Founder, Murad Inc.

In 1946, young Howard Murad fled Baghdad with his family and landed in Queens, N.Y. He would go on to complete his dermatology residency in 1972 at the West Los Angeles VA Hospital, which is affiliated with UCLA, and then open his own practice. In 1989, Murad founded skincare company Murad Inc. in El Segundo. Today, the company has more than 200 employees, and its products are sold by retailers in more than 20 countries.

How many hours a week do you work?

Physically I’m in the office probably 30 hours a week or more, but on top of that, I’m also traveling for business events. I don’t look at it as my work. I look at it as my passion. These are things that I love doing — it gives me energy, makes me feel vital, makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something, helping people in different ways. 

Why not retire?

I really love what I do, and this is what I would love to do if I was retired. 

Do co-workers seek out your experience and knowledge?

My door is always open. I actually walk around the office several times a day and chat with people.

How do you keep the work you do fresh and interesting?

I’m always working on something slightly different, sales or developing new product. My focus is also encouraging all people that I come in contact with — whether they are customers of the brand, friends or co-workers. I’ve done a lot of research on what I call cultural stress and have developed ideas on how to encourage people to minimize that stress of modern living. I’ve developed a set of 11 affirmations that people can look at twice a day, and I can clinically prove that we can reduce stress by doing that for one month.

What are the biggest changes you’ve observed in your workplace environment across your career, and what are key aspects that have never changed?

Ten years ago, even seven years ago, it was the beauty editors that we would go to talk to. Now it’s the influencers.

Our culture stayed the same, the idea to encourage everyone we touch to live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives in any way that we can, even if it has nothing to do with selling. When we talk to the editors, we don’t talk much about the product; we talk about our culture, our philosophy of wellness.

How has working in Los Angeles changed over the years?

Los Angeles is a wonderful place. Everyone is working hard to be more creative and have new ideas, so it encourages me as another businessperson. (It has become) more competitive over the years. When I started my brand, I was a first doctor brand of the modern doctors, and now I can’t tell you how many other doctors are doing the same thing. You always have to be two steps ahead in order to survive and be successful, and that’s a good thing.

What’s next on your agenda?

I don’t know what’s next. Things develop that you never dream would develop. Ingredients we are adding to our formulas are always changing, and we are looking at new ways of addressing old problems. In a way, it’s that same path that I’ve been going on over the last 30 years. I started my business when I was 50. I had no experience in business, and I certainly failed a lot in the beginning. But I learned from my failure. I think the path to success runs through failure.

What is the one thing people often get wrong about retirement?

One of the problems with retirement is it’s implying that you don’t have the passion anymore. If people are not going to a job, unless they have something that encourages them to do something special, to use their talent, to be invigorated on a daily basis, they don’t do so well. Those who do well with retirement have passions.

What do you do for fun?

Painting. We have a patio where we all go out and do what we call art therapy. And it doesn’t matter where the paint goes; we act more like toddlers. A little over 10 years ago, I took one art class … (but) I was too busy. Unfortunately, I had retinal detachment about a year after that and had to put my chin on my chest for almost a month, and I couldn’t do anything. So my wife said, “Why don’t you start painting?” and then it became a passion.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you have for your 50-year-old self?

All of those mistakes that I made somehow led me where I am. Yeah of course there are so many things that I probably could have done better, but I don’t know that I would have at the end. I have to look at where I am now, and I’m very satisfied with my life just the way it is.

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