SELF MADE

HUDA KATTAN, 34, turned be­ing a make-up artist into a global mil­lion-dol­lar busi­ness with over 23 mil­lion beauty dis­ci­ples

Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Contents -

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.

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