After experiencing her loved one receive hospice care, Shawndrika Pulliam asked herself “How can I help somebody feel okay during that time?” Shawndrika’s newfound passion to help others and extensive research led her to becoming certified in massage therapy. Fast forward to 2023, and Shawndrika is now the owner of Ultimate Massage & Wellness and recently won the Saginaw Soup Pitch Competition. Little did she know that her passion and research would make her a small business owner and allow her to help others.
Many massage therapy jobs were far from Shawndrika, and she was not interested in moving or making a long commute. Those circumstances left her with one option: opening her own practice. Having no prior experience as a small business owner, Shawndrika had a lot of work to do.
Ultimate Massage & Wellness opened in May of 2021, and Shawndrika began offering in-home massage therapy. Shortly she discovered that she wanted to have her own space for safety and convenience purposes. Shawndrika has since secured a space in Bridgeport Township in Saginaw, Michigan, where she offers massage therapy.
Shawndrika reached out to the SBDC in June of 2022 for business consulting, where she was assigned to work with Chris Vieau on her business.
“Since the beginning when I first met Chris, he helped make the business that I want, not the business that somebody else wants it to be.”
Not only did Chris Vieau work with Shawndrika on her business, but Chris Curtis was a co-consultant and helped her with marketing her services. Shawndrika’s involvement with the SBDC led her to apply for the Saginaw Soup Pitch Competition, where she had the ability to earn $2,000 for her business. With the help of the SBDC, she prepared a pitch deck, attended the Saginaw Soup workshops, and presented in November.
“The Saginaw Soup Pitch Competition is a great experience to go through because it helps you figure out what you want for your business. It gives you the opportunity to meet people, and it gives you information to start your business.”
After much preparation and her presentation, Shawndrika was the winner of the Saginaw Soup Pitch Competition. She plans to use the funds to expand her self-care workshops and to offer different packages for her massages.
Expanding the services of Ultimate Massage & Wellness is in line with her top priorities in working on her business. Shawndrika’s top priority is simple: her clients. She shares that her biggest successes are seeing her clients return for her services and hearing positive feedback. Shawndrika takes the time to learn about each client and strives to make them comfortable and supported.
When asked to share a piece of advice for small business startups, Shawndrika said, “Be consistent, passionate, and take your time to create your business plan.” Shawndrika is a great example of a consistent, passionate, and patient entrepreneur. As a result of her hard work, she has earned funding to expand her services to continue supporting her clients.
“Thank you, SBDC, for recommending me to Chris Vieau and Chris Curtis. I recommend the SBDC to anyone who is trying to start a business.”