by Randy Laist, Professor of English, University of Bridgeport
Jessica Maria Silva and Dionne Sosanya are two University of Bridgeport students who have developed their passion for personal care into growing local businesses.
Silva is the owner and founder of Divine Beauty Spa, which provides non-invasive body sculpting services and will soon provide esthetic services. She recently moved into a private studio space featuring a large beauty bar and located in Bridgeport’s growing downtown area.
For Silva, working in personal beauty care offered a chance for her to combine her interest in the healthcare field with her passion for entrepreneurship and leadership. “Now everything I do is on track to make Divine Beauty Spa into a medical spa and eventually a teaching facility,” she says. “My UB education is helping me in so many ways.”
“Nursing is the main foundation to help me get on my nurse practitioner track to have the credentials to open my own medical spa,” Silva continues. “My psychology minor is helping me with my own personal growth and also understanding people as a whole. Psychology is the foundation of everything, and as a service provider I also listen to my clients and provide them a safe space. I’m their built-in therapist, and I’m glad I can help them with deeper insight. Lastly, my electives are giving me the ability to expand my knowledge with study abroad opportunities, business, and communication classes.”
Sosanya started her fragrance business during the COVID pandemic, motivated by the desire to help women smell good without relying on harsh chemicals. She researched ways of making perfumes in less harmful and more natural ways and used these techniques to develop her own line of perfumes. “I wanted to do handmade and homemade as well, because I couldn’t stand factory-made stuff,” she says. “If I start my business up again, I plan on working on getting an office as well.”
Sosanya also credits her UB education with giving her tools to continue growing her small business. “UB has definitely helped me as an entrepreneur. For example, in social media classes I learned how to utilize specific platforms and plan my content out effectively,” she says. “In Business planning, I learned how to develop an accurate business plan, and definitely pushed through video production class to create videos using different software.”
Silva and Sosanya both have big plans for the future of their businesses. Silva plans to eventually grow Divine Beauty Spa into a business with multiple locations, while Sosanya hopes to help mentor other young entrepreneurs.