CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A Chicopee woman recently recovered from septic shock and is now in the process of opening both a hair salon and a home décor store.

Salsabila “Bella” Saleh went through both transforming and life-threatening experiences. When the COVID-19 pandemic first began, Saleh lost her job as a hairdresser and switched to a different field as a health coordinator for the time being. To make an extra source of income, she began resin and acryclic work for paintings and tables.

Eventually, she knew that once COVID-19 numbers would start to drop, she would open up her shop. In May of this year, Saleh purchased her store. However, renovations were put on delay as she needed unexpected surgery. A week after her surgery, she began to develop an infection and almost died as a result of a septic shock.

Saleh was rushed to a Boston hospital on her birthday, June 14, for six days before returning. Her life started to feel like it was put on hold again.

Courtesy of Salsabila Saleh.

In the process, she also lost a very dear friend that was close to her. “Life hit from every angle, everything was on hold, and I was out of commission for a while. You know sometimes you just have to step back,” Saleh said.

After spending four weeks in recovery, in an out of hospitals, Saleh was able to start renovating her business on 10/12 Percy Street in Chicopee. The name of her business is expected to be called The Bougie Budget, which will consist of both home décor and a hair salon on opposing sides.

The home décor store is to include handmade items such as woodwork, gift sets, baby shower sets, and everything you could ever imagine. “Nothing is going to be the same, everything is unique,” Saleh expressed.

When it comes to her hair salon, she aspires to make women feel comfortable in the space, especially those of her Arabic ethinicity.

Saleh will also be making her prices budgetable to each consumer that walks through her business doors. “It’s going to be budgetable because everything is so expensive right now. We don’t need to be suffering or not going to the hair salon to get a hair wash because it is going to cost $70,” she said.

For Saleh, it took two to three jobs at once to save up money, sleepless nights, a lot of stress, and losing friends to get where she never thought she’d be.

“So many times, I’ve gotten to the point where I had to give up because of everything having to be bought, be put on hold, using your own money out of your savings, it feels like you have a chunk, but it runs out. I never thought I’d be where I am now and continue.”

Salsabila “Bella” Saleh

“I just feel blessed and it’s not easy and I know it’s not going to be easy, but if I can overcome a death situation that has to happen to me and everything else that has hit, I know I can overcome anything,” Saleh added. “I never felt so happy to wake up at 8 in the morning and say I’m going to my space, I’m going to paint my shop. I open up the doors and I walk in, it’s just a different energy. You walk in and it’s yours.”

As renovations are being currently completed, she hopes to open by mid-August. Her goal for the future is to have everyone get to know who she is behind the business and her aesthetic.

“Whatever happens coming forward, is still going to be considered a blessing because I’m alive at the end of the day and I’m doing what I love to do. I can’t wait,” Saleh said.