"She not 100 percent reliant on her sisters. If anything, she's surpassed them in my opinion," Kattan tells TooFab.
Huda Beauty CEO Huda Kattan thinks it's "really unfair" to discredit fellow beauty mogul Kylie Jenner as a self-made billionaire -- even if her family was well off to begin with and she became famous by association.
"I don't think it's right to just discredit people to be honest. I think it's really unfair," she said when asked about the backlash against Forbes counting the reality TV star among the richest "self-made" women in America. "I mean hasn't it been easier for her? 100 percent. Has she been able to just post pictures and sell all the products where a lot of people are hustling and thinking of strategies? Yeah. But she's also deciding to work."
Kattan, who has amassed a $550 million fortune since founding her own company, was featured in the same Forbes issue as Jenner. Huda Beauty's worth surpassed $1 billion after a private equity firm, TSG Consumer Partners, acquired a small minority stake at the end of 2017.
Forbes has defined "self-made" as, "Someone who built a company or established a fortune on her own, rather than inheriting some or all of it. As long as the list member didn't inherit a business or money, she is labeled self-made." Forbes said that the term is "very broad" and doesn't reflect on how much "easier" building a business is for some.
Kattan said that she doesn't know if Jenner has to "work as hard" as other people and wouldn't necessarily call her "self-made," but is impressed by the "Keeping Up with the Kardashian" star's hustle. Even more impressive, in her mind, is Kylie becoming more successful than her sisters Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian and Kendall Jenner.
"She's not 100 percent reliant on her sisters," Kattan said. "If anything, she's surpassed them in my opinion... She's really created a name of her own. She's the first person in the celebrity world who did it. So I think that she deserves a lot of credit, she was taking a chance."
Kattan was born in the U.S. to Iraqi immigrants and grew up in a small, mostly white town in Oklahoma. She majored in business at the University of Michigan Dearborn, then scored a finance job at a consulting firm in Dubai. But after getting married and having her first child, she realized that the world of finance wasn't for her. So she quit her job and became a makeup artist. In 2010, she created her beauty blog and then started to her own brand of false eyelashes.
In the years that followed, Huda Beauty began to expand to more cosmetics products, which led to that ten-figure valuation. Kattan runs the company with her sisters Alya and Mona, but Kattan has the majority stake.
Recognition from Forbes was the first time the beauty company broadcast how successful it's been, which made Kattan feel "uncomfortable" at first.
"I was a little shy to be honest," Kattan said about when she first heard about being included in the issue. "I'm a very private person, so as much as I do this, we've always been very quiet about the success of our brand, success of the business. So when that first came out, I felt a little uncomfortable at the beginning. I was just like,'Oh my gosh I don't know what people are gonna think of me now,' because the company is valued at a certain amount now. I'm still working really hard."
"We're a brand that hasn't really focused on talking about the success of the brand so to see some success out there, numbers out there, I felt at first uncomfortable," she continued. "A lot of people like to put that stuff out there. They like to exaggerate the number reads, I totally get it, you know, but that for us, that wasn't our approach."
"Numbers are numbers like that doesn't mean anything to me," she concluded. "I think because I feel so strongly that those things don't mean anything, that it made me uncomfortable because I didn't know how's because I don't know people's perception of it is."
Kattan is also a reality television star, thanks to her Facebook Watch series "Huda Boss" chronicling her daily life working alongside her family on the company.
The beauty mogul told TooFab that the hardest part about working with your family members is that there are absolutely no boundaries.
"It's really, it's really crazy, but you have no boundaries at all," she said. "So you're actually kind of like, it's kind of strange because you say things to each other that you wouldn't say to a normal person."
However, she thinks the advantages of working with family members far outweigh the negatives.
"I think there's a lot of loyalty," she said. "No matter what, even if you're even having a fight or argument, like you can be down and then you have people to support you and to really kind of like knock you into place this in a really kind of keep you on track of things and especially if you try to be good to each other, but ultimately even, no matter what you're saying, we're trying to ultimately good to each other like that."
"There's a lot of love," Kattan added. "There's a lot of love. I think that that's comforting a lot, especially in work."