Dubai’s magnificence mogul Mona Kattan spills her commerce secrets and techniques to constructing a billion-dollar empire

When magnificence mogul and entrepreneur Mona Kattan invited you to her basement library at her swanky villa in Palm Jumeirah, you have been forgiven for anticipating rows of leather-bound books neatly stacked collectively underneath heat lighting.

However the trailblazer Kattan, co-founder of the multi-million-dollar make-up empire Huda Magnificence and Kayali Fragrances with over 2.8million followers on Instagram alone, is not any traditionalist.

As you descended down a set of slender stairs into her warmly-lit basement in her posh mansion, you have been greeted with a heady aroma of a thousand fragrances. As an alternative of a literary trove, the partitions have been lined with glossy cabinets holding rows and rows of glass bottles in several shapes and colours, every containing a novel scent of varied value ranges. Among the bottles have been so classic that they have been now not available in shops anymore.

“We’re in my fragrance library basement proper now, and it’s my assortment that I’ve been amassing perpetually. I began amassing fragrances on the age of 14, and I’ve turn out to be increasingly obsessed through the years, particularly throughout Covid-19. I grew to become loopy, like borderline insane,” mentioned Kattan in an unique interview with Gulf Information.

Iraqi-American Kattan appeared round her “fragrance library basement” with immense delight. Some individuals are home proud (as she needs to be since her Dubai house has an infinity pool overlooking the ocean), however this 37-year-old Kattan sister is basement proud. There’s even a white bench with beakers and pipettes — like her personal little cozy lab — the place she may hunker down and refine her fragrance formulation throughout the pandemic when her personal insanity for creating a brand new scent had peaked. The outcome? A brand new Kayali perfume within the Yum Pistachio Gelato tones. Apparently, a woman’s journey along with her sister Alya in Rome set the ball rolling and triggered this new enterprise concept.

“I really like Pistachio Gelato ice cream. I attempted it for the primary time in Rome in 2014 when my sister Alya and I went on this vacation collectively. I fell in love with this flavour … If any of my mates or an interviewer asks me about what could be my final meal or what’s my final favorite dessert, I identify that as my final meal or favorite dessert,” mentioned Kattan. Even her power-suit, with fake fur detailing, was pistachio colored and mirrored the bottle of perfume she had simply rolled out on this market.

Largest Worry

Whereas Mona Kattan is a seasoned entrepreneur within the Center East for establishing a magnificence empire, what was her largest concern?

“Each time we launch one thing, I am so nervous. Will it go effectively? Will we meet your expectations, the finances… It is at all times scary, it doesn’t matter what ,” mentioned Kattan, including {that a} perfume or product can by no means be universally appreciated. However her fears have been exponentially eroded when she knew she was teaming up with the legendary father-son perfumer duo Olivier and Sebastien Cresp for Kayali’s Yum Pistachio Gelato launch. Olivier is a French perfumer who has created numerous standard fragrances for varied manufacturers similar to Thierry Mugler, Dior, and Nina Ricci.

“We labored on a masterpiece collectively … I met Olivier for the primary time in 2018 on the Perfume Basis Awards in New York when he acquired the Lifetime Achievement Award. I met him and we took a selfie … I used to be fangirling and informed him that I had at all times dreamt to do a perfume with him … He’s the final word creator of gourmand fragrances. I didn’t assume he would need to work with me as a result of I used to be nonetheless very new and a small model evaluate to what he usually works with just like the Dolce & Gabbana ones. However he was very humble and down-to-earth,” mentioned Kattan. Collectively, the 2 grasp noses and she or he got here collectively to give you a luxurious scent.

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Mona Kattan (Centre) together with perfumer duo Sebastien and Olivier Cresp (proper)

Mona, the youthful sister of Huda, is not any stranger to establishing profitable enterprise fashions. Her success with the Huda Magnificence Empire is the stuff of legends. She’s the co-founder of this extremely profitable beauty enterprise, which was valued at greater than $1 billion in 2018, and is its Chief Working Officer (COO), enjoying a major function within the development of her household enterprise. Her Kayali Perfume can be a success story. So what does it take to construct an empire with international attain?

Mona’s nostril for scent: 

“I believe we should always at all times take into consideration simply step one of beginning one thing as a result of the empire will occur after a few years, like 10-15 to twenty years of working your [butt] off and staying targeted and having a imaginative and prescient to remain in the correct path. It’s not that onerous to start out, what’s arduous is to maintain it going,” mentioned Kattan. The important thing to getting a enterprise mannequin up and operating is to keep away from getting side-track by “short-term” objectives.

“Keep in mind, my obsession with fragrances began when the perfume business wasn’t on fireplace. Solely established manufacturers have been doing effectively and to do one thing area of interest meant, you both want a superb finances or it’s important to begin very small and develop very slowly over 10-20 years. Now, the perfume business is sizzling proper now,” mentioned Kattan. She additionally remembers a time when issues weren’t going so easily.

“I needed to keep dedicated, , on the very starting, it wasn’t profitable, it was not taking off. It was like, very irritating. After which , you simply should maintain pushing your self to maintain going maintain making an attempt one thing new … You need to simply have good folks round you, who encourage you,” mentioned Kattan.

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Huda and Mona Kattan on the Huda Boss Celebration in Dubai in 2019
Picture Credit score: Clint Egbert

She counts TV mogul Oprah Winfrey as one among her largest function fashions and claims she would like to create a scent for her idol. Her profitable system is painfully easy. Trace: a number of rounds of remedy helped her nail it.

“To be trustworthy, I solely just lately began following my intestine – in all probability three years in the past. Earlier than that I used to be nearly not in contact with my feelings. So after remedy, that’s once I acquired actually in contact with my intestine. So now, I’ve been following my intestine for the previous three or 4 years and it has modified my life … I’m now linked to myself and I do know the solutions straight away,” mentioned Kattan.

True to her phrase, her gamble with the brand new perfume appears to have labored out effectively. The pistachio-laced fragrance in a frosted bottle has been given the thumbs-up by fragrance aficionados. So, can girls have all of it – magnificence, enterprise, brains, and a life?

“It relies on the way you outline “having all of it”. All of us have to be balanced … I’ve been working so arduous perpetually, like 10 plus years, nevertheless it additionally meant my private life was taking the backseat. Now, I’m making an attempt to be a bit extra of an all-rounder.”

Mona Kattan gets married to Hassan Elamin
Mona Kattan along with her husband Hassan Elamin