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WWD Beauty Inc Awards: Beautycon’s Moj Mahdara Wins Disruptor of the Year

Five years since the first Beautycon festival, Moj Mahdara has plans to experiment with social selling and new retail channels.

Few have tapped into the beauty zeitgeist as effectively as Moj Mahdara, founder and chief executive of Beautycon. Since launching her first beauty festival back in 2013, Mahdara has harnessed the rise of influencers and inclusivity in beauty to create an empire that lives at the cutting edge of content, commerce and community. While the OG Beautycon continues to grow—an estimated 15,000 people passed through the two-day New York event in April—Mahdara is also innovating with smaller formats and a new business model that will enable the company to enter more markets and go deeper into retail. Beautycon Pop opened for a 30-day stint in Los Angeles in mid-November, with plans to expand to Miami, Atlanta and Chicago domestically, and Singapore, Japan, China and South Korea internationally. “Everyone knows what we’ve been experimenting with over the past few years is a ginormous retail pop-up,” Mahdara said. “If you go online and look at #beautycon, you’ll see requests to bring this property everywhere….The best way for us to do that is to reinvent the best of the festival and…create a new format that we can take to [new] markets.” Mahdara is also testing a social selling strategy for Beautycon, harnessing the power of its attendee community—the average Beautycon consumer has 1,500 followers she said—to drive commerce. “There’s nowhere to go with these big digital footprints but to essentially create new commerce channels for people,” Mahdara said. “If you’re a retailer at this point and you’re not using your digital footprint for social selling…you will be revising that strategy in the next months.”