Boss Women of Jersey City: Assia Wilson of UPS & Sayallures

 

From working years of odd jobs to owning two successful businesses in her hometown – Assia Wilson’s story of entrepreneurship proves that bright opportunities are more than possible in Jersey City. As a Jersey City native, Ms. Wilson recalls in her youthful innocence living in a community where entrepreneurship was an attainable dream, she was familiar with prospering small businesses, family-owned hair salons, and black-owned local lounges. She often wondered why people settled for 9-5 jobs when “being your own boss” is so encouraged in the culture of Jersey City.

Photo by Janine Ngai

Not One But Two Business Launches in One Year

Growing up on Pacific ave to a family deeply rooted in Jersey City, Assia remembers being unsure of what she wanted to do in the future but knew, at the very least, that she wanted to be her own person. She attended St. Anthony’s high school to go on to do some college, deciding it was not for her she enrolled in hair school, then Gibbs for fashion and merchandising, did waitressing in New York, to working in a hospital, then as a flight attendant until she was finally given the opportunity to train in 2018 to open the UPS Store on Rte 440. The possibilities for Assia have been endless ever since – not long after successfully starting with UPS, she continued to open her own Women’s fashion boutique, Sayallures, right next door. Combining her drive as an entrepreneur with her fashion sense, Sayallures boutique has been a perfect outlet for Assia to “come out of her shell,” as she describes. Interacting with customers and making other women feel confident has been infinitely fulfilling for Assia throughout her journey as a business owner. 

Photo by Janine Ngai

With a city that has set her up for great success, Assia has been blessed enough to give back to her community with both local jobs and space for women to feel accepted. She describes one memorable experience while opening the UPS store when applicants thanked her for the opportunity to possibly work there. She welcomed an overwhelming amount of trainees and while she was unable to hire them all she sympathized with those desperate for a paycheck and trained and paid them all anyway. 

Photo by Janine Ngai

Giving Back Is What You Have To Do

Her heart and willingness to give back to her community is what has sustained her in the business world and it has not gone unnoticed by those in the local area. Both her stores boast customer count increases every month since they’ve opened and dazzling reviews of the boutique are frequent. Assia describes how Jersey City residents have truly supported her businesses and magnified the triumphs of owning a small business – “People always come into the store [Sayallures] and tell us we’re doing a great job.” She explains how this reassurance amidst the challenges of being a woman of color in the business world has encouraged her each day to push past those obstacles. “We, black women, have to go above and beyond with everything we do” she echoes a familiar burden but optimistically continues with “and that’s exactly what I do” and the customer reviews reflect that. 

 

Assia has gone above and beyond the usual expectations of an entrepreneur to put passion and care into every feat she pursues. Her mission for both businesses is, above all else, to create a comfortable and uplifting environment for both the employee and the customer. This unique approach to business is one that has proven not only successful for Assia but is aligned with the heart and integrity of a city that she has strived throughout her journey to repay.

Moriah Mikhail
Author: Moriah Mikhail