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How Huda Kattan Broke All the Rules and Built a Beauty Empire

In less than 5 years, Huda Kattan didn’t just build a name for herself or a billion dollar company — she created an empire.

It’s not every day you have the chief executive of a billion-dollar company channelling Dionne’s look from “Clueless.”

But that’s Huda Kattan. The self-made ceo of Huda Beauty can seamlessly oscillate between Nineties nostalgia and private equity investment strategies without skipping a beat. Clad in a black-and-white tweed skirt suit, Kattan and her equally fashion-forward sisters Mona and Alya are ready to share their not-at-all-average business plans. In short, they’re building a conglomerate.

Huda Beauty is launching fragrance. Then, it’s launching skin care.

The five-year old company of super influencer Kattan, who has 28.2 million followers on Instagram, plans to launch multiple subbrands over the next year, bringing the business into at least two entirely new beauty categories. Those subbrands will be complete with their own identities but will live under the Huda Beauty umbrella. Sales for 2018 are expected to double to $400 million at retail, according to industry sources.

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Kayali, the fragrance brand, is set to introduce a collection of four scents on Nov. 16 with the company’s core retailers, including Sephora, Cult Beauty, Harrods and Selfridges. The Elixir, Citrus, Musk and Vanilla fragrance bottles will retail for $118 for 100 ml.

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Even though people might be like, ‘What? Why are they talking about this right now?’ Later, they’ll appreciate it and it’ll make them able to buy fragrance without going into a store — that’s the whole point.

Kayali, which means “my imagination” in Arabic, is the brainchild of Huda’s sister, Mona Kattan, a fragrance enthusiast who started separately mulling over the idea of launching perfume more than seven years ago. Now that Huda Beauty is of scale, Mona has a natural fragrance platform, the sisters said.

All three sisters — Huda, ceo; Mona, president, and Alya Kattan, chief social media officer — sat down for an interview at New York’s Park Hyatt hotel to exclusively unveil the fragrance line and talk about their strategy to become the next big multibrand beauty business.

To read the subscriber version of this story, with complete interview, click here.