How I Get It Done: Moj Mahdara, Founder and CEO of Beautycon

By
Moj Mahdara.
Moj Mahdara.Photo: Rebecca Clarke

Moj Mahdara is the CEO of Beautycon Media, which ships subscription beauty boxes to users and hosts beauty conventions around the world. Mahdara is based in L.A., but travels to New York and other cities at least once a week. She has a partner who works as director of programming at the LA Film Festival and a new puppy and is a dedicated disciple of Orange Theory fitness. She has more than 20 meetings a week and drinks five green teas a day. She spends less than half of the month at home and in her L.A. office. Here is how she gets it all done.

On how she handles such an intense travel schedule:
I don’t have a single day that’s the same two days in a row. It’s a lot of New York, L.A., London. I find myself in New York every seven to ten days, which is really a lot. We counted all of the meetings and calls that we did last week and it ended up that we did 27 meetings in a week. When I travel, I probably drink like four or five iced green teas throughout the day. I don’t drink coffee, and I normally like to drink black tea, but green tea kind of gives me an even and consistent buzz throughout the day. When I am home, which I’d say is roughly 15–20 days out of the month, I just decided to get this company, Mind Body Fork, that delivers food to me for the week. I quite literally heat up breakfast, heat up lunch, heat up dinner and have two snacks, unless I have a dinner. When I’m not at home, I travel with apples and hummus and carrots and celery. If you eat what’s easy to eat, like a slice of pizza or a bagel, all of that stuff that’s yummy and delicious, it’s really hard to maintain long-term energy.

On an average Monday:
On Monday I was in the office, basically meeting with the entire team. I do these weekly meetings with each department head one-on-one. So those are five meetings I have, regardless of travel or not. When I’m coming to New York and I have four days of meetings, I’m gonna get on a subway at 8 a.m. and not come back to the hotel until like 10 p.m., so I like to make sure that I know who I’m meeting with, what we’re meeting about. I have to be 100 percent prepped for all of those meetings in advance. So what we did on Monday was just get prepped for all of those meetings — a large L’Oréal presentation, a big meeting with American Express — because I had to go in knowing what we were talking about.

On the importance of being on time:
I remember a few years ago when I walked into a meeting where I had not been prepared to the level that I wanted to be, and I don’t think that’s happened ever again, because I really value everyone’s time. I really, really try to never be late. It’s because I’m someone who would love to be 15–20 minutes late to everything, but when your time starts to get really valuable and other people are really late, it feels bad.

On why she takes the subway instead of cabs:
The subway makes me on time. We’re a start-up. We’re expected to be budget-conscious; we’re expected to be efficient. I spend so much of my time in New York that it feels like a second home, and I mean, how else are you gonna get from like American Express Tower to the middle of Times Square in less than 25 minutes?

On how getting a puppy has helped her be more responsible:
We got the puppy because it was a way to ease into bigger responsibilities. In hindsight I don’t know that we would have chosen to do it again, because he’s completely nuts and crazy, but he’s hilarious and he’s funny and he shakes me out of my mood in a way that only a dog can. I think because I have a lot of stuff in my life, I have to create experiences outside of my work that create stability, grounding, love. You wanna go on a walk on a Sunday afternoon with your partner? Your puppy is such a rad companion for that; he’s hilarious, he’s gonna drag you down paths that you weren’t gonna go down before, you’ll stop to chat with people you were never gonna talk to. The way I thought about it was, “I have to create more softness in my life.” And even though this guy is a ton, a ton, a ton, a ton of work, having a puppy gives you more empathy and patience for everything else in your life.

On how she learned self-awareness and the value of things outside of work:
I happen to have an amazingly self-aware, hyperintelligent partner who tells me “you’re not going to be able to survive the way you’re working, you’re gonna have a stroke.” When you’re building a big company and you have a big team, everything outside of what you do professionally becomes really, really important, and you become selective about your friends and your time and spend a lot of time with your family. You just make it all count, because you know how precious those moments are.

On her obsession with Orange Theory:
I go to this thing called Orange Theory Fitness. I used to be big into SoulCycle and Flywheel and then my doctor told me to try Orange Theory. I go to that for an hour and ten minutes, five days a week. During those five-plus hours, I can’t think about anything else other than my breathing and hopefully getting some water. It’s lots of mixing up more intensive cardio workouts. Basically, they want you to get your heartbeat in an 85 percent zone or higher. So you’re looking at the scoreboard and you just really push yourself. You get to have a mental vacation. I love immersive experiences. That’s why I love concerts, that’s why I love events, that’s why I love entertainment — I love to be immersed in someone else’s fantasy.

On always being on her phone:
I want to say that I put my phone down a lot, but I just don’t. I’m in a mobile-first business, in the influencer business, and in the social business. We work with content creators, and they work in the digital, mobile space. So I’d say that on Sunday afternoon my phone goes away from like two to six? And other than that it’s unfortunately stuck in my hand. I really try now to flip it over if I’m eating a meal with someone, and I do try to have a few meals a week with my partner where my phone is put away. But I don’t get points at home for that.

On feeling stoked about where she is, despite the stress:
There’s a million people that would kill to have the chance I’m having, to run a start-up. Whenever I get really burnt out or get lost and go to the wrong address or I’m at the wrong subway stop, I’m like, “How many people are sitting at home wishing and trying to do something?” And we actually have a huge opportunity to do something very big. So when I’m exhausted and discouraged, I just think, We’re almost there.

I imagine that this life is not something everyone wants. To be on the road 10 or 12 days out of the month or to be in 27 meetings in a week and to always be on. I think if you really want to have it all, probably step No. 1 is being very honest with yourself about what that means. I think once you figure out what that really means, then you have to surround yourself with people and experiences that match that want. Because if what you want is not aligned with what you’re surrounding yourself with, that’s where I think people have unhappiness.

And besides, everyone’s entitled to have an absolute meltdown sometimes, you know?