New nonprofit Hope & Olive helps restore confidence.
She went to battle. She fought like hell. She endured chemotherapy. She agreed to the mastectomy her doctor recommended. And she won the war. She has reason to celebrate. She is in remission. She will live to see her children marry. She can still look forward to the day when she will cradle her grandkids in her arms. She should be full of joy, right?
Through my work as a permanent makeup artist, I have been privileged to call many breast cancer survivors my clients. These women amaze me with their strength. But there’s something you might not know about them. Oftentimes, their sense of self and confidence is left ravaged in the aftermath of the fight.
She looks in the mirror and sees a shadow of her former self. Although her hair has slowly grown back since chemotherapy, her eyebrows never returned. She doesn’t want to draw them on and feels guilty for even concerning herself with them. She’s still alive, after all.
She holds her hand over her chest where her left breast used to be. She traces the long scar that took its place. She aches to feel feminine again. Not for her husband. Not for her friends. But for herself. She misses the confidence that shines from within when you feel beautiful in your own skin. Another wave of guilt. She’s still alive, after all.
I’ve had many clients over the past five years who were in my chair at 3D Brows and Wellness for a medical or mental health reason. I started to notice that they all felt broken in some way and that they had come to me for restoration. My biggest joy is seeing the positive transformations that my services spark.
In February, I launched the nonprofit organization Hope & Olive, Inc. because I want to spread the life-altering potential of restorative permanent makeup services. Through Hope & Olive, these services will be provided at no cost to deserving recipients in Northeast Wisconsin. Breast cancer survivors are just one example of the medical and mental health conditions and life-altering circumstances that create a need for restorative permanent makeup services.
Through permanent makeup eyebrows, I am able to give people who suffer from alopecia or trichotillomania the gift of eyebrows. Alopecia is a medical condition that causes permanent hair loss, and trichotillomania is a mental health condition that involves compulsive hair pulling. Through areola restoration, I can help a woman who has undergone a breast reduction or endured a mastectomy start to feel whole again. Through skin needling, I can help burn survivors increase their range of motion and quality of life. Through branding tattoo removal, I can help human trafficking victims start to move forward.
Our work at Hope & Olive is done with the following goals in mind: “Restoring confidence. Recapturing self. Rejuvenating spirit.” I feel privileged to help my clients start to walk away from their pain and toward a happier version of themselves.
She stands taller now. She has reclaimed a piece of herself that breast cancer stole. This fight has changed her, but she’s not going to let it keep her down. She will rise. Her confidence is starting to shine from within again. Her new eyebrows make her feel fierce, and she’ll stare down anyone who dares to doubt her. Her sense of femininity has been boosted by areola restoration, and her reflection doesn’t feel so foreign anymore. She’s ready to start a new story and close the book on this one.
Please visit hopeandolive.org to learn more about the powerful transformations made possible by restorative permanent makeup. If you have been affected by a medical or mental health condition or life-altering circumstance and would benefit from our services, we invite you to complete the application on our website to receive services at no cost.
How to get involved with Hope & Olive
We are currently fundraising to be able to assist our first recipients, and Hope & Olive needs your unwanted shoes! Yep, you read that right! We have partnered with Funds2Orgs to host a shoe drive, Soles for Hope, through April 27. In exchange for the shoes, we will receive funds to support the transformation of individuals right here in Northeast Wisconsin. The shoes are then sent to micro-entrepreneurs in developing nations who sell them in their local communities. Who knew purging your closet could do so much good?! Please view the list of dropoff locations here. We have locations in Green Bay, Seymour, Kewaunee, Appleton, and Chilton. If your business is interested in collecting shoes on our behalf, please contact us at [email protected].
To support our mission and directly help restore the lives of community members in Northeast Wisconsin, please visit our website to make a contribution. Every dollar goes toward funding restorative permanent makeup services.
Jill Ullmer is the president of Hope & Olive, Inc. and the owner of 3D Brows and Wellness in Green Bay. She lives in Seymour with her husband and six children. Jill was just 11 years old when she started pulling out her eyebrows for the first time. She went through her adolescence and teen years pulling out both her eyebrows and eyelashes thinking she was the only one who did this to herself. At age 21, she finally discovered she had an actual disorder – a mental health disorder – and was not alone. She was suffering from a disorder called Trichotillomania, or “Trich” (‘trick’) for short. As Jill entered her early 30s she became emotionally exhausted from keeping her disorder a secret and living in shame and hiding for so many years. In 2015, she began using her story as advocacy not only for her disorder but mental health awareness in general. Jill’s main goal is to help others feel comfortable and confident with who they are. She considers her mess to now be her message, and she encourages everyone to embrace their differences rather than focus on comparing themselves to others.