Purpose and passion are the driving forces behind any successful business. Many people are fascinated with the possibility of financial gains that come with becoming an entrepreneur. Start-up entrepreneurs are amazed at the overnight success and rags to riches stories they see. The reality is successful entrepreneurs are not driven merely by the desire to make money. Most successful entrepreneurs thrive because they believe in what they are doing and integrate their personal values into their business.
An entrepreneurial endeavor is not always smooth-sailing. There are challenges that test entrepreneurs’ determination to succeed. However, passionate business owners are less likely to experience emotional setbacks and burnout.
Ola Hawatmeh’s need to create passion and purpose in her life led to her launching Mom Me Makeover. Ola’s desire was to create a positive impact on the community. Mom Me Makeover is a personal styling company that empowers mothers around the country to embrace their style and build self-confidence.
Ola also created the successful nonprofit, Makeover for a Cause. As a cancer survivor, Ola helped cancer patients, homeless, and abused women feel better with themselves through a relaxing makeover. Ola is also the founder of Ola Styles, which is one of the fastest growing Urban-Chic clothing brands. Alive magazine and SBM mentioned Ola as the most influential business woman in the country for starting two profitable enterprises from scratch.
In this episode, Ola Hawatmeh shares how she juggled business and motherhood, the importance of creating a positive impact as a business owner, and why you should give back to your community.
Tune in as Ola gives us her strategy and style to becoming a world class business owner. With hosts, wealth manager Lee Michael Murphy and career advisor Sergio Patterson, join this week’s episode of The Free Retiree Show.
What you’ll learn:
Lee Michael Murphy: Good day, Lovely and loyal listeners. Thank you for tuning in to the free retiree show. I’m your host wealth manager, Lee Michael Murphy. And I’m alongside my pal. Welcome business and thought leader edition of our show. This is a segment of our show where we get to learn from folks that have done some great and amazing things in their career and their life.
And we get to learn how they were able to do it and achieve success for today’s guests. They started with nine. They got into the business, not to make money, but to create a positive impact. So we’re honored today to have prominent entrepreneur and fashion designer, Ola Hawatmeh all as a fashion designer and creator of the designer label all a style, which is one of the fastest growing urban chick clothing brands. She is a CEO and the founder of mommy makeover and unique personal style company known for helping moms all across the country, embrace their style and gained. She started the first make-over company in the Midwest in mass recognition, established two successful companies.She’s been awarded as most influential and top business woman by alive magazine. And she was also named 2017 top business woman. Welcome in all. how are you doing this?
Ola Hawatmeh: I’m doing well. Thank you for having me on.
Lee Michael Murphy: It’s a pleasure. Why don’t you tell us about the mommy makeover? I think that’s very interesting and I’ve read about it and I think it’s really cool thing, but why don’t you tell our listeners in your own words, what it’s about?
Ola Hawatmeh: So, when I first, when I moved from New York to St. Louis, I’ve always had, a love for business and just been an entrepreneur, I think by heart. So, being a mom, myself, a new mom, When you are a new mom and going to these mothers groups. And, I realized that obviously the mother is the magnet in the house.
And sometimes we tend to let ourselves go to put our kids. First. I wanted to create a company where helping moms feel more confident and empowered because the is the magnet in the house. So I put together a five-star team. It was one night I had this idea. How can I make a difference helping these mothers that kind of just, they sacrifice for their kids, but they don’t take times for themselves.
Ola Hawatmeh: So I put together a five star team of Beverly Hills stylists, makeup artists, and home trainer, and started advertising from nothing. and the first year it became a huge success, with the. I just saw, so many moms reaching out to me. They wanted, or even spouses, they say, Yeah. my, my wife needs a makeover.
She’s never taken the time to get her hair done or take time for herself. So with that first year, when I first started it, I made 80,000 hollers, no overhead costs. And there’s a saying, if you can create a company in Missouri, you can create anywhere in the country because it’s such a, it’s such a hard, place to start anything.
So, the second year I started make-over for a cause. and I’ve always told us to anyone that I work around. If you are blessed, you have to give back, do not forget where you come from, you can’t cause that can all be taken away. so humility and humbleness has been instilled from my parents. I love my upbringing very school, but, and also being God-fearing.
