5 QUESTIONS TO MOHAMED SULEMAN, FOUNDER OF OLIVSCENTWebmaster
We sat down with Mo to hear about his entrepreneurial journey and his business, Olivscent Cosmetics!
What is your business about?
The idea behind Olivscent was born quite some years ago, before the pandemic, when after two years and a half in the Netherlands, I went to Turkey to visit my family and met a man working in the soap business there. He worked for a manufacturing company that moved there from Syria due to the war. It got me thinking about how much culture and history there is behind a simple product.
I grew up in Syria, spending a lot of time in olive fields and using soap made from olive oil. It accompanied my childhood, and I was enthusiastic about bringing this product and its story to more people here in the Netherlands. The idea behind the product is to showcase a light and beautiful part of Syrian culture and combine that with another primary interest of mine: sustainability. It is a topic I grew increasingly passionate about living here, and it inspired my choice to make the organic soaps, made out of 3-4 ingredients max, and my idea for the packaging.
It is a business that keeps sustainability and Syrian culture at heart while supporting a Syrian business back in Turkey.
In your whole entrepreneurial journey, what are you proud of?
The first thing that comes to mind is the business I started with my father in Turkey. It is a business specialising in Syrian products and has been running for eight years. My brother has also recently joined and is working on it with an external business partner.
Regarding personal development, I am proud of how adaptable and curious I have become. I am always trying to learn and try new things. Although this can also be challenging and make it difficult to focus entirely on one idea, it also keeps me from being too stubborn. It allows me to be resilient, which is essential when you choose the entrepreneurial path.
What comes to mind when you think about your journey at Forward·Inc?
It is exciting for me to see my connection with Forward evolving in unpredictable ways. I participated in the Digital Entrepreneurship Program (DEP) during the pandemic. I learned a lot about myself, the importance of discipline, and some fundamental knowledge of finance and marketing. However, my participation in the program did not lead to the concretisation of my business idea, which I abandoned shortly after.
However, a few years later, I was invited to a concert by the Forward team. This was the beginning of a new chapter in my journey at Forward. I met new people and saw how the organisation had grown since my participation in DEP. Most importantly, I became aware of the power networking and community holds. Especially now, with Olivscent, the support I have found in the Forward network was unexpected but something I am grateful for. It taught me to trust my entrepreneurial journey more and believe that with the right amount of discipline and networking, things will fall into place!
What is your current challenge?
One of the main challenges is finding the best way to learn and grow my business, which now is networking and connecting. In addition, I deeply care and worry about maintaining the quality of the product constant and excellent as demand grows. Thankfully, I have high trust in the manufacturers. Lastly, I aim at and am working on, developing a tangible set of skills in the IT field, which would help me considerably in my entrepreneurial journey.
What do you wish for Forward·Inc and all the entrepreneurs that are joining Foward·Inc?
I wish for Forward·Inc to connect and reach many more people with an entrepreneurial spirit and problem-solving attitude who are ready to make an impact with their ideas. I would also like to tell the Forward team to be proud of how far they have come in the past years, it’s amazing to see the organisation evolving and learning by listening actively to participants’ feedback.
Last but not least, for those who will join the programs in the future, I wish you success and would advise you not to be stubborn and seek support when needed. It is essential to reach your goals.