If retailers learned anything from 2020, it’s that posting black squares on Instagram is not enough to support the Black community. After Sephora took part in the 15 Percent Pledge over the summer, Ulta Beauty is now stepping up in its own way.
On February 2, the beauty retailer announced a slate of changes at both the retail and executive levels as part of its new MUSE platform to Magnify, Uplift, Support, and Empower Black people in the beauty industry.
“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 Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon in a statement. “We are deeply committed to leading purposefully with and for underrepresented voices across retail and beauty on our D&I journey.”
The first steps in that journey is a commitment to doubling the amount of Black-owned brands on shelves in 2021. The retailer is starting by rolling out lines including Mented Cosmetics, Keys Soulcare, Melanin Hair Care, Briogeo, and Black Girl Sunscreen starting this month. Ulta has promised not only to carry more Black-owned brands but to invest $4 million in marketing support to drive brand awareness.
Actor and Pattern Beauty founder Tracee Ellis Ross will also be joining as the company’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisor to “provide counsel and insight and drive accountability to Ulta Beauty with a specific focus on BIPOC brand development, diverse leadership development and supplier diversity,” according to the company’s statement. Ross will join Ulta’s internal Executive D&I Council Summits quarterly, where executives will review D&I progress, gaps, and opportunities.
It’s not just the top of the company getting a makeover. Ulta is committing to change on the sales floor too. The retailer is introducing quarterly inclusivity and unconscious bias training to all store and salon employees, as well as revamping its recruiting efforts so they’re more inclusive. Lastly, the company is also rolling out a Diverse Leaders Program, which will provide executive mentorship opportunities.
It’s great to see retailers putting their money where their mouths are and committing to change. We’re looking forward to other brands following suit.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.