So I started make for a cause. I, myself had not told anyone this at the time, but I had, thyroid cancer, which is, is removed and that’s, it you’re fine, but I never told anyone instead, so I started to make over her cause and I started donating make-overs to cancer kids. and it was just amazing, but it was.
It was a lot of pain seeing 14, 15, 16 year old, teenagers with brain cancer, different forms of cancers, but to see them transform the empowerment, like just to see them go from,very, just this insecurity, with the C-word over their head, it takes one to know one and I know how it’s like.
To have that confidence pulled away from you and be judged. You’re not looked at as an individual. You’re looked at as a cancer, survivor, instead of a warrior. And that’s what I wanted these kids to be looked at. So I started, Make over for a cause and started donating these big overs and donating these make-overs to, different kids with cancer, friends of kids with cancer.
It was wonderful. and then I became a fashion designer on my own said, okay, what’s the next step? Madonna reinventing herself every three years, but still making a difference. I’m like, all right now, as a new Yorker, yeah. I use my hands and I get. but I still am consistent with my message.
So I became a fashion designer. I didn’t study fashion. I teamed up with someone in New York city and I started I’ve always loved fashion. So I made the runway. Kind of like a runway of confidence. So I took teens that were struggling moms that would reach out to meI had the first down syndrome model in fashion week and it’s like, okay, putting them in a show and giving them that 10 minutes to make them feel so empowered, getting them here and makeup.
And they were Keens that had a lot of issues, but someone that I should to give them a second time. And to see some of these teams now on social media, calling themselves models, they went fromthe lowest of the low, where their parents had given up hope because you know what the drug epidemic and everything else that we have going on in America, it’s sad and our kids are our future.
It was amazing. So I know, I mean, in my mind, Becoming a designer. I never said, okay, I want to be a designer so I can sell a dress. I’d rather make a difference in someone’s life, then make, could then than sell a dress. And so I am different in the industry. But I think a lot of it comes from being a first-generation and the struggles that I’ve gone through.
And instead of looking at the struggles and use and feeling. And letting them go the opposite direction, where I felt so bad about myself. I want to empower others. When I did that, It helped strengthen me to make more of a difference in others. If that makes any sense.
Sergio Patterson: Okay. What’s interesting is a lot of people we talked to, not a lot, maybe some people talk about the money or w what they’re trying to reach something, but I didn’t hear that at all. I feel like what’s awesome about your story is a lot of the things you’re doing money. Wasn’t the first thing in your mind, it was more about how can you change the world?
How can you give back? Is that kind of an accurate? that’s what I’m kind of getting from your story.
Ola Hawatmeh: Absolutely. It’s very accurate. it’s been my message from day one. I think ever since my entire adult life, ever since I was in college, that’s kind of been my purpose of my head is no matter what I do, there has to be purpose and it has to impact others in a positive way. So, yeah, thank you for noticing, but Yeah. that’s been my message all along with everything.
And even in politics too, politics is just such a dirty industry. when someone calls me a politician, I kind of cringe. and they’re like, well, you’re a politician. No, I’m not, I’m politically involved. and I’ve run campaigns. I’ve run. For con verus and I’ve run for comptroller.
But I don’t give up,no matter what win or lose you don’t give up. And so, but still in politics, why am I in politics? Because I want to make a difference. And when I first decided to run for Congress after my last fashion show, I said, okay, well, what, how else can I change things up? The only, the biggest impact you could have is getting in Congress and making a difference.
So I said, okay, well, you know what? I’m to throw my hat and I’m going to run for Congress. And people are looking at me like you never ran for anything in your life. You’re a fashion designer. You’re a business owner. You’re going to run for Congress. Okay. I won on primary night by huge margin. And then the mail-in ballots Cavan I lost. And it was just a huge, everyone did a writing campaign for me, which was wonderful, but, it was just, it was w you know what it was, but I’d never gave up. I know that I impacted so many farmers and So many business owners telling me you’re the first politician to ever set foot on our farm or on our business.
And I hate the, the same old getting people to run our country and then just to do nothing, we all have to get involved,for the sake of, as a mom for the sake of our kids.
