Here, Dr. Dossa explains the importance of figuring out exactly what makes you happy:
"Dr. Zahir Dossa wants to meet your unique needs."
LTP: What inspired the idea for Function of Beauty?
Dr. Zahir Dossa: Through my PhD at MIT, which was concentrated in sustainability, I established The Argan Tree. The idea was to directly connect a cooperative of 60 women in Morocco, producing and manufacturing argan oil, with customers who wanted argan oil-based products. While it was a successful brand and we were growing rapidly, every time I asked for feedback from customers, they all gave different (and often conflicting) answers. Based on this, I had the idea of starting another shampoo/conditioner line that allows everyone to completely customize their own beauty products and gives each person exactly what he or she wants.
LTP: What are some other ways you live sustainably or keep yourself feeling healthy and balanced?
DZD: This is a cool and very interesting question that I don't get asked very frequently. One of the benefits of shifting our headquarters to NYC is being able to decrease my footprint significantly. I walk to work instead of driving, live in a micro-apartment and have awesome food options. I recently decided to become predominantly vegetarian, which has been a nice change. While I stopped doing it recently, I used to wake up at 4am to meditate: I’d do 30 minutes of concentrating on nothing, and 30 minutes of freethinking.
As an aside, after I finished my PhD, I accepted a post-doc at the IMD Business School in Switzerland, focusing on sustainability—particularly corporate sustainability. In a couple months, I have a book coming out that I co-authored from MIT Press called Beyond the Triple Bottom Line: Eight Steps Toward a Sustainable Business Model.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
DZD: I think happiness is a function of expectations and outcomes, i.e. people who have high expectations run the risk of being unhappy if things don't turn out phenomenally well for them (from their own perspective). I have high expectations and always fear being unhappy, but thankfully, things have been going awesome so far and I would describe myself as a happy person. Shifting “happiness” to less tangible things (experiences, memories, friendships, relationships etc.) is always extremely important.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
DZD: That’s a tough question. I think it's a two-step challenge: 1) figure out exactly who you are and 2) do what makes you happy, as often as possible. Life is tough and stressful, but it’s also joyous and fulfilling. I don't pretend that I love every single thing that I do. But I try to maximize the things that bring the most fulfillment to me—spending time with the wifey, working out, laughing with friends, taking trips and even challenging myself at work.