Ulta Beauty Plans To Increase Black-Owned Brands As Part Of $25 Million Diversity Push

Robert Channick
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Robert Channick reports, at ULTA “the ad campaigns will appear in media outlets such as BET, Essence, Univision, and Telemundo, Ulta spokeswoman Eileen Ziesemer said.”


Ulta Beauty, the suburban Chicago-based cosmetics retailer, is planning to invest more than $25 million this year to promote diversity in its products and stores.

The initiative, announced Tuesday, includes a $20 million advertising commitment on media platforms targeting Black, Latino and other minority communities, more than doubling the annual multicultural ad spend over the last three years.

The ad campaigns will appear in media outlets such as BET, Essence, Univision, and Telemundo, Ulta spokeswoman Eileen Ziesemer said.

In conjunction with the campaign, Ulta will look to diversify its product offerings, doubling the number of Black-owned brands it carries by the end of 2021.
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That will be backed by an additional $4 million marketing campaign promoting Black-owned brands.

The announcement comes a couple of weeks after rival beauty retailer Sephora announced it would double the number of Black-owned brands it sells to 16 by the end of the year. Ziesemer declined to specify the number Ulta sells but said doubling it would bring the share of Black-owned brands to 5% of Ulta’s total offerings.

Actress Tracee Ellis Ross, founder and CEO of Pattern Beauty, a textured hair-care brand carried by Ulta, will become the retailer’s diversity and inclusion advisor.

Ross, known for her roles on the TV series Black-ish and Girlfriends, will focus on Black-owned brand development, diverse leadership and supplier diversity. Her new role does not include being an on-air spokeswoman for Ulta’s diversity efforts, Ziesemer said.

Ulta will also invest $2 million for mandatory in-store inclusivity training for its associates beginning in March to address unconscious bias, the retailer said.

Founded in 1990, Bolingbrook-based Ulta is the largest beauty retailer in the U.S. with more than 1,250 stores across 50 states.

“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,” Mary Dillon, Ulta Beauty’s CEO, said in a news release.

Corporate America has increased its public commitment to diversity and inclusion in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in May, and the widespread civil unrest that followed.

Last week, Northbrook-based home furnishings retailer Crate and Barrel announced it is joining a pledge to ensure 15% of its products are supplied by Black businesses, artists and designers by 2024.

Launched in 2020, the 15 Percent Pledge is a nonprofit advocacy organization aimed at getting representative shelf space for Black-owned businesses at major retailers.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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