Written by Ellen Huggins. Photography by Chelsie Walter originally published for Women of Cincy.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Nicole Lee. I am a published author, entrepreneur, podcast host of “Spiritual Beings Having Human Experiences”, and founder of Warrior Moms. Warrior Moms was founded on the premise that single mothers are recognized warriors that deserve to be celebrated for their strengths. I’m also a loving mother of three wonderful children – two in college, one in high school.
What is Warrior Moms?
Warrior Moms was inspired by a grant through People’s Liberty in 2016. The idea was a combination of who I am: a single mother my career of 20 years as an owner of a hair and beauty salon. Once I retired about 5 years ago, I decided to start writing, and while writing and volunteering for AmeriCorps, I applied for and received a People’s Liberty grant. The idea was to celebrate three mothers from three poverty stricken neighborhoods with a makeover photoshoot. Once I received all of the applicants, about 30, from these three different neighborhoods, they started sharing everything about what was going on with them. I thought, “Wow, they need something more.” I chose the three winners, had a celebratory event, and created a workshop that would assist those mothers as well as those who applied with tools that would assist in their life as a single mom. For example, we taught financial literacy, meditation practices, igniting creativity, poetry writing, and jewelry making. From that, I did a makeover photoshoot and we did a final event where I displayed the photos from the makeover. It was a great time.
What has happened with these moms is it ignited an entrepreneurial spirit that was already within them. It just bloomed and now they all have their websites and they’re on the move! Warrior Moms has pretty much sparked that from within.
What makes a Warrior Moms a social enterprise?
So many things. What has happened since the makeover, during my research while I was going through the process, was that I didn’t realize that there was an epidemic with single mothers living in poverty here in Cincinnati. I got pushed into a movement of what was happening because, as a entrepreneur myself, I recognized the power of owning your own business and setting a price to products and services which will allow you to be home with your children. I was very successful in that. I wanna share with single mothers how entrepreneurship can ignite those opportunities and abilities to have time for the self as well as your children.
With being a social enterprise, you equip the mother, because my whole philosophy is “reach one, teach one.” The goal with those that won with the makeover photoshoot is that they can go into their community and share what was given to them. That’s how you create prosperous communities from those that are suffering from poverty.
How do you measure your social impact?
There was a big write-up on WCPO and it rang loud with the makeover photoshoot.. Since then, with several platforms – a website, social media – I receive a lot more connections to single mothers in the city as well as outside of Ohio that are interested in Warrior Moms. This has raised some awareness and attention and it continues today. I respond by email, social media and make connections with similar organizations. We make partnerships with those who are interested in Warrior Moms and what we do. Warrior Moms has become this model and connection for other organizations trying to help single mothers.
How has Flywheel helped your social enterprise?
The thing about this whole journey, I’ve just been gifted with so many opportunities, including a workshop with Flywheel. Warrior Moms’ mission is to enable the single mom with the ability to eradicate emotional paralysis. My goal is to make products and intellectual property that will assist with anything that causes negative emotions; depression, anxiety, stress, etc – all of the things that most people deal with, but especially single moms. Flywheel was very helpful because I have a vision of creating an emotional tracker app and they gave me insight about how to go about that. I rented a book called How to Eradicate Emotional Paralysis, a guidebook for single moms, that has different affirmations with remedies based on the particular emotion. Flywheel was helpful with their mentors in helping me manifest this as well. I’m going to start off with using the book as a tool and gathering a focus group of single moms for a 30 day period to find ways of how I can create this app. I have many ideas and visions.
How can people in the community get involved with Warrior Moms?
Go to our website. We’re now a 501(c)(3) and I’m in the process of forming that to allow funding to assist with the movement. I’m also partnered New Faces of Fundraising. It’s a program that provides a paid internship that will help with ideas to fundraise for your organization and connect with other organizations in the city. We have a Warrior Moms private group on Facebook, we’re on Twitter, email us. I’m in the development stage, so even sending love and light and ideas would be ideal.