Looks like Ulta Beauty, the American chain of beauty stores, is looking to commit to Black-owned brands.
CEO Dave Kimbell said it is not enough for beauty stores to just put Black-owned brands on shelves, instead, they should make sure those brands gain a bigger following and have staying power for years to come, according to CNBC.
Ulta is now putting their money where their mouth is because today the company announced that they planned to spend $50 million on diversity and inclusion in 2022. But, they also want to include investments to increase support for emerging Black-owned brands.
The company plans to start an accelerator program to mentor entrepreneurs of color, invest $5 million in a venture capital fund for their early-stage companies and lean into marketing efforts to get their products in front of more consumers. That includes putting $3.5 million toward in-store merchandising, such as displays that grab shoppers’ attention.
About $25 million of the annual spending will go toward company ads, social media campaigns and similar investments to reach beauty consumers of diverse backgrounds. Ulta plans to spend an additional $8.5 million on ads and marketing for Black-owned, led or founded brands.
Ulta Beauty, along with its biggest competitor, Sephora and 28 other companies signed the Fifteen Percent Pledge, an initiative that looks to make Black-owned products on shelves proportional to the Black population of the United States, which is 15%, according to The Fifteen Percent Pledge website.
According to CNBC, the executive director of the initiative, LaToya Williams-Belfort, says supporting the founders of these Black-owned products is a vital step as more Black-owned brands are put on these companies’ shelves. What the Fifteen Percent Pledge is doing is not just stressing that these brands are put on shelves, but also have the opportunity to grow and have access to marketing dollars.
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Ulta is building on its previous diversity investments. Last year, the retailer more than doubled the number of Black-owned brands it carries from 13 to 28. The company said it is roughly halfway toward reaching its goal of 15% representation on shelves.
Other retailers have kicked off their own efforts to support young brands. Sephora, Target and Amazon are among the companies with accelerator programs dedicated toward helping early-stage start-ups led by entrepreneurs of color to develop, test and scale products.
Ulta’s Kimbell said the addition of newer and innovative brands from Black founders is helping the retailer win customers and deepen shopper loyalty.