Step inside the office of Huda Kattan, beauty blogger, founder of an international beauty empire, and the woman behind Kim Kardashian’s go-to lashes.
When it comes to beauty in the Middle East, Huda Kattan of Huda Beauty has arguably put Dubai on the map. The makeup artist and blogger has steadily built her empire since 2010; she quickly reached global fame through the popularity of her namesake false eyelashes (racking up fans, like Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic) and social media (her Instagram feed alone has 8 million-plus followers—that’s even more than Barack Obama). With the stateside arrival of her lashes at Sephora stores, Kattan’s company has grown to new heights. Literally. Kattan recently moved her headquarters to the top floor of a building that overlooks the best of the city that the American-born entrepreneur calls home: Dubai. “Anytime I think about my office, I think about creativity,” says Kattan. “I want it to be a place that inspires creative thinking.”Allure got an exclusive tour of her unique workspace from Kattan herself, which (spoiler!) includes a customized vending machine of her lashes.
“When I walked into this office, I fell in love with the view immediately. It’s what I envisioned. You can see the buildings, the beach, the Burj Khalifa, the Burj Al Arab—everything iconic to Dubai—and that means a lot to me, especially since the city hasn’t been around that long. It makes me feel that everything is possible, and I love seeing that.”
“I’m so in love with Chanel’s perfume bottles. I grew up seeing my mom useChanel No. 5, so it’s quite sentimental to me. They’re pieces I want to see in front of me all the time.”
“This lash vending machine was always a dream of mine. We moved into this new office, and I’m like, OK, now I want the vending machine. It ended up getting a lot of buzz in Dubai. We once did a campaign where we moved the machine to different places, like a little treasure hunt, and whoever found it won a makeover. To me, it’s just a play on the pure fun of beauty.”
“We try anywhere from 500 to 1,300 products every month, so there’s a lot of chaos on my desk. The products that get prime real estate are the ones I love the most, the ones I try to use, or the ones that are most memorable to me.”
“I like things on my desk that are pretty and make a statement. It’s important that whatever is on my desk inspires me because that’s where I spend a lot of my time working and creating things.”
“I tell my whole team to put pictures of their family around their desk because it’s important to know why you do everything you do. Your desk is your sanctuary, so it should have things that make you happy, that talk to your soul and your core.”
“This is my thinking chair that I use whenever I need a little inspiration. Anytime anyone says, ‘OK, Huda, you need to go deep,’ I’ll turn down all the shades in my office except for this window and look out at the city and reflect. I think about how 20 years ago, there was nothing in Dubai, and now look. It just gets my creative juices flowing.”
“Part of being such a huge selfie-reliant business is relying a lot on props. We have bunny ears, panda heads, wigs, weird sunglasses—you name it. I think the office should be a fun, creative space, and we shouldn’t take things so seriously, which is important with beauty. Fun gets people going; fun gets people excited.”
“I remember when we’d travel to Paris, I’d see peonies, roses, and hydrangeas, and now those are my three favorite flowers. I’m obsessed with them. I try to keep them everywhere all the time. It adds a softer touch to everything and reminds me of French prettiness.”
“I’m a pretty hard boss. My team is amazing, and I feel very blessed to have them, so I try to write little notes to them from this pad when they’re doing well. It’s nothing articulate but something to encourage them. Sometimes it’s just a ‘You’re awesome’ or ‘You’re doing great!'”
“When we moved in here, we wanted a room dedicated to making videos. We typically do two to three a week. Yes, you have Instagram and Snapchat, but we want to do more on YouTube to show the fun side and personality of the brand.”
“I have a real problem. I just want to buy makeup brushes all the time. I think I have more than 1,000 now. I feel you can never have too many, which I know is not true, since you can do your whole face with only five brushes, but it’s this weird infatuation. Some of my favorites are from Morphe. They’re reasonably priced, and I love that they’re very domed so you can get a lot of great blending out of them.”
“I let everyone in the office have their own inspiration board. Mine is covered with pictures and things I love, and Mona [her sister and partner in the brand] has one with different inspirational thoughts. My favorite quote is ‘Stay humble, stay hungry.’ I stole that one from Mona’s board and pinned it on my own.”