Huda Kattan — the vlogger and influencer best known for her wacky, often viral beauty hack videos — has just landed a major investment for her four-year-old eponymous makeup brand, Huda Beauty. According to WWD, the company has received a minority investment from TSG Consumer Partners, a private equity firm which has also invested in brands like Smashbox and It Cosmetics (both of which are now owned by major beauty conglomerates — Estée Lauder and L'Oréal, respectively).
The Dubai-based company first launched in 2013 with a small line of false eyelashes, but has since expanded into multiple color cosmetics categories, including highlighters, lip colors and eye shadow palettes. In the US, it's distributed by Sephora, while UK shoppers can purchase Huda Beauty products at Harrods, Selfridges and Cult Beauty.
This investment is significant because it will make Kattan the first beauty influencer to obtain this type of a deal. Much of the success of her company hinges on her 22 million Instagram followers, four million YouTube subscribers and 1.5 million unique monthly blog visitors. Where other influencers such as Michelle Phan, Jaclyn Hill and Patrick Starrr have seen success through collaborating with existing makeup brands, Kattan is regarded as the first to have built her own independent company without relying on traditional, established channels. And it is indeed successful: According to WWD, Huda Beauty is expected to bring in $200 million in retail sales for 2017.
Whether this investment may mean that a sale to a beauty industry giant, such as Lauder or L'Oréal, is in Huda Beauty's future remains to be seen. But it's clear Kattan that still sees plenty of room for expansion with the business she's built so far. "There's so much more we want to do right now," she said in an interview with WWD. "We've only hit 40 Sephora doors in the U.S. and our productivity is really high. We want to go into more Sephora doors — that’s really important. We've not going to be in every single store, that's never our goal, but we want to be in more places and more accessible." She also noted that international markets are a current focus for the company, with consideration toward expanding into Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries.