The Founder of DEUX Swears By This Daily Habit to Set Her up for Success

As someone who spent the early years of her career working in the CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) space, I consider myself a bit of a grocery food nerd. I love scouring the store shelves for up-and-coming brands, looking at packaging and shelf placement, and nerding out about all the work it takes to bring a brand to life. With this context—and honestly, obsession—you can say that when I had the chance to interview DEUX CEO and founder, Sabeena Ladha, my inner fangirl was freaking out.

journal and coffee

Sabeena Ladha Shares Her High-Vibe Morning Routine

Sabeena, a fellow Texan, grew up snacking on junk foods. (Relatable.) But over the years, she began to develop a desire to find a balance between better-for-you foods and less-than-healthy options. With this dual-craving in mind, Sabeena took her favorite snack—cookie dough—and reformulated it with clean ingredients and superfoods. (Gooey Brownie is my personal fave.)

Now with additional product lines like DEUX DRIP and the addictively snackable Donut Holes, Sabeena is continuing to grow the brand and bring a better-for-you perspective to some of our favorite sweet treats.

The team recently visited Sabeena at her Los Angeles home, where she shared a peek into her morning routine, the habits that set her up for success, and her hot-take skincare routine.

sabeena room

Tell us about your career and starting Deux. What has life been like as an entrepreneur?

At my house in Texas, we ate the Standard American Diet. I played sports and exercised, so externally I seemed “fine.” But really my insides were made of partially hydrogenated oil. Fast-forward to my first job at PepsiCo, I absolutely loved brand building, managing a P&L, and running big national programs and Super Bowl commercials. However, my eating habits were changing, and I wanted to work in the better-for-you space. I stayed in big CPG for a few years and left a little disheartened that I wouldn’t be able to impact the industry as deeply as I wanted to. But I was grateful to have learned the gold standard CPG.

I then went to McKinsey as a consultant in the Digital practice. This was back when “direct-to-consumer” was blowing up, and my career shifted from retail to digital. There, I developed a strategic skill set and became an excellent problem solver. 

My last stop before DEUX was at M13 in venture. I built the venture studio from scratch and launched three brands while I was there. (Surprise, all focused on women’s health!) It was there that I fell in love with startups.

I attribute a lot of our success at DEUX to diverse experiences, both mine and the team’s. It’s not quite linear, and at the time didn’t make the most sense. But those pivotal experiences built the skills that are now second nature and I use every day.

daily stoic

I don’t know that any passionate entrepreneur can ever be balanced, and I don’t know that I want to be.

Entrepreneur life now is incredibly fun and rewarding, but it takes over your life. I know we’re supposed to strive for “balance” but I don’t know that any passionate entrepreneur can ever be balanced, and I don’t know that I want to be. We have an astrology reader meet with each team member when they join (yes, really) and she emphasized my “house of career.” It will always be important to me, so I’m okay that it is so intertwined. I’ve learned to embrace the highs and lows that come with it. 

sabeena ladha skincare

What does a typical day look like for you?  

I’m up at 6:15 (no screens!) and usually at the gym by 7. I work out, get ready for the day, and am on calls around 830/9. We now have a great office we share with a few brands like Bala and Brightland, so I am at the office most of the day.

Assuming I don’t have a founder dinner or event, I walk my dog around 6:30 and answer emails while my husband cooks around 7. (I am the luckiest woman in the world.) We usually watch a show together to wind down and cuddle with Pablo! 

What time is your wake-up call?

I am such a night owl by nature. I have quite literally forced myself to become a morning person. If I don’t do my workout in the morning, 1) I am cranky, and 2) It probably won’t get done. I used to run on maybe six hours of sleep for the first couple of years of the company. Now I try to get eight. I’m a better leader and teammate that way. 

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? 

Aside from brushing my teeth… honestly, I have a Celsius. It’s for my workout! But I do not touch my screens—that used to be a bad habit of mine. I’m trying to do the whole Huberman “get sunlight in your eyes” thing but it’s too dark at 6 a.m.!