Lee Michael Murphy: So you actually went to farms. I mean, I think that’s amazing cause you, you look very like FA like fashionista, I imagine you come into the farm and like heels and a nice dress.
Sergio Patterson: white pants. I could just picture it now.
Lee Michael Murphy: Farmers. What is whole lot doing here?
Ola Hawatmeh: like, remember that show with Paris Hilton
Lee Michael Murphy: Oh yeah.
Sergio Patterson: her and the other girl. Right.
Ola Hawatmeh: Yeah, her and Nikki, I felt like Lenny Kravitz, like in the back of my head, I’m like, oh my gosh, this is like an episode of that show. But the GOP and these politicians said she has no idea what she’s doing. Like this is farm country and she doesn’t know how to relate.
And I’m like, my grandparents came as farmers, like I’m adaptable to anything and I love people. And that’s what people don’t understand. Like I love people. so I moved to this town, this area called it’s an old say, go county. I mean, think of like children to the car. And like, it was just like in the middle of nowhere, like in the middle of nowhere, like a trailer and farms everywhere.
Cause otherwise I would be driving. I used to drive seven hours a day. So I’m like, you know what? I love challenges. They say I can’t do it. I’m going to move on a farm. I lived on a farm for two months. It was life-changing. I mean, I can’t say it was easy cause it was. I know I put in my GPS in the morning, to go to Starbucks and it would take me to like this dish, there’s no Starbucksthe only way I could get wifi is to drive to the closest McDonald’s.
It was no reception. There was no service. I was like, it was like a reality check, like, okay, you want to. Relate to the people. God’s put you in Chuck and I have to deal with this. And, and it was just a, it was an interesting experience. But it was definitely eye-opening. And I would have to say, even though.
I mean, I proved them wrong. A but B farmers are just the salt of the earth people. And that’s how my family is to just, they’re just so generous and so kindhearted and you see their kids and they’re just it’s, it was a wonderful environment to be around,living there for more than two months. I don’t know.
I mean, it’s Yeah. but it definitely taught me that you can’t be high maintenance.
Lee Michael Murphy: That’s amazing. So, well, going back to, like, when you started in the fashion industry, I mean, fashion is considered one of these industries that you’re going to fail. it’s extremely difficult. I’ve known people that have tried to do it, and it’s just like, it seems impossible. You go into this with the thought of not making money, but, create impact.
I mean, how did you weather the storm in the beginning? what was the secret to like really. Getting the business going.
Ola Hawatmeh: Well, people ask me all the time, like, how do I have the energy? Because I have a lot of work ethic, but it’s the passion and the drive that I’ve always had in me, it’s passionate and driving and being fearless and just putting in your all, whatever you do, you have to put a hundred percent and you can’t be hesitant and anyone.
Clients candidates, assistance, anyone, friends that I work with, whatever you do in life, you put,you do it with. And you do with passion. and don’t ever say that I can’t, I mean, if I said that I can’t as a female as a first generation, middle Eastern, I mean, as a business owner, as a fashion designer, as a business. As a mother, as a cancer warrior, all of these things I don’t look at as, nothing holds me back.
And I just, I don’t put any barriers in my mind, like, Oh, my mind is just like, it never has like yield sides or okay. No, I can’t do this. Or this is like not my territory. Like, no, I feel uncomfortable. I want to learn when I first got in politics or business, people are like, what are you doing?
How are you going to start a business from nothing? I said, well, I have an idea from that idea. I’m going to, when I first had the idea of starting mommy makeover, keep in mind, I’m in a town that I don’t know anyone, but I love giving back. So I started looking up local charities and events that they had and I called them up and I said, Hey,I have A company called mommy makeover. I just put together the LLC. I have a company called mommy make-over and I would like to donate a make-over. Part of your silent options. And they probably thought I was like this huge company. And so they’re like, ah, really you’re donating a make-over to us. Sure. And I’m like, oh my gosh.
And then I didn’t realize Schlafly’s and like big name clients that are bidding 2000, $3,000 on this make-over company that I just started. And I’m like, oh my gosh. Now I have to really like, making sure that it’s done right. And they were all happy about it. and that’s basically how I started with donating these make-overs to charities, and to silent options and building my client list from there. Yeah.
