AMR Hair & Beauty is beyond excited to be celebrating 12 years in business! Behind every successful business is a strong, ambitious and passionate leader. The journey started when a bright-eyed boy with entrepreneurial pursuits endeavoured to make a mark in the hair and beauty industry. Ammar Issa, Founder and CEO of AMR, spills all on the challenges he experienced as a young business owner, what motivated him and how he built his success. The team would like to congratulate you on what you have created, Ammar, and we can’t wait to see what lies ahead.
What kind of challenges did you experience growing up as one of six children in south-west Sydney?
Growing up with five siblings had its challenges, especially due to my mum raising all six of us all on her own. Money was tight for us and things weren’t always easy. Our biggest struggle has always been our financial situation. We grew up in housing commission and relied on the Salvation Army to help, mostly around Christmas time. Mum always worked but we still needed assistance to ensure we had school uniform and food. It was hard seeing my mum struggle and knowing that there was nothing I could do about it. This is the main reason I am able to stay motivated and strive to succeed.
Do you think that the adversities you experienced during childhood turned out to be an advantage or a valuable moral lesson?
My challenging upbringing motivated me to do better and become successful. I went through a great deal of hardship and I didn’t want my mum to have to worry about me anymore, which has been a huge factor for me when it came to my business. I wanted to be able to provide a better life for my family and wanted to prove to myself that I could prevail through adversity. I refused to let a tough childhood dictate my future and deter me from reaching my goals. Witnessing my mum raise six kids on her own inspired me. I made a promise to myself that no matter how hard things got, I would keep pushing until I had successfully achieved what I had set out to do. Once I complete one challenge, I create a new one and use the same motivation to fulfil the next task/business venture.
What was your thought process when you decided to start AMR Hair & Beauty at fourteen and what were the challenges?
I had been working in the hair and beauty industry for 3 years at this point. I had noticed that there was a large gap between quality products and low pricing. I listened to the customers and thought of ways I could improve the market for affordable hairdressing products. Before I knew it, I was trying to build relationships with suppliers and was learning hard and fast about business management skills. Age was one of the key barriers for me when trying to get loans, signing leases and buying from suppliers. No one wants to fund a 14-year-old with no business experience. I was still in school at the time and my mother insisted that I finished year 12 before I leave school to pursue my business. I had to work hard to balance work, life and schooling for a few years.
Did you, at any point, think that the effort may not be worth it? Were you ever close to giving up?
There are always times where you feel like giving up. You sacrifice many things for success and things aren’t always easy. I reinvested every cent back into the company and didn’t have a social life, while still living at home with my mum. My company failed many times before I finally got it right. One of my very first businesses burned to the ground after many years of hard work. At times, I thought I couldn’t move forward due to my age and the struggles that came with starting a business so young. I just kept pushing boundaries and finding ways to overcome the misfortune.