Over the summer of 2020, countless (if not all) industries experienced a racial reckoning that made businesses and brands reflect and rethink where they stand when it comes to diversity and inclusion. The beauty industry was no exception — and many retailers committed to increasing their roster of brands founded and run by BIPOC. Ulta Beauty took said commitment seriously and recently announced that it has enlisted none other than Tracee Ellis Ross, as a diversity and inclusion adviser to help in its efforts.
Ross is no stranger to working with the mega-retailer, as she launched her hair care brand, Pattern, exclusively at Ulta Beauty in 2019. As part of her new role, she'll lend her expertise and experience as a CEO to help support current and future Black-owned brands that are a part of the Ulta assortment. She'll also attend quarterly executive Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) council meetings. "I look forward to formalizing an already existing dialogue and partnership around diversity and inclusion with [CEO] Mary Dillon and the Ulta Beauty team,” Ross said in a statement.
Working with Ross is not the end of the retailer's efforts, however. In 2021, Ulta plans to double the number of Black-owned brands it carries. For context, in August, that number was 13, but since then, the retailer has added labels like Black Opal, Mented Cosmetics, Keys Soulcare, and Black Girl Sunscreen, with even more to come. Beyond that, Ulta has committed $4 million in marketing support for these labels.
"As the country's beauty retail leader, we believe we have the power to shape how the world sees beauty, and as such, we have a responsibility to inspire positive change and drive greater diversity, inclusivity and equity," Dillon said.
Furthermore, Ulta will launch an ad campaign featuring Black CEOs of brands it carries (like Nancy Twine of Briogeo, Lisa Price of Carol's Daughter, and Cara Sabin of Sundial), dedicating $20 million for ad placement on platforms like BET, Essence, Univision, and Telemundo to further invest in its connections with diverse communities.
Finally, Ulta announced it will spend $2 million on inclusivity and unconscious bias training for store and salon employees. “We look forward to sharing more as we continue on this journey with steadfast commitment from our teams and our newly established adviser Tracee Ellis Ross, who brings passion, experience, and perspective to this important work," Dillon said.