Sabeena Ladha using Summer Fridays serum.
Sabeena Ladha beauty products.

What morning rituals set you up for success?

I will say it for a third time because I think it is so important: not looking at my screen first thing. I heard someone once say it’s equivalent to letting a hundred people into your bedroom in the morning at once. That sat with me. It’s absolutely terrifying and incredibly hard on your nervous system. 

Active rituals: exercising first thing, reviewing my calendar to make sure I’m prepped for every meeting, taking my probiotics, fish oil, multivitamin, maaaybe vitamin C, collagen in my coffee, and journaling. (Not all days, but the days that I’m tense.)

What’s always on your nightstand?

Pretty much just my journal and The Daily Stoic. I try to keep the bedroom free of clutter.

Describe your morning beauty routine from start to finish: 

This might be a hot take, but I don’t wash my face in the morning. I’ve had really bad cystic acne for many years, and the only thing that’s helped is doing less. It sounds counterintuitive, but it changed my skin.

Now my nighttime routine is stacked. I use the Summer Fridays cleanser, alternate days with Biologique Recherche’s cult-favorite toner, and occasionally swap in the AlphaRet Overnight Cream. I usually use the Summer Fridays’ Heavenly Sixteen All-In-One Face Oil, then The Outset’s Firming Vegan Collagen Prep Serum. After that, I moisturize to get super glassy before bed.

What’s your daily uniform?

If it were up to me, boyfriend jeans and a white tee! Nowadays though, I have a ton of customer and investor meetings, so I’d opt for a casual white button-down and criss-cross jeans. I dress a bit more masculine during the week than on the weekends. 

sabeena ladha breakfast bowl

Favorite getting-ready soundtrack? 

Kaytranada. It gives “glass of champagne while putting on makeup in the bathroom with the girls before dinner” vibes. Without being over the top. 

How would you describe your personal style? 

Trendy, feminine, chic. 

Wow, don’t tempt me with a good time. I would stretch (what an old person answer!) and make a proper breakfast. Nutrition is so important, and I often shortcut with a protein bar. 

What do you eat for breakfast?

Most mornings, a Think peanut butter bar (my shortcut). If I have time, egg tacos are my fave. Or Greek yogurt, berries, and our DRIP—honestly tastes like dessert.  I need protein in the morning to stay full and fueled.  

What will we always find in your refrigerator? 

DEUX cookie dough and now donuts! No really, the amount I eat my products is wild. Salmon, fruit, and veggies, a leftover coffee from the morning, wine…

sabeena deux

What are one or two things you do every day to live a more joyful life? 

The most impactful way to add joy to my life is taking the extra step to make something special. That looks like buying fresh flowers, lighting candles, and taking an extra loop around the neighborhood for my walks. 

What has been your biggest learning over the past year? 

I’ve gotten really good at recovering quickly. Not just the bad, crazy fire stories (I have way too many of those) but also the amazing adrenaline-pumping, dopamine highs. Practicing stoicism is a goal of mine, and remaining even-keeled throughout the journey is something I will continue to prioritize and strive for. I think it’s made me a stronger leader. 

sabeena 1

What’s something you’re looking forward to this year?

So many things! On the business side, we are launching our Donuts nationally in over 1300 doors very soon. But also spending time with the team is what I am most excited about. We’re lucky to have a really fun, hard-working, positive team. It really is a dream team.

If you could pin your success down to one thing, what would that be?

Tenacity. I have this general belief that I can solve anything. 

deux coffee mug

Sentence Finishers:

I never leave the house without: A snack. I have a fear of being hungry.

Healthiest morning habit: Exercising. Or not looking at my phone. 

Worst morning habit: Celsius.

One thing I want to be known for is: Creating something meaningful. 

The one thing I fear the most: Failure. 

When I feel that fear: I remind myself “there’s nothing you haven’t gotten through.” 

One trait you need to succeed in life is: Delusion. 

sabeena ladha journaling

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