Story at a glance

  • Ulta Beauty, the largest beauty retailer in the country, will invest $25 million in more diverse ad campaigns and its product catalogue.
  • Other corporations have made commitments to supporting Black American business.

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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The majority of the money, about $20 million, will be used to invest in more diverse media to focus on its Black, Latino and other underrepresented customer bases. 

Ulta is also pledging to increase the volume of products owned and created by Black entrepreneurs, aiming to double the number of Black-owned beauty brands it carries by the end of 2021.

A remaining $4 million will be specifically dedicated to the marketing of Black-owned brands exclusively within the company’s portfolio to help sustain economic growth for smaller companies.

“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 Beauty is yet another corporation to overhaul its business practices to become more diverse and inclusive. The renewed Black Lives Matter movement that swept the U.S. last year not only addressed the systemic violence against Black Americans, but also called for tangible change across institutions — including the beauty industry which has historically neglected people of color and perpetuated exclusivity in mainstream cosmetics. 

Other big name brands, ranging from Adidas to Amazon, from Nike to Microsoft, have pledged to improve their hiring practices and employee pay as activists rebuked their silence despite profiting off of Black creativity, culture and work. 

To preserve its goals, Ulta is following suit and launching improved diversity and inclusion training for all associates and employees and is setting up annual performance reviews to ensure their diversity goals are being met. 


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Published on Feb 02, 2021