HUDA KATTAN, 34, turned being a make-up artist into a global million-dollar business with over 23 million beauty disciples
Huda Kattan on the beauty of entrepreneurship
➤ Be comfortable being uncomfortable Your hardest times will be your most fertile periods of growth. I’m close to my family, but when I left my job as a finance recruiter and moved to LA to study make-up, I was suddenly alone. Being out of your comfort zone forces you to evaluate who you want to be. Don’t shy away from scary situations – I used to hate public speaking, but just kept doing it until I wasn’t afraid any more.
➤ Waitress: it’ll teach you about people You can learn something from every job you do, even if you think it isn’t relevant. I was president of the student organisation at college, where I picked up leadership skills. But it was the year and a half working as a waitress when I was 17 that showed me the best way to deal with people. In difficult situations now I always try to handle myself well, and be as considerate as possible.
➤ Never veer from your path I knew from the beginning that I wanted to launch in Sephora. So when we were being pushed towards another retailer, I just saw that as a hurdle. [Huda Beauty first stocked its lashes in the store in Dubai in 2011.] Plus I wanted control over the smallest details, like the technique used to make our packaging shimmer. Everyone thought I was mad. But I knew that by explaining myself coherently and staying focused, eventually they’d understand my vision.
➤ Give short shrift to slackers People think that because we’re a beauty brand, our office is all fun and fluff, but I have high expectations of myself, and of those around me, too – there’s no room for slackers. If I ask someone to do something, I want it done by the end of the day. It’s a fast-moving, energetic office, and that’s challenging. But three years ago, I was packaging our eyelashes with my sisters [Alya and Mona, who head up strategy and social media at Huda Beauty], and not making any money. Prior to that, when I was a make-up artist, I’d often work an entire month with no days off – now our team is nearing 100 employees.
➤ Don’t give in to ‘imposter syndrome’ Everybody is an imposter to some degree – even I get that feeling, and I’m the CEO. In fact, at one point, I considered stepping down and hiring a CEO, but my husband convinced me to stay, and now I can see that was absolutely the best decision. You have to practise believing in yourself and get over it.