Ulta Beauty will double Black-owned brands in its stores, invest $25M in diversity initiatives

Ulta Beauty, the largest makeup and skincare retailer in the U.S., announced Tuesday that it will invest more than $25 million in improving the company’s diversity and inclusivity by incorporating more diverse advertisements and beauty brands in its campaigns. 

To usher in the more inclusive environment and initiatives, Ulta leadership has also added actress and entrepreneur Tracee Ellis Ross as its new Diversity and Inclusion Advisor.

“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, the CEO of Ulta Beauty. “We are deeply committed to leading purposefully with and for underrepresented voices across retail and beauty on our [diversity and inclusion] journey.”


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Tracee Ellis Ross Is Named ‘Diversity and Inclusion Adviser’ By Ulta Beauty In Initiative that Will Highlight Black-Owned Brands

On February 2, the nation’s largest beauty retailer, Ulta Beauty, revealed that it is launching a $25 million dollar diversity and inclusion initiative, and Tracee Ellis Ross will have a key role in it.

The company announced the Ross will serve as the company’s diversity and inclusion adviser, a “formalized role to provide counsel, inspiration and drive accountability,” according to the official press release.

Tracee Ellis Ross. @traceeellisross/Instagram

“I look forward to formalizing an already existing dialogue and partnership around diversity and inclusion with Mary Dillon and the Ulta Beauty team,” said Ross. “This work requires commitment and accountability from Ulta Beauty to ensure measurable goals are achieved. I am hopeful and optimistic our work together will create foundational change.”

Ulta said that in her role Ross “will provide counsel and insight, and drive accountability to Ulta Beauty with a specific focus on BIPOC brand development, diverse leadership development

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A Brief History of Black-owned Beauty Brands

The beauty industry has a long history of Black entrepreneurship that stems largely from women.

Before the days of direct-to-consumer, Annie Turnbo Malone, Madam C.J. Walker and Sara Spencer Washington sold their homemade beauty products door-to-door, scaling their businesses beyond their humble beginnings and amassing extraordinary wealth.

Here, WWD takes a look back at Black-owned beauty businesses from decades past.

Annie Turnbo Malone

Annie Turnbo Malone was one of the first Black women to achieve millionaire status in America. The niece of an herbalist and daughter of formerly enslaved parents, Malone created a chemical hair straightener called Wonderful Hair Grower and developed and patented the pressing comb. Her net worth was once thought to be as high as $14 million, according to the University of Illinois’ Historical Archaeology and Public Engagement website.

After moving to St. Louis from Illinois, Malone opened a retail outlet at the 1904 World Fair, where

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Ulta Beauty commits to doubling Black-owned brands in its stores

Ulta Beauty has announced a new initiative surrounding diversity and inclusiveness regarding its products promising to double the Black-owned brands found in its stores. 

The company said it promises by the end of 2021, Black-owned brands in its assortment will double and more than $4 million will be dedicated to marketing used to bring awareness to black-owned brands in order to sustain growth around those products. 

 In total, the company is pledging $25 million toward its diversity and inclusion initiative. 

Ulta has also tapped Tracy Ellis Ross, CEO, and founder of hair-care brand Pattern Beauty, to lead the company’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts as an advisor

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