Before she hit it big in the social media beauty space or even filmed her first tutorial, makeup maven Huda Kattan was an entrepreneur with a dream, and a financial challenge. The blogger was looking for some money to take her business to the next level, but she couldn’t convince the banks to get on board. “I needed $10,000 to rehaul my blog, but I literally couldn’t find anyone to lend me the money!” she recalls. “I was lucky enough that my family lent it to me in the end, but it was a real challenge convincing banks that my idea was worthwhile.”
Today, the Dubai-based businesswoman not only has her own wildly popular beauty brand, but also boasts almost 24 million Instagram followers, with reports pegging her estimated net worth at $4.5 million. Recently, the Huda Beauty brand received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners, a partnership that led to the creation of HB Investments, a fund that facilitates new beauty and wellness businesses.
While the financial backing is a plus, the program gave life to something close to Huda’s heart: The Huda Beauty Angels, which will lend seed money, mentoring and advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. She chatted with us about what the Angels program will help promote, doing her part as a role model and why she’s pumped to proclaim 2018 as “the year of imperfections.”
Do you think entrepreneurship in beauty will be a big theme for 2018?
Absolutely! There are so many incredible indie beauty brands on the market right and they were all started by someone who had a big dream and just went for it. There isn’t a formula or traditional way to do things anymore, and I am seeing a lot of men and women take control of their futures by creating the products they want to see, and I LOVE that! We used to hear that “the sky is the limit,” but that isn’t true—you can go as far as you want to, and I think more people have become wise to this and are prepared to leave their job to do something they are passionate about.
What made you create Huda Beauty Angels?
Huda Beauty Angels will facilitate new beauty and wellness businesses by lending seed money, mentoring and advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. I am so passionate about this program because I know firsthand how difficult it was to get money when I was starting my business. I really want to be able to help entrepreneurs reach their goals because I know that without money, the road to success can be very difficult.
What do you think is the hardest part of starting a beauty business that people don’t realize?
Huda Beauty is a brand that champions female empowerment and uniqueness, which doesn’t come without its challenges. Whenever you are pushing boundaries, there will be pushback from people, so we’ve really needed to embrace what we stand for as a brand and accept that there will be criticism.
On the flipside, one of the biggest rewards is succeeding in a space where it isn’t common for an individual or a family-owned business to push boundaries. We’re that brand that shows women that they can have it all, and we love being that role model.
What other beauty trends do you think will be big in 2018?
First, individuality is a trend that I love—embracing your uniqueness and feeling confident enough not to correct “imperfections.” I LOVE when I see a trend that allows people to be comfortable in their own skin. I’m so happy that individuality is being celebrated, brands are becoming more inclusive and, ultimately, it’s cool to be different.
Otherwise, I am obsessed with using bright colors right now. I am trying to experiment with brighter colors on my lower lash line and playing with smoked-out liner looks—I think adventurous eye color will be big this year. Metallics are also really hot at the moment, which I love because it inspires people to be more daring with their beauty routine. We usually see a lot of metallic and glitter eye looks in autumn and winter, but people will be experimenting with galactic finishes in spring/summer 2018.
What role do you think wellness will play in these bigger beauty trends?
Consumers are super aware of their health and wellness so this is definitely something brands are taking into account. Personalized beauty and skin care products are super popular right now and buyers are really aware of the ingredients in their products. There is a big focus on being your own version of beautiful or your own version of healthy, and that really plays into the bigger trend of embracing your individuality.
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