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Conversations with the Inspiring Hannah Makela

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hannah Makela.

Hannah, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Brunch Babes Tucson was started as an inspiration from both Bumble BFF, and Sex and the City. I had begun using Bumble BFF to connect with friends in Tucson. I had been living here for about a year, with zero success in meeting “girl friends”. The concept of making new friends as an adult can be more nerve wracking than dating!! So adding swiping left or right, picking out the PERFECT outfit to impress, and setting up a coffee “lady date”… and this girl was a sweaty, nervous wreck. I’m a social person by nature, and loooove an event, but just meeting friends one on one wasn’t always working well for me. I had hoped to find a core group of gal pals, that could empower each other, inspire each other creatively, share details about our lives, and bond over tasty AF brunches.

As I built my core group of friends through the app, I began to plan events for us to experience new things in our community. This girl loves aesthetics, and an avocado toast of course, so I began researching the best spots to brunch in town! I soon realized I wanted to broaden the scale of this group! I wanted to make more of an impact on the community than just a few friends regularly getting together! I desired to be directly involved with each business, and see what they were needing to grow their own social media platforms. I began to open up events on Facebook to the public, where anyone could come, bring a friend, and I’d set up in advance with each restaurant to make it a unique experience! From an entirely custom menu, to specialty cocktail creations, or celebrating silly holidays, we do it all. Customizing each event, and planning ahead of time allows each restaurant to shine!

But why stop there? I wanted to support more than only the restaurant industry. What about the salons, the floral shops, the jewelry designers, and all the other inspiring business owners in our community? How can I support them too? I began to reach out to partner with these businesses, from interview features, giveaways or donations, or in store events!

Brunch Babes Tucson has become a connecting point for the consumers AND the businesses in our community, to truly understand why shopping and supporting local is so important!!

Has it been a smooth road?
Brunch Babes has grown exponentially in a short period of time, so adapting and making changes quickly has been crucial! Unfortunately, life is not an episode of Bewitched… and I can’t just wiggle my nose to make that change on the spot. Although growing quickly is definitely exciting and very rewarding. I have been hustling to keep up! I want to be able to plan as many events as I possibly can, say yes to everything, and take on every opportunity. I’ve learned I can say yes, but for the future, not everything needs to happen RIGHT NOW. As it has grown, I have been able to start planning events for up to three months from now!

If there are women looking to start a similar concept in their community, or starting their own individual journey, I’d definitely recommend meeting as many people as possible! Whether it be using an app like I did, attending networking events, or searching Facebook for what’s happening your area, be open to trying a new experience and making connections. Finding likeminded people to motivate, inspire, and fuel your drive is KEY. It’s not feasible to do everything yourself, no matter how hard you may try at times! Building a team around you, and delegating to each of your specialties is so important. For example, some of the connections and friendships I have made in my community are photographers, marketing specialists, other event planners, social media managers, bloggers, etc. We are stronger together!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Brunch Babes Tucson story. Tell us more about the business.
Brunch Babes Tucson is set apart from other community organizations for so many reasons! I believe we stand out initially due to our sincerely welcoming environment! My motto is “inclusive over exclusive”. If you want to be a part of the group, then we want you to be part of the group! THAT”S IT! We also constantly take the community aspect to new and exciting levels. Not only are we out in the community, we are promoting, supporting, and learning about individual businesses and professionals within Tucson. Each babe that joins our group, brings new business opportunities, new event ideas, more friends aka “babes”, and a new direction for growth. Taking the time to be open minded and listen to new ideas, takes us in new directions that I couldn’t come up with all on my own! Finally, I love collaboration over competition as a backbone of what we stand for. There’s so much room in the social media world, professional environments, restaurant industry, and more, for all of us! We each of our own skillset, and by working together, we are un-freaking-stoppable!

Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
Growing up I come from a very large family, I am the youngest of 7 children! I also have 21 nieces and nephews, so it can be tricky to get all of us together! (and VERY VERY loud) I have always loved being surrounded by people, and find comfort being around those that I love. Living out of state, away from all of my family, can be lonely at times. I felt the need to make Tucson feel like my home, by creating a space to be surrounded by a “local family” of sorts. Brunch Babes Tucson has opened my eyes, and made Tucson feel like a place I could never imagine leaving!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Ryapie Pictures

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