Writer: Treasure TM

Uprooting your entire life for love in this day and era sounds like a cliché but when it puts a thousand miles between you and the life you are accustomed to, it may become a bit more challenging. I know because I am one of the “clichés” I suppose, but it also takes an extraordinarily strong determined person to choose starting over from “scratch”. Change can be very alarming, be it good or bad and that is why most of the time we enjoy our comfort zones way too much.

This month, I got the pleasure of working on a project with one of the most talented people I have come to know. I named it the “June project” well because I started it in June, and I have had a blast working alongside the CEO and founder of OLIVE H HAIR. Olive Hanson is a Ugandan talent who moved to the UK in 2019 after getting married. Starting out in a new country can be overwhelming but Olive braved it by starting her own business from her own home in her living room. Today, she gets to share her passion and the story behind her start up business with us and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

OLIVE HANSON: CEO & FOUNDER OF OLIVE H HAIR

1. Briefly tell us about yourself…

My name is Olive Hanson, born and raised in central Uganda. I however moved to the UK in 2019 after getting married to join my husband and can I just say, I love it here! My husband has been my biggest support system and has pushed me to focus on my business. He motivates me to do more every day and honestly speaking, he is the reason I have come this far.

When I had just moved here in 2019, the hospitality from my in-laws was unbelievable, they were very welcoming. As a matter of fact they are the reason I settled in faster than I expected, and I can proudly say I am best friends with my mother in-law. God bless her! She has treated me like her own daughter, I honestly cannot complain. She has been a big help, driving me around when I need to go places, teaching me how to make Irish and English cuisines, in fact she taught me how to use the wig sewing machine.

2. How was Olive H Hair birthed and what exactly is it about?

Olive H Hair was an idea that came to me as a matter of urgency because in the town where we live, there are very few Africans, so I had to travel quite the distance if I wanted to get my hair done and it is also quite expensive.

At the time I had no job, so I had plenty of free time and I started watching YouTube tutorials about wig making so after a while, I bought myself a start-up kit and made my first wigs. My intention was to make them for personal use but once I posted them on my social media, I got a lot of positive feedback and that was when it hit. I can turn my passion into my job and once I advertised that I was selling wigs, orders started coming in and so that is how Olive H Hair was born and it is all about making human hair custom wigs for all ages and people all over the world.

3. What inspired you to start?

I always wanted to be my own boss, since I was a little girl. Moving to the UK opened my eyes to the possibility of making my dream come true so I thought to start small and start now. The other thing is that I also love switching up my looks, and the best way I can do that is to have access to different hairstyles to match my mood every other day. So I thought why not start making myself wigs and then dress up and show up ha ha in that exact order!

4. What achievements have come out of this journey?

Firstly, I have made a lot of friends from all over the world because customers end up becoming friends as you build rapport and trust. I have also made myself a bit of money even if I am just starting up and I can see a bright future for my business so I am very excited for what is to come. I learn something new every day and these are skills that nobody can take away from you, so I am incredibly grateful.

5. What challenges have you faced so far?

The biggest challenge I have faced so far is shipment. Sometimes I find it hard to ship to some countries, yet I would love my business to be global. The other thing is suppliers prices keep going up all the time and this affects me when it comes to my oldest customers who had gotten used to the lower prices and insist on paying the same amount as before.

Brexit and the pandemic have not been much help either, so I have a lot of cutbacks to do and that means ending up making and selling less wigs than I used to at first. But just like any other business, it needs more investments of course and any money made sometimes just ends up back into the business.

6. Have you always been passionate about wig making?

Honestly, I never thought about making wigs before moving to the UK. It never crossed my mind, not even once. On the other hand, I always loved wearing them, so I guess that came in handy eventually.

7. How do you usually get clients?

I get most of my clients through social media advertising that is Facebook, Instagram and recently my business website. I also get a lot of help from friends and family through word of mouth and customer testimonials too.

8. What lessons have you learnt on this journey?

I have learnt to be very patient with people and myself as well. Listening to the customer’s needs and wants is especially important and therefore you must do your best to make sure that the customer is happy and yes, it is true, the customer is always right. I have also learnt self-discipline when it comes to the business, meeting deadlines even if it means having sleepless nights as long as I get the product to the customer on time. Most importantly I have learnt that there will always be “haters” for lack of a better word to use, these are not even customers or friends but will have a negative opinion on a product they have never even used before. I now just consider them secret admirers and I continue to build my brand.

9. Where do you see olive h hair in 5 years?

Wow! That is an easy one. I see Olive H Hair as a global hair brand in five years, I hope to continue working and building my brand with people all over the world. A girl can only dream but dreams do come true, I am a strong believer.

10. What is the best way for clients to get in touch with you?

Clients can reach me through my social media platforms.

WhatsApp – +447305608165
Facebook – Olive h hair
Instagram – Olive h hair
Or Olive Hanson for my personal accounts

Indeed, dreams do come true and my only hope for you my readers is that you get inspired by this Ugandan talent and you start small, start today. Life is too short to postpone everything to tomorrow. Start on that assignment now, publish that article, apply for that job, open up that business, ask for that raise, ask for that promotion. The time is now, start small, start today.

Leah Grace Oketcho, is a highly talented Communication specialist, gifted in leadership with over 3 years of leadership and management experience at different levels. She is a team player and has demonstrated ability in mobilizing and organizing others to achieve desired goals. Oketcho is well vast in the art of creating alternatives for ways to get results. She has over the years grown in the art of corporate communications and also participated in the development of performance management materials for various professional institutions. Leah received training in research, scripting, international relations, and data analysis as well as public relations. She is passionate about solving public health related problems. She has offered training to youth in oral and written communication, people management and mentoring, editing and documentation skills, public speaking.

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