Mona Kattan, Global President, Co-founder, Huda Beauty, is on the heels of launching her latest fragrance, Sweet Diamond Pink Pepper, which in just four days successfully sold through in its three retail partners. Over the past 15 months, the self-described fragrance aficionado used scent as a way to cope with quarantine, reaching for bright fruity scents for energy; romantic scents to trigger memories of life before lockdown; and in a unique move, worked with a scent marketing company to create a special juice dispensed through her air conditioning units, so her house smells beautiful all day, every day. Here, Beauty News caught up with Mona to talk about personal and business shifts during COVID, cracking the code on selling fragrance on social and what company initiatives she’s focusing on next. To hear from Mona live, be sure to attend CEW’s virtual event, “A Conversation with Mona Kattan,” on May 18th from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. EST.

CEW Beauty News: Your latest fragrance, Sweet Diamond Pink Pepper, launched in April and is already sold out on Sephora.comFeel Unique, and cult beauty. Why do think this fragrance is so relatable?
Mona Kattan: I believe that Sweet Diamond Pink Pepper | 25 is truly unique. It smells like nothing you’ve ever smelled before and I know that’s what people are looking for. We have also focused a lot of our marketing efforts on education and ingredients through thoughtful storytelling and authentic content that helps our social community to feel the emotion and mood that this fragrance evokes. It’s not easy selling perfume on social media, so education and storytelling are so key to our success. The packaging is also so incredibly beautiful. I would personally buy a bottle just to have on my vanity that’s how head-turning it is.

BN: We know you are a true fragrance aficionado. During the pandemic, were you reaching for the same types of scents, or did your preferences change? If so, what were you leaning towards during the past year?
MK: Fragrance definitely affects your mood and that’s one reason I love it so much. Through quarantine I felt myself reaching for bright and fruity, citrusy scents like our KAYALI Citrus | 08 because it helped give me energy when I was feeling lethargic or bored of being indoors. Our Citrus | 08 juice has a real way of waking you up and setting your day off on the right foot. I have also been bathing in our new Sweet Diamond Pink Pepper | 25 which is equal parts sweet and spicy. This fragrance has a touch of fantasy to it that made me feel like life was somewhat back to normal again or would be soon. It’s sexy but soft and really puts you in a great mood that brings a strong sense of adventure or gumption. My other favorite is our Déjà vu White Flower | 57, which is a softer, more romantic and timeless scent. I spent a lot of time wearing this juice because it evoked so many incredible memories from before COVID hit that it gave me hope for what was to come.

BN: Did your other beauty and personal care habits change? If so, what were some of the notable shifts?
MK: In the past year, I found myself needing to plan and organize more. I started creating new routines, exercising more and holding myself accountable. Since I was eating, sleeping and working all in the same place (my home), I really needed to create boundaries and a routine that could strike a healthy balance for me. I got back into my healthy eating habits which helped give me energy, for example. And, more specific to beauty, I found myself focusing on my skin care routine a lot more. Our Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub helped smooth and brighten any textured skin which was honestly what I needed considering I was wearing less makeup on a day-to-day. On days where I wasn’t glammed up, I also multi-tasked and would work from home while hiding behind our Wishful Thirst Trap Hydrating Face Mask for a boost of hydration when I needed it most. That has been one of the most fun parts about quarantine, having the ability to work while rocking a lip/face mask. It’s all about finding those silver linings.

BN: What does your home smell like and how do you fragrance it? Does it change day to day, week to week? 
MK: Through quarantine, I actually worked with a scent marketing company to create a special juice that is dispensed through my AC units, so my house smells beautiful all day, every day. The scent is a rose vanilla and it is comfy and cozy but still fresh and floral. It’s so calming and inviting which is definitely the mood I’ve wanted to create for my home.

BN: What company initiative are you focusing on next, outside of this new fragrance launch? 
MK: We’ve been focusing on the mental health and wellbeing of our team outside of our launches. This past year has been really tough, and we felt that it was really important to give our teams what they need to stay both personally and professional happy and sane. So, they now have access to our in-house life coach, and they receive two wellness days per month just to spend time during the week doing things that they need to do to fill their cups.

BN: Being the social innovator that you are, can you share how you think you are cracking the code to selling fragrance on social? 
MK: Education is key. When we launched KAYALI I wanted to give everyone all of the information they need to make an informed decision. We include the key fragrance notes on the packaging, so people have a sense of what they are buying before opening, especially if buying online. We also incorporate educational content on ingredients and key notes on our social media platforms and on our website to help people to learn what they like and don’t like, which will make their shopping journey easier.

BN: How has the past year changed how you do business, and work from day to day? What are the positives? The negatives?
MK: In general, I feel like the past year has just made me more grateful and understanding than I already was. It really put everything into perspective. I’ve definitely had to practice patience over the past year as we encountered many delays due to the impact COVID had on many aspects of the business. With that, we had to postpone and shift a lot of launches. I believe it all happens for a reason, so I’m OK with the changes but it did pose a lot of challenges and felt like the target was constantly moving. But we got there in the end and Sweet Diamond Pink Pepper | 25 was a testament to that. It was revealed on April 17 and launched April 21, and it sold out on three of our retail sites in just a few weeks and I could not be prouder. It’s just the beginning for us this year and I’m so excited to see how the rest of the year goes.