Sergio Patterson: Ola, what’s been the, so a lot of positivity, a lot of great things. What’s been like the toughest part of your journey, whether it’s mommy makeover getting it, like what’s been that moment where you’ve maybe had some doubt.
Ola Hawatmeh: Being judged a lot of people. Especially in politics a lot judged on lack of political experience, being a female or how I look using those gainst me. What it does for me is just pushes me harder, but it’s definitely been a struggle. I didn’t have any backup.
When I first ran except for, one party and they did everything to, to kind of get me out. And I don’t know if it’s, and I don’t want to say, being a middle Eastern female. I mean, I don’t think I w I would hope that we’re, we live in a time now where. That’s not the fact, but mean part of me feels like some people are still they’re still in that mindset where, Alice she’s middle Eastern.
When I first ran, they said, oh, well, I don’t know if she was born in America. So ealing with that, or, oh, she’s a fashion designer. She’s all about, she needs to just stay on the runway. Oh, she was a model, how could she be doing this? So being judged, based on my outside appearance and not knowing anything about my heart or the purpose of why I’m doing it.
Because it’s very rare that you hear a politician that’s in politics for the right reason, or they tell you what you want to hear. And then once they lose, they disappear, but I never disappeared.
Sergio Patterson: That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing.
Lee Michael Murphy: Absolutely. So what would be your recommendation to, other entrepreneurs, people in their career that feel that they’re, they have these, all these challenges and they just feel like. The odds are against them and they’re never going to become successful because you’ve had, it seems like in your journey, you’ve had so many things like even health was an issue.
What is it that you can do if you’re some of these people that are going through challenges of how people feel about you, the way people think that you have lack of abilities or even health issues, how do you overcome that?
Ola Hawatmeh: Don’t ever let cancer define you, don’t ever let the negativity or the struggles that you’ve overcome in your life. Having faith in yourself, anyone can do whatever you set your mind to.
You can do it. I had nothing and I started a company from nothing and having that?
mindset of, I can do whatever I set my mind to, and I will not give up until it’s accomplished. Whatever you start finish, everyone has that power in. them You have that light in you, you just have to find it and let it shine.
Sergio Patterson: Love it.
Lee Michael Murphy: Yeah, that’s amazing. So how give us an update on your company and how people can learn more about, because I think it’s really cool stuff that you’re doing.
Ola Hawatmeh: So during mother’s day I donated, makeovers for veterans, anyone. I was a veteran, or veteran wives. They wanted to, I couldn’t afford to make over anyone that reached out to me throughout the country. So now I’ll be setting up these make-overs for them and traveling, and. Now of course we have Memorial day weekend and September is fashion week.
And New York, it I’ll be doing, I haven’t done fashion week because I’ve been campaigning. So company’s still running. Everything’s still going. And obviously social media, like LinkedIn has been it’s crazy because. That’s where a lot of people reach out for if they need help, if they need a make-over, if they, anything, they reach out for advice. I started with like 5,000 followers and now it’s over 40,000 with like over a million views, certain posts.
Lee Michael Murphy: All right, you got massive following now.
Sergio Patterson: You’re blowing!
Sergio Patterson: I call it LinkedIn famous
Ola Hawatmeh: I know they’re like, I’m like,
Lee Michael Murphy: That’s the only thing we care about on this show. I don’t care about the Insta famous LinkedIn famous is where it’s at.
Ola Hawatmeh: So Ola style.net is my website where they can find me.
Lee Michael Murphy: Thank you so much all for coming on our show today, you are an inspiration and thank you for all the cool stuff you’re doing for the community, for the veterans, for the moms and the kids, that needs.
Ola Hawatmeh: Thank you.
Lee Michael Murphy: Yeah, you’ve really taken like your skills and abilities and,and made a difference
Ola Hawatmeh: Thank so much.
Lee Michael Murphy: So hopefully all the listeners can learn something and, I’ve learned a ton from you. So thank you so much for coming on our show.
You’ve been listening to the free retirees show so long for now.