Dineh Mohajer, Smith & Cult
Which product didn't do as well as you expected? What did you learn from that experience?
At Hard Candy, I launched a product called Two-some that turned out to be a disaster because of an oversight of the product development team. Sounds like I'm negating responsibility, but I'm not because all mistakes were ultimately a reflection of my shortcomings. The product was a double-sided, doe-foot wand with a blemish control treatment on one side and a concealer on the other. The viscosity of the concealer formula caused it to leak out of the component, which was literally a mess. We ended up having to scrap a lot of inventory and accept returns.
Tell us one unexpected way you use a cult product.
I heisted this one tip from genius makeup artist Vittorio Masecchia: swipe a bit of Smith & Cult The Shining Lip Lacquer over eye shadow for an otherworldly-pretty-alien-glowy look.
What is your best advice to someone trying to break into the beauty industry in 2016?
Be prepared to shed dangerous amounts of blood, sweat, and tears. While sharing products that I can stand behind is truly a privilege, it comes with a massive price. For the first year of both of Hard Candy and Smith & Cult, I was sleep deprived and extremely unhealthy. The pressure I put on myself during start-up periods is actually inhumane, but unfortunately it's common among entrepreneurs and usually a requirement for success. My advice would be to follow what you are passionate about, create products that you would actually want to use, find unique ways to express your authentic voice through branding, packaging, social media, etc. Teaming up exclusively with like-minded business and/or creative partners that share reciprocal trust and respect with you is critical. You need to be on the same page in terms of art direction and business strategy in order to be both comfortable and successful.