Ulta Beauty to double Black-owned brands as part of $25 million diversity push

Marianne Wilson
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Ulta Beauty unveiled a $25 million diversity and inclusion initiative and brought on a popular celebrity activist and entrepreneur to serve as its diversity and inclusion advisor. 

The initiative includes doubling the amount of Black-owned brands that it sells by the end of this year and a focus on employee training to make its stores feel more welcoming to all customers.

In addition, the beauty retailer has tapped Tracee Ellis Ross, actor, CEO and founder of Pattern Beauty, as its diversity and inclusion advisor to provide counsel, inspiration and drive accountability. (Ross is one of the stars of the ABC television show “Blackish.”)

“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,” said Mary Dillon, CEO, Ulta Beauty “We are deeply committed to leading purposefully with and for underrepresented voices across retail and beauty on our D&I journey.”

Approximately $20 million of Ulta’s investment will be allocated to media investments across multi-cultural platforms aimed at reaching LatinX and Black communities, more than doubling the spend of the last three years. The retailer is launching an advertising campaign designed to celebrate and amplify Black voices in beauty that has placements during the “Today” show, “Good Morning America” and “This Is Us.” The campaign features Black women and executives. 

More than $4 million will be dedicated to marketing support of Black-owned brands within the company’s assortment to fuel brand awareness and sustain growth. And about $2 million will go towards quarterly, mandatory in-store training for all store and salon associates to reinforce inclusivity and address unconscious bias. 

Ulta is also building upon Race Matters Leadership Training it debuted in 2020,  implementing a mandatory 2.0 version across field, distribution center and corporate associates in 2021.

The company is also working to expand employee diversity through recruiting efforts and the establishment of a Diverse Leaders Program to empower more than 30, high-potential associates as future company leaders with CEO and executive mentorship. 

“Authenticity as an inclusive brand with welcoming experiences for all and an approachable assortment are tenets of how we champion diversity at Ulta Beauty,” stated Dillon. “We have mapped these commitments to impact every facet of our work. We look forward to sharing more as we continue on this journey with steadfast commitment from our teams and our newly established advisor Tracee Ellis Ross, who brings passion, experience and perspective to this important work.”