of Bella Body Spa and Beauty Lounge on Springfield Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens, is a shining example of that dream coming true.
Mendoza said she left her native country of Trinidad and Tobago at 21 to come to the United States.
With only $20 to her name, Mendoza said that she started working as a nanny and caretaker for small children.
In order to perform this job, Mendoza said she had to find childcare for her own child that was the same age as her client’s children.
This left Mendoza conflicted and she struggled to rationalize this employment situation.
Mendoza said she changed jobs and sought employment at Nationwide Insurance as a file clerk.
She quickly got a promotion to the front desk position and started taking classes for properties and casualties.
Unfortunately, due to her citizenship status, she was unable to take the state board test to get licensed as an insurance agent.
One of her insurance clients was a fellow Trinidadian, who recruited Mendoza to work for him doing taxes.
Shortly after starting her new job, Mendoza became pregnant. Due to her doctor’s ordered bed rest, Mendoza said she started working from home.
During this time, Mendoza and her child’s father opened a trucking company.
The revenue from this endeavor allowed Mendoza to purchase real estate, and she started to manage a collection of rental properties.
Following the delivery of her child, Mendoza said she became interested in body transformation to alleviate some of the effects of childbirth.
Once she had her own experience with aesthetics and body transformation, Mendoza said she was inspired to pursue her next career path.
She began taking classes to get her aesthetician license. The program, which consisted of either a day class or a night class, typically took six months to complete.
But Mendoza said her ambition did not have the patience for that timeline. Therefore, she said found a way to take both the day classes and the night classes to finish the program in only three months.
She said she was the first person to attempt this accelerated schedule and surpassed the expectations of advisors who told her it wasn’t feasible.
After receiving her license, Mendoza started to perform aesthetic services from her home.
As the demand increased, she used her past real estate experience to expand her operation.
She purchased a store front, and Bella Beauty Spa was created.
Over the years, Mendoza started to partner with other vendors and that the spa evolved into Bella Body Spa and Beauty Lounge.
The one-stop aesthetic shop is now a comprehensive spa with services ranging from hair and nails to dermaplaning and body sculpting.
Her business specializes in post-surgical care and non-invasive treatments for body transformation and rejuvenation.
Mendoza’s success has motivated her to expand operations to additional cities in the United States and abroad.
She has plans to open locations in Atlanta, Houston, Fort Lauderdale, Barbados, and an additional location in Trinidad.
From $20 to an aesthetic empire, Shivaughnette Mendoza is living proof of the American Dream.
Her hard work and unwavering perseverance have provided her with the life she visualized as a young woman.
Like so many immigrants, Mendoza has been able to create a successful business, and she continues to help others achieve their ideal self-image.
The business owner said the transformation of her clients motivates her to keep growing her Black-owned business.
“Running a business, doing real estate and opening many other businesses, as well as being a mom, all at once, can be both rewarding and overwhelming,” Mendoza told Caribbean Life. “However, every day, I get up and keep pushing because my goal is to build generational wealth.
“I am overjoyed by all of my accomplishments thus far,” she added. “It took a lot of hard work and dedication. It’s been a long journey after coming to America with only $20.00 in my pockets.
“I hope to inspire this new generation to keep going after their dreams and that anything is possible, as long as they are their biggest motivator and fan,” she added.
“Aside from all the physical achievements, my biggest achievement is now being able to change people’s lives and help make them feel beautiful inside and out,” Mendoza continued. “Being in the Beauty industry, where beauty is our lifestyle, I personally love seeing the smallest thing add to someone’s confidence.”
For more information, visit the official website of Bella Body Spa and Beauty Lounge.