Having cultivated an incredible brand from the ground up over the past decade, Huda Kattan is now helping budding entrepreneurs to do the same through her new concept HB Angels.

Huda announced the $10 million fund back in 2017 via HB Investments, to help creatives and entrepreneurs to make their budding ideas come to fruition.

The first start-up to launch out of this concept is KETISH, founded by Emaan Abbass, who previously worked as a product developer at Huda Beauty. The brand is specialising in women’s wellness, something that was inspired by Emaan’s battle with cervical cancer.

Having first been diagnosed at just 21-years-old at her first gynaecologist appointment, it was a complete shock to the then university student.

 

“I was a senior in college at the time and was just trying to figure out what I was going to do next with my adult life—and in that moment I remember feeling like my whole world had been turned upside down,” she recalled.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Emaan Abbass (@theycallme_emaan)

For the next nine years, Emaan had to be closely monitored, going for scans every three to six months and each time swab results would “come back abnormal”.

“Luckily the cancer was detected early on and I was able to treat it by removing the cancer cells on my cervix through Cervical Cryosurgery,” she explained. “I had to undergo this procedure twice, at the age of 21 and again at the age of 24. It wasn’t until I was 30 years old that I went for my first screening that came back normal.”

This is what inspired Emaan to create KETISH. Finding it incredibly difficult to find any information or products to help with women’s wellness, which is where the budding idea emerged to create a space that would do exactly that.

The brand has been in the works now for two years and is set to officially launch in August. In the Q&A below, Emaan reveals more about the inspiring story behind the brand and what it’s been like building KETISH with HB Investments.

Your brand is so strong and inspiring. What led to this message?

I have always had a very clear vision of what I wanted KETISH to stand for.
I wanted to create the brand that I wish I had years ago when I really started to tune into my feminine wellness journey. Bold, empowering, thoughtful, supportive. I always wanted to create products, but it was the community and the potential to reshape the dialogue that really drove me to the brand’s mission.

There are so many societal factors that silence us as women, often putting us into a little box. We are told what to do, how to dress, how to behave, what is acceptable, what is not, what we can and cannot do with our bodies. Growing up in a traditional Muslim, Arab-American home, I battled these notions a lot. I often questioned why these rules and regulations of life existed. I wanted to create something that worked to break down these barriers, not just for the sake of being rebellious, but rather with the purpose of helping women.

Our goal is to replace shame and stigma with sensuality and self-love by creating a luxury experience around feminine wellness. Bigger than that we want to empower women, by providing education and a whole army of other women she can lean on for support.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by KETISH™ (@ketish)

Why did you create KETISH?

Throughout my 20’s, dealing with all of my feminine health issues made me really curious about the entire feminine and intimate care space. I vividly remember scouring the pharmacies and drug stores, because that’s the only place you could find anything intimate care related. This is something that really bothered me about feminine care space at that time. We usually go to a pharmacy when something is wrong with us, or when we want to fix an issue. I didn’t want to feel like buying feminine care was like taking care of a problem. I wanted more than a treatment and temporary fix. I wanted a more elevated experience that felt like I was buying products to pamper myself and build into my self care routine. I wanted products that looked vanity or bedside table worthy. I wanted products I could trust. I wanted a brand I could turn to, to educate me. Ultimately I no longer wanted to feel embarrassed or feel like I was walking this journey alone and ashamed.

KETISH has been in the works for a little over two years now, but it feels like it has been a lifetime in the works for me- from my feminine health journey, to navigating my way through a traditionally strict and oppressive culture. Ultimately, I wanted to create the brand I wish I had throughout my journey. I wanted to create something that women like me always needed, but never truly existed.

Could you tell us a little bit about your experience building the brand with HB Investments and the Kattan family?

As a former employee for HB, I’ve had the honor of working alongside the Kattan family since 2016, this experience of first hand watching how Hudabeauty has grown into the beauty giant it now is has been invaluable. You will definitely see pieces of the HB DNA woven throughout KETISH’s foundation- whether it be the way we develop products, to our storytelling and content, to the way we strive to care for and develop our teams. These are all things I had the opportunity to learn first hand from Huda and the rest of the family.

Throughout this experience of building the brand our relationship has definitely transformed. To go from former employee to now business partner and mentee, the Kattan family have given me invaluable advice based on their experiences, to do with anything from business to marketing. They’ve taught me the value of hard work, perseverance and pure passion. So grateful for the support and time they’ve taken to instill all of this in me.

As one of the incubator brands for the firm, HBI has provided an incredible foundation for the brand. KETISH has been given the opportunity to lean on and leverage the amazing resources they have built into the HBI ecosystem. The HBI team is built of key integral roles that help support the pillars a brand may need to survive in their beginning phase, but may not have the resources to fund their own- from finance, to operations, to marketing, to HR. To know we can build something that is true and unique to our brand, while having the support of an organization filling in the gaps of where we need the most support, while we build out our legs underneath us.

How would you describe KETISH in your own words?

In five words: Bold, empowering, sexy, supportive, necessary. KETISH is ultimately a feminine wellness brand. We create targeted body care and wellness products that are super effective, empowering, luxurious, and have that undeniable dope factor. Visually, KETISH is the perfect intersection between soft and sexy, bold and powerful.

What impact do you want to have on other women through KETISH?

Everything we aim to do as a brand is really driven forward by our brand’s mission. We want to replace shame and stigma with sensuality and self-love by creating a luxury experience around feminine wellness. It’s 2021, but so many women still carry around the same old shame and stigma. Although we are years deep into the body positivity movement, there are still women who aren’t quite there yet. But, they want to be.

What is the change you want to see in the world by introducing KETISH?

We want to open up the dialogue and normalize the conversation. We want to equip women with super effective, luxurious products that help them explore and get to know their bodies on a more intimate level. We want to give women a voice and allow them the opportunity to make educated decisions about their health and their bodies. We believe with knowledge comes confidence, and with confidence comes the highest form of self-love.

Being a founder can be tough. What is it that keeps getting you out of bed every day? What motivates you to keep going?

The last two years have been a beautifully gruelling journey. Trying to launch a brand at a time the entire world was at a standstill and with so much uncertainty all around, was a whole other mountain to climb. There have been a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of tears, a lot of “WTF am i doing moments…” BUT… There is so much we want to do in this space. I have realized that KETISH is much bigger than the products we are creating. We have an opportunity to help so many women, to give them a voice, to educate, to put the power back in their hands, and that is what gets me out of bed each and every morning. We’ve been given this gift of launching under the umbrella of a global powerhouse, Huda Beauty, that gives us an incredible platform with a huge global reach. I pinch myself everyday knowing the opportunity we have to speak to so many women all over the world and make a true impact.

– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram

Images: Supplied