Gone are the days of brands and retailers posting black squares on Instagram to "pledge" allegiance to racial equality. To make real change, companies need to implement powerful upgrades both internally and externally, and Ulta Beauty is stepping up to the plate.
The beauty behemoth announced some significant changes to its retail lineup as part of its new MUSE platform to Magnify, Uplift, Support and Empower Black voices in the beauty industry. For starters, Ulta pledges to double the number of Black-owned brands on shelves by the end of 2021 alone. "The company will work directly with Black founders and entrepreneurs with the goal to grow brands so these beauty leaders can thrive as they continue to serve the Black community," a company spokesperson stated in a press release.
Ulta released the important news alongside a stunning campaign featuring Black leaders in the beauty space, like Nancy Twine, CEO and founder of Briogeo; Julee Wilson, Beauty Director of Cosmopolitan; Whitney White, founder of Melanin Haircare; Lisa Price, founder of Carol's Daughter; and Cara Sabin, CEO of SheaMoisture.
Ulta is kicking off this commitment by rolling out brands like Mented Cosmetics, Keys Soulcare, Melanin Hair Care, and Black Girl Sunscreen to stores this month. Briogeo will also be available at the Salon bar. In addition to adding new lines to shelves, Ulta is dedicating over four million dollars to provide marketing support to Black-owned businesses on shelves to increase brand awareness and growth.
The brand is committing to improvements behind the counter, too, with mandatory quarterly unconscious bias training for in-store associates. Creating mentorship opportunities for potential business leaders is one more of the key initiatives being rolled out.
Ulta also tapped actress Tracee Ellis Ross, whose Pattern Beauty line is sold in-stores and online, as its new Diversity and Inclusion Advisor. "In her role as Diversity and Inclusion Advisor, Ross will provide counsel and insight, and drive accountability to Ulta Beauty with a specific focus on BIPOC brand development, diverse leadership development, and supplier diversity," the company said. Ross will also be a regular member of diversity and inclusion summits to review progress and help Ulta identify new opportunities.
These changes mark a new chapter in the book of doing better in the beauty aisle, and we're looking forward to seeing more retailers work to cultivate a better experience for Black business owners and consumers. We're all better off for it.