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Ashley Henderson on Braving the Pandemic to Sustain Her Newly Established Business

The pandemic forced a lot of businesses to fold last 2020 and 2021, both temporarily and permanently. Unfortunately, even those that have been around for several decades were not able to withstand the global health crisis and its damaging effects on the world economy. Spa owner Ashley Henderson and her business partner and sister, Raven, were not spared from the blows that the pandemic brought upon business owners. The sisters established Bella Sorella Body Image in 2019, shortly before the pandemic broke out. And while they were forced to close their first location, Ashley remained steadfast and chose to brave the storm. 

Ashley saw the closure of Bella Sorella Body Image’s first locations as a temporary setback. Together with her sister, they created a strong master plan, one that had taken pandemic restrictions into consideration. They were determined to make an explosive comeback, and this time, they would be better and stronger. True enough, the business made a monumental return when the pandemic restrictions started to relax. Today, Ashley and Raven own an entire building with eight suites dedicated to catering to their unique clients. 

“Throughout this time, I have been able to maintain my business and clientele. Social media has been a fantastic resource throughout the life of Bella Sorella. I believe being able to sustain a business in its early stages when there were established businesses who went through turmoil is a testament to the work I’ve put in since the beginning,” Ashley shared. “I was able to maintain Bella Sorella while continuing my career in modeling and running multiple businesses, all while being a mother. As a young black woman entrepreneur, I’ve had to overcome a lot in order to be at this point, and my business is only growing from here.”

Ashley owns several other businesses apart from Bella Sorella. Her entrepreneurial journey started way back in 2009, right about the same time she was just starting out in her modeling career. She also owns a broadcast/ multimedia company, a car rental business, and short-term rentals. She confesses to being quite a shy lady, and she chose to focus on her businesses more than her modeling. In 2018, however, a celebrity photographer reached out to her, inspiring her to step out of her comfort zone and be open to modeling again. 

The idea of establishing a spa was always a possibility she considered. As she and her sister are both licensed professional aestheticians, they combined their expertise and creativity to develop Bella Sorella. The spa offers facials, waxing, teeth whitening, scalp massage, dermaplaning, beard treatments, and body treatments to promote relaxation. It is a place where people can go to let go of their worries, unwind, and feel good.

“We want anyone to feel welcome despite gender,” Ashley revealed. “Bella Sorella is a place where anyone can come to feel better about themselves. I’ve been in spas where it’s heavily geared towards women, and there might not be services available for men. We’re working towards an inclusive environment.”

Ashley has exemplified grace under pressure and worked relentlessly to get to where she is today. As a thriving Black entrepreneur who is chasing big dreams passionately, she hopes that her story can serve as an inspiration to other women who work hard to provide for their children just as she does. Her success is a result of her dedication, hard work, and perseverance during tough times. It is in not giving up that success starts to unfold.

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