Le Labo Santal 33, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb: We can count on one hand how many perfumes have earned cult followings large enough to rival the Arianators. But a prestige brand name is not required to reach that in-demand status, a fact proven by indie brand Lake & Skye, whose best-selling scent 11 11 has been hoarded by beauty editors and fielding "what fragrance is that?" inquiries since its launch in 2015. And it's not just the compliment-worthy scent that has gained popularity for the brand — its wellness-minded approach and minimalistic packaging have contributed, too.
But before the ubiquitous retail presence and the large portfolio of handcrafted products, including body oils and candles, Lake & Skye was run entirely out of the home of founder Courtney Somer. At one point, even with 5,000 units in her New York City residence, Somer was still hand-labeling and shipping out every order herself — without ever envisioning a time wherein she'd be selling her products across the country and beyond.
Four years later, Somer's products have landed front and center in Ulta Beauty's SPARKED program. The initiative, which launched this past summer, highlights indie brands online and in-store while also offering the founders mentorship and support. As part of the program's second phase — along with two other brands, Petite 'n Pretty and NABLA — Somer is able to see her visions of greater visibility come true. "Our goal was to bring [the brand] to a wider audience, and Ulta Beauty was the right fit both in what they stand for as a beauty destination, supporting women and communities, and this amazing program," she tells Refinery29.
That meaningful exposure is exactly what Ulta strives for with SPARKED, and this second phase is only the beginning, with much more to come down the line. For the retailer, Shelley Haus, Senior Vice President of Brand Marketing at Ulta Beauty, says it's about more than just adding products to its shelves, but giving brands the platform to shine. "[It's] also to learn more about their amazing founders and stories," Haus says.
While Somer's brand has grown exponentially, stocked in stores and online at places like Birchbox and Anthropologie, SPARKED represents what might be the biggest stepping stone yet. "It's extremely important that a retailer like Ulta Beauty not only sees the value in smaller, newer brands, but also knows that customers are interested in discovering a line they may not have heard of before," Somer says. "To have this type of platform is invaluable to grow awareness, build a brand, and reach new audiences."
Check out the cult-favorite scent and more products now available at Ulta Beauty thanks to SPARKED, below.
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