Torianna Doss will graduate from Fisk University in 2020 with a degree in Business Administration, but she already has one successful business under her belt and is finding ways to help other aspiring entrepreneurs reach their dreams.
When Torianna came to LEAD as an eighth-grader, college was not on her radar. But that changed thanks to the college-prep nature of LEAD.
She said, “I was just grateful to attend LEAD. As a first-generation college student, If I had not gone to LEAD, I don’t think I would have gone to college. I wouldn’t even know who I am today. LEAD showed me college was an option.”
“We love to see LEAD graduates go out into the world and make it a better place,” said LEAD’s Director of College Counseling, Christine Harris. “I’m not surprised Torianna has already started her first business. She has the drive and determination and we are so proud to see her flourishing in college.”
From dorm room to storefront
Torianna has excelled and made the most of her time at college. During her freshman year at Fisk, she noticed that students were coming from all over the country to attend the university, but very few students knew how to do their hair.
After researching what she could from YouTube videos, she started making her own wigs for friends, and word spread about her high-quality work. Soon, even family members and friends of friends started reaching out and her clientele grew quickly.
What started as a dorm-room side-hustle turned into a full-fledged business as more people came to her. She built a website and began taking online orders. Then she opened her first brick and mortar location in January of 2019 and expanded her services and products under the name Bombshell Studios in North Nashville.
Torianna has seen a direct benefit from her business school studies and rejects the idea that entrepreneurs don’t need to go to college.
“If you want to run a business, and if you want to know every aspect of your business, it really helps to go to college and study business administration,” she said. “ Anyone can sell a product— but that’s not all it takes to run a business.You need to know how to communicate effectively, how to do the bookkeeping, how to present yourself.”
Vision for what’s next, and the next generation of entrepreneurs
While she began her business career in hair, she doesn’t necessarily want to stay there. She is open to many new areas and opportunities— as long as she can stay in business and “is able to watch some grow that she started.”
Her first goal is to start employing other people so she is able to earn income from Bombshell Studios even when she cannot be there.
Then, she sees a lot of potential in real estate to earn residual income and help others looking for affordable space to grow their own businesses in Nashville. Torianna has a dream to lease a building, turn the space into different suites to rent out to other up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
Her drive to serve others and use her business savvy to make a difference is clear. She started a “Be your own boss” program to help other entrepreneurs get off the ground, assisting them with first steps like securing a business license, certifying their name and creating a logo. She said, “When I started out, I didn’t know other entrepreneurs, so I want to be a resource for others— to be that helping hand for others to pursue their ideas and dreams.”
Once LEAD Family, Always LEAD Family
Throughout all of it, Torianna has found support from her LEAD family. Teachers have stopped by the store to see how she is doing. The LEAD Alumni network has promoted Bombshell Studios and encouraged her along the way.
She has some words of advice for those LEAD students coming up next: “Value your teachers at LEAD. They are really there to help you. LEAD teachers actually take the time to teach you— they even take extra time to tutor you and make sure you know the material. Then you get to college and we had already learned so much of the material they teach you freshman year. Even learning to write, we learned how to write in LEAD. Looking back, I really appreciate that my teachers really cared about me, it was more than a job for them. They were involved in people’s lives every day.”