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Don't Know How to Reach Gen Z? Just Ask Beautycon. CEO Moj Mahdara is helping brands across industries connect with the next generation of consumers.

By Stephanie Schomer

This story appears in the January 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Courtesy of Beautycon

"Excuse me, where did you get that?" A very polite teenage girl taps me on the shoulder and points to the large eyeshadow palette I'm holding. "They're handing them out at the Target booth," I reply -- and before I can ask her about what she is doing here, at one of the most curious events I've ever attended, she's off, literally running through a convention center in search of coveted free makeup samples.

Welcome to Beautycon. For the uninitiated (or perhaps anyone over 35), Beautycon is a two-day festival that celebrates all things beauty and makeup -- almost like a trade show turned carnival, where enthusiastic fans come to shop their favorite brands, get their hair done, take countless Instagram-worthy selfies, attend talks with Kim Kardashian and Laverne Cox, get face time with beloved YouTube influencers, and, of course, collect countless free samples. Cities from Dallas to London have hosted.

Beautycon has become a frequent topic among style-industry insiders, bloggers, and entertainment-focused publications like Bustle and The Hollywood Reporter. Almost always, the conversation is about its massive cultural footprint -- the rabid fans, the ecstatic beauty companies, the spectacle of it all. Over the past five years, Beautycon blossomed into a business that brings in more than $10 million a year, has grown 40 percent year over year, and still sees opportunity in a global cosmetics market on its way to $806 billion by 2023.