To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we’ve sat down (virtually) with an incredible range of inspiring, powerful women across the retail and eCommerce industry. We wanted to know what it takes to get to the top, how to overcome challenges and the top tips for future female leaders.
Today we sat down with Huda Kattan, Founder of Huda Beauty.
How did you make the leap from employee to business owner?
Huda Beauty was born when I couldn’t find any false lashes in the market that were right for me and persuaded by my sisters, I decided to start creating and selling my own. I’ve always strived to create products that filled a gap in the market, which, has really been the driving force behind our brand’s success. I never set out to become a businesswoman, it just followed when I decided to pursue my love and passion for beauty.
Who is a woman who inspires you?
There are so many inspiring and incredible women, but I would have to say the woman that has truly inspired me for years is Oprah Winfrey. Oprah is such an empowering woman, she broke stereotypes and I have regularly asked myself, ‘What would Oprah do’ in situations I am unsure about.
What milestone are you most proud of?
I would have to say it’s probably still our first launch of our classic lashes at Sephora Dubai Mall. So many people were there! I was overwhelmed and humbled by the support and love. It really was a crazy but such an exciting moment, to see our hard work come to life, and so many people love the lashes we created. We totally sold out on the first day! I will never forget that launch!
What has been the most difficult part of growing your business?
In the beginning, one of the biggest challenges were the ones I faced as a business WOMAN and the sexism that existed and does still exist. I wasn’t taken seriously – people would treat me, constantly, like Huda Beauty was just a hobby. In meetings, they would constantly make eye contact with my husband and direct all questions to him – he would be like “Ask the big boss”. I have learned to navigate this, as women we’re forced to be more firm, to make sure we are listened to. Things have definitely changed since I started and are ever changing, but we still have some way to go.
What 3 traits do you think are most important when running a successful business?
- Being passionate and loving what you do is a key ingredient, so starting with questions like, Why do I want to start a business? Do I like the industry enough to be living & breathing it 24/7? Do I have enough passion to follow it through? I have always given people make-up advice and talked about beauty products, because that’s what I am passionate about.
- Surround yourself with a loyal team and share responsibilities. You need to delegate responsibility to others and establish a strong company culture and that means having a loyal, supportive team.
- Be patient – it can be hard but in the beauty business patience is a virtue!
What’s the best business advice you have ever received?
Keep your best people around you. I work extremely closely with my family, sisters and the wider team – it keeps me sane and even makes the tough days on the job a little bit lighter.
Any advice to future entrepreneurs?
As above. Be passionate about what you do, know your market inside and out, look for gaps in the market that you can fill with the product you wish you had. And be prepared to work hard, very hard!