Huda Beauty

Beauty Entrepreneur Mona Kattan on Shattering the Myth of Perfection

Huda Beauty Beauty Entrepreneur Mona Kattan on Shattering the Myth of Perfection | Spotlyte

If you’re one of Mona Kattan’s 2.2 million Instagram® followers, you might know a thing or two about the serial entrepreneur. For one: she’s the co-founder and president of the overwhelmingly successful cosmetics brand Huda Beauty® and the fragrance collection KAYALI®. And two: the 34-year-old works very closely with her family, including her older sister Huda, a blogger-turned-business woman and namesake of Huda Beauty.

While the thought (or actual practice) of working with siblings is stressful for some, it’s been a positive experience for Kattan. (She and Huda also work alongside their other sister, Alya.) “My sisters have always been my best friends and we work well together,” she shares. “We are lucky that we all have different strengths and have naturally fallen into defined roles that we enjoy. We work all the time, but also have a ton of fun.”

It’s not all playing around with palettes, though. The sisters work hard to set boundaries, put emotions aside, and be very strong communicators.” Kattan knows that these skills, along with her enthusiasm for her job, are necessary for success. Before going into business with her family, the Oklahoma City native (who currently resides in Dubai) graduated with a finance degree from the University of Sharjah in the UAE in 2008, and spent her first year out of college as an investment banker.

“I quickly grew bored and decided to try something of my own,” says Kattan, who left her corporate job after a little under two years. “I started my own PR/marketing agency that I called Mastermind.” Her new venture was a project she started while she was still working in finance, and thrived for nearly three years. “It was less of a traditional marketing agency and more of a full-service consultancy business where I helped start-ups to get off the ground.” From there, Kattan took what she learned and decided to dive more into the relationship building side of PR, which led her to start a niche VIP guest list business, “The A List.” She helped brands and companies build out premiere guest lists for luxurious events. “I was constantly working on something new and exciting, which I later learned was the optimist in me coming out in my professional world,” Kattan quips.

Kattan’s experience wasn’t limited to marketing and rubbing elbows. She started a World CupTM kiosk selling exclusive merch in Dubai, worked on a candle making business, and embarked on a fashion label with a friend. She ultimately ended up launching a network of beauty salons in Dubai. “The beauty salon was my first taste of growing a team of talent, hiring and managing people and digging deep into what it meant to run a successful business,” she says. 

This was a year or so before Huda Beauty launched in 2013. “It was a great experience at the right time and helped when Huda, Alya, and I founded our company,” said Kattan. “If we didn’t start Huda Beauty, I probably would have stayed hyper-focused and continued to grow the salon business.”

Today, her upbeat attitude continues to shine — like every business she touches. In our one-on-one chat, Kattan reveals the best business advice she’s received, what she’d be doing if it weren’t for cosmetics, her injectables regimen and (of course) what’s in her makeup bag.

The key to getting started is launching with enough, and learning and updating as you go. A lot of people hold themselves back because they believe that things need to be perfect before launching and that’s simply not the case.