At 21, Shivaughnette Mendoza migrated to the United States from Trinidad with only $20 to her name. Although she studied fashion and designing in her country of birth, it took a while for her to venture into the field while in the U.S.
Shortly after settling in New York, she started working as a nanny and caretaker for children. She later moved to Nationwide Insurance as a file clerk. With the assistance of her partner, she created a trucking company and used the extra income she acquired to purchase real estate.
However, it was not until 2007 that she ventured into the beauty industry. This was after she had given birth. “I became interested in tummy tucks and breast augmentation, and looking sexier after having a baby,” she told Trinidad and Tobago News Day.
She took classes at Berkowitz Aesthetic in Queens to get her aesthetician license. After receiving her license, she started practicing at home. “It was exciting doing it, making alterations to people. It was kind of a thrill doing the transformations,” she said.
As demand for her services increased, she acquired a storefront for the business she named Bella Beauty Spa. She later partnered with other vendors and the spa evolved into Bella Body Spa and Beauty Lounge located in Queens.
According to Trinidad and Tobago News Day, the spa specializes in post-surgical care and non-invasive treatments for body transformation and rejuvenation. Her beauty lounge includes a champagne room, sauna, jacuzzi, massage, and full-body scrubs. Clients get lashes, brows, nails, hairstyles, weaves, and wigs done.
Her business now has a school called Bella Body Beauty Institute which provides advanced post-op care, teeth whitening, microneedling, and advanced facials.
Since starting her spa business, Mendoza said her clients are excited with the service she provides.
“We are transparent as to what the expectations will be. We don’t oversell anything. Most of the services I tried first myself. I don’t like selling something that is not working.”
She has also opened a second location in Queens and has mobile locations in Atlanta, Florida, Houston, and Barbados. She is planning her next location in her native city, Chaguanas.
“I grew up in Trinidad and it is a great achievement to open back home and share what I learned,” she said.
According to Mendoza, her grand plan is to “take over the Caribbean in a big sense.”