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Laurie O’Hara

Founder & CEO Olita


What inspired you to start your business?

I would often go to local beaches with my little children. What's at the beach? SAND! Where does sand go with little children? EVERYWHERE! I started the business with just one product when I decided to formulate a magical body powder to wick away sand, sweat, salt water from your skin. After the success of Beach Be Gone, I decided to expand with other lines of all-natural skincare products to protect and care for anyone who loves to play outdoors. I was also inspired to instill a company mission to create sun care products that are safe for the environment.

What challenges have you faced as a woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?

My biggest challenge was having a full-time job, working on Olita as my side hustle, and being a single mom. It was incredibly difficult to find the time to run the business in a way that would make it grow. When I went full time with my own business is when I started seeing real positive change and progress towards our goals. I needed to focus and give Olita the time and attention it needed to see true growth.

What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?

1. Do your homework and know your competition, then be better.

2. Be confident in your future success, and keep at it until you get there. The biggest indicator of entrepreneurial success is hard work and refusing to give up.

3. Once you have the means, ownership is the key to wealth creation. Invest in the equity of your business to grow your assets and wealth.

4. If you have children, put them to work for you. I believe in legal child labor at home. Having your children help with your business in any capacity also gives them an appreciation for the work you do.

What three traits define you?

Integrity, tenacity, and a healthy appetite for fun

What women inspire you?

I love politics, so female politicians inspire me. They are grilled and criticized all the time, yet need to face public scrutiny with grace as they endure it. My favorites are Kamala Harris, Olympia Snow, Hilary Clinton, and Michelle Obama.

How has being a WBENC-Certified WBE helped your business?

This was the smartest thing I’ve done! I have been reaching out to the Diverse Supplier Managers of target companies and registering my company on their Diverse Supplier Portals. This is really helping Olita get in the door of companies that could be game changers for us.

What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?

I see consumers demanding healthier ingredients in their skincare and most relevant to Olita – in their sunscreen. We are witnessing how consumer demand for better quality ingredients is changing the industry and moving it toward a more ethical practice of environmentally safety. Chemical sunscreens are becoming unpopular as they are known to be the source that is killing coral reefs around the world. I love seeing the growing trend in reef safe mineral and organic sunscreens! We are there as a brand and it’s great to see the consumer influence building.

As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?

As an emerging brand, I worry about our name recognition in a very crowded space. While sun care is a growing industry, it is packed with competition. I worry about how Olita can stand out and break through the noise to get the attention of wholesale buyers and consumers.

What are the biggest obstacles you see for young female entrepreneurs?

Absolutely number one is balancing life and work. When you are self-employed it can be 24/7. Being a wife, mother, or parent care-giver is also 24/7. It can get chaotic trying to do everything well. It’s so important to have support in a spouse and/or other family members. Being disciplined to create downtime to enjoy family and friends or simply alone time is invaluable to keeping mentally healthy and energized for the long haul that is entrepreneurship. Number two for me is finding the funding to capitalize appropriately to scale. Women entrepreneurs are more underfunded and less likely to seek funding.

What do you love about being a business owner?

I love the freedom to chart my own course and ensure that Olita demonstrates integrity and quality in everything we do. I love setting our values and business goals, as well as creating the path to reach victories – small and large. I thoroughly enjoy building our brand and defining what we stand for.

·What’s the hardest part about being a business owner?

Being a business owner requires fearlessness and grit. The hardest part for me is not knowing how or when the next big success will come. That’s when fearlessness and faith come in – to carry me through times of uncertainty with the grit and wit I need to pull it off.

How do you define success?

Success is when you reach or surpass your goals. I also include happiness in my definition of success. If I achieve my business goals without joy and happiness to appreciate my success, then it feels hollow. I need to enjoy the journey (although it is certainly not easy) and enjoy reaching the victories to feel successful. Along with success comes the gratitude to all who helped along the way.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Do what you love and the money will follow. Don’t start by following the money.

What’s your favorite career moment?

My favorite career moment was going full time with Olita and deciding to dedicate my all to make it a success. This was liberating - albeit frightening. I have been having so much fun doing the hardest job I’ve ever had – except motherhood of course.

What’s the best way to start your day?

I create and update my schedule the night before so that I know what I need to accomplish each day. I review my day, get my coffee and dig right it.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an archeologist and then a politician. As I am fiercely independent and constantly think of how to solve problems, I needed to start my own business. The entrepreneurial career path suits me.

How do you unwind after a long workday?

We always have a family dinner. We have the custom of asking each family member how their day was and the favorite part of their day.

What do you like about your workspace?

My workspace is comfortable, quiet, and close to beautiful hikes. And I get to have my pets with me .

Fill in the blank:

When I face a challenge, I... do scenario planning and then pick my best option.

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to start my business sooner.

The one thing I couldn’t live without is… my appreciation for humor, often at my own expense.

By this time next year, I will be … exponentially larger and in more stores across the country.

The best thing that happened to me last week was … getting a big second order from a new account.

To get my creative juices flowing, I …look at best practices across all kinds of industries.


Olita is a line of luxurious sun care products using all natural, high performing ingredients. Our products protect and nourish your skin before, during and after playing outside with vitamins and age-defying antioxidants. We strive to make the outdoors a fun and happy destination, while keeping you and our environment beautiful.

Learn more.

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