Welcome to the second edition of Women at Work, our weekly newsletter to help women thrive in their professional lives. We hope you enjoyed our inaugural edition and if you have any feedback for us then please send me an email.

This week we unpack the journey of celebrated beauty entrepreneur Huda Kattan of "Huda Beauty", examine the share of women in the top 1% income group across countries, explore what the world's most influential CMOs have on their mind and more.

Surabhi Chandra


Huda Beauty, the social media-fueled cosmetics unicorn, was founded by Iraqi-American Huda Kattan in 2013 when brown women were not a coveted demographic on many beauty influencers' radar. Kattan helped to fill that gap by creating content that celebrated the rich beauty traditions of the Middle East and incorporated the latest international trends.

A Migrant Story: Born to a family of immigrants on October 2, 1983, in Oklahoma, Huda came from a humble background. She majored in finance at the University of Michigan-Dearborn at her parents' insistence before moving to Los Angeles to learn her makeup secrets.

The Birth of an Idea: Michael Jackson's death in 2009 made Huda realize the impact she wanted to leave on the world through her work. She wanted to follow her dreams and do something she was genuinely passionate about. Her sisters encouraged her to study makeup, which eventually gave birth to the Huda Beauty blog.

Starting Steps: Huda began with only the "Huda Beauty" blog, working as a makeup artist by day and a blogger by night in Dubai. But soon, her creative makeup tutorials and experiences with clients like Eva Longoria and Nicole Richie catapulted her into the upper echelons of social media fandom. Huda never wanted to start her own business, but with an extra nudge and a small loan from her sisters, Huda Beauty began selling false eyelashes in 2013. The lashes received early praise from Kim Kardashian West herself, and there was no turning back!

Cosmetics Giant: Huda is one of the world's most influential beauty bloggers with 2.1 million followers and has consistently used digital platforms to innovate and build a community around her! In the last 7 years, Huda Beauty has achieved unparalleled success. Here are some stats -

  • Community: 60+ Million Followers on Social Media
  • Product: 140 makeup products and 3 brands
  • Team: ~400 people
  • Stores: 2000+
  • Annual Sales: $250+ Million
  • Funding: $200 Million by TSG Consumer Partners in 2017
  • Business Valuation: $1.2 Billion
  • Estimated Personal Net Worth: $510 Million

Bold Choices: Huda is a strong-minded woman with remarkable self-awareness and business acumen.

  • Huda scrapped a new concealer line in 2018 because of imperfections in the formula - a decision that cost the company roughly $10 million in potential revenue.
  • Huda decided to give up her full salary until the rest of 2020 so that her employees could be financially stable during these challenging times.
  • Huda stepped down as CEO this year to focus on product, develop content, and strengthen the leadership team by hiring professional executives.
  • Huda has struggled with endometriosis almost her entire life and publicly spoke about it in 2019 to raise awareness about the issue.

A New Start: Huda appointed Nathalie Kristo as the CEO of Huda Beauty this September. However, she will remain an integral part of the company and focus more on her newly launched skincare brand, "Wishful."

The Final Word: Huda Kattan is the definition of a successful self-made entrepreneur and proves that no matter where you come from or what your passion is, with the right intentions and copious amounts of hard work, everything is possible! To put it in Huda's words, "Sometimes you don't know what you're capable of until you try it."

Connect with Huda: LinkedIn


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