Karima El-Hakkaoui

Co-Founder of Six Gldn

From an early age Karima understood the power of natural remedies. One of her earliest memories is of being on her grandmother’s front lawn mixing a “special” skincare formula of flowers, grass and leaves. Her plan was to sell her formula door-to-door in her neighborhood. Fortunately for her, the first neighbor she approached bought her entire supply. She never forgot that moment and is still dedicated to creating natural based formulas 45 years later.

Another guiding principle of Karima’s is her love for people and the planet. As a child, she spent summers attending camp in Monterrey, CA where she and her fellow campers lived and slept outdoors. This experience instilled in her a desire to protect the environment with the goal of leaving nature and the planet better than you found it. Her uncompromising desire to protect the people and the planet is the very core of her essence.

Raised by a single mother, Karima grew up with a very strong work ethic, which has been an essential ingredient in launching Six Gldn. Her can do attitude has helped the company with it’s mission to spearhead a revolution in the beauty industry towards the use of clean, sustainable products only.

Having spent many years working with large beauty brands, Karima and her co-founders, were tired of sacrificing quality and ethical standards in the name of profits. Six Gldn was founded to provide consumers with a better option. The team is committed to transparency, sustainability, using high quality formulas based on 400 years of Korean herbal medicine to uphold the highest clean standards.

Six Gldn uses advancements in science to refine, hone and maximize the potential of each ingredient for outstanding efficacy and results to restore radiance and balance to all skin types.

Karima spent over 25 years as creative multi-media director working with award winning magazines, advertising and creative agencies in New York City, Los Angeles and London. She was responsible for creating National print and TV advertising campaigns for well known consumer brands. Sought after by popular magazines, she was hired to transform the creative direction of their web properties resulting in increased traffic. While on the agency side, she was the creative lead for multiple beauty and luxury brands.

Keeping to the philosophy of wanting to leave the planet better than she found it, Karima and the team of Six Gldn are leading the charge to hold the industry to the highest clean and ethical standards including being waterless, completely refillable, recyclable, compostable, plastic free, cruelty free, carbon and climate neutral.

Where did the idea for Six Gldn come from?

My two partners and I have all been in the beauty industry for 20+ years each. We were so tired of seeing companies make compromises on their formulas and packaging for the sake of saving money. Cheap, unclean, non-sustainable ingredients that aren’t healthy for human’s combined with the over use of plastic packaging is killing the planet. We decided it was time for a revolution. Time to end our throwaway beauty culture and the use of harmful ingredients. It is time for a NO compromise skincare line. We want to start a Revolution in which Six Gldn is the leader in clean beauty. We are committed to upholding the strictest in safety standards. We exceed the EU’s ingredient safety standards in which we ban the use of over 2,500 ingredients. We also adhere to very ambitious sustainability goals. By the end of 2022 we will be 100% REFILLABLE and by the end of 2023 we will be 100% RECYCLABLE AND 100% PLASTIC FREE. And, our lab is currently working on the most amazing waterless formulas, reducing carbon emissions for shipping.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I’m a productivity nerd. I love arranging and fine tuning my day so I get more done. When I wake up I’m truly excited to start the day. I start my day by doing hot yoga to connect with the universe and to center myself. At 8:30 every morning we have a team meeting to go over new product developments, sales and to catch up with our other partner who is London who, by that time, is almost done with her day.

I try not so schedule meetings back-to-back so I can have a quick break and reset. I’ll take the dog for a walk which puts me completely in the moment, or meditate, to really reset before I go back to my next meeting.

For breakfast and lunch I’ll have veggies, nuts and protein so I don’t have any energy slumps. I take fish oil, chelated magnesium, vitamins B and D and drink tons of water all day. I go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day.

When I don’t have meetings, I plan my day to work in segments. That way I’m totally focused. Otherwise I’ll end up checking every email, do some online shopping, respond to texts or scroll through TikTok.

I stop working at about 6:00 pm for family time, then go back for about an hour each night from 8-9 to plan out my to-do list for the next day and make sure I didn’t miss any emails.

My biggest distraction is our rescue animals. We have a three legged cat with no tail (that’s her name too) and our little dog Phineas and Ferb (she is one dog, with multiple personalities, not two).

How do you bring ideas to life?

Waking up early with a fresh mind, mood-boards, teamwork, surrounding myself with talented people, hard work, passion with a mission and of course coffee.

What’s one trend that excites you?

What the industry calls “skinimalism” which is the rise of minimal step skincare with multi-benefits prioritizing quality over quantity

Six Gldn is the epitome of skinimalism. It’s the next generation of Korean skincare, but instead of 15 steps, it’s 4 steps…exactly 64 seconds of your morning and you’ve got glowing, radiant skin. People don’t have the time or money to be applying single benefit products. Life is too delicious to sit behind a mirror and apply 15 steps of skincare. We want you to have more time for living —for more joy, more love and more adventures.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I visualize everything. Not only do I see it playing out like a video in my mind, but I feel what it feels like to have achieved it. Then I work towards that goal that I’ve already felt materialize in my mind.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Being different is a good thing. Growing up, I looked different and had a long different name. I didn’t see anyone like me or my family represented in the media. I should have told myself to “own” those differences, they are my super power. Being unique is good. Blending in is blah.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Avocados are not good.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Give gratitude and thanks to everyone around me. Visualize your desired outcome and work towards it every day.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Make products you love using and want to use EVERY DAY. If you can’t stand behind your products as being the best on the market, and want to use them exclusively every day, then why would anyone else want to use them.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Early on we failed to take into account an extra 30% of costs for shipping, tariffs and other fees. It might not sound like a lot, but 30% of a large order is a significant amount of money we hadn’t allocated. Our packaging is manufactured in Italy which gave us a very quick lesson in freight costs and how to correctly forecast shipping. We will never make that mistake again.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I am utterly obsessed with outer space. I would love to design an app in which users could log on and talk to people at the International Space Station. Just to hang out with them while they are floating around. Not so sure how popular it would be, but I would be on it all the time. My dream is to send our products into space. There have been 72 women on the ISS, I’m sure they would love our Nourishing Face Oil. I guarantee they could use some nourishing, hydration in that pressurized cabin. @ISS let’s talk.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A massage. It is such a necessary luxury. I just love them. The best massage I’ve ever had was in Thailand with two people massaging me. If being massaged by two people was that good, I wonder if it get’s exponentially better the more people you have massaging you? I will have to research that.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

CHIEF app. This is the single best app I have that brings together the most talented women in the US. It blows my mind the caliber of women in CHIEF and I’m on this app every day connecting with the community.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I’m going to squeeze two books in…. Jen Sincero: You are a Badass AND Glennon Doyle: Untamed.

What is your favorite quote?

“Jump and the net will appear.” I have the word jump tattooed in my own handwriting on my wrist. I’m a huge fan of taking risks.

Key Learnings:

  • Start your daily early to squeeze the most out of your day but make sure to take breaks to decompress and meditate.
  • Skincare does not need to be complicated or made of harmful ingredients. It can be quick, beneficial and sustainable.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith. Without risks there are no rewards.