The Fifteen Percent Pledge just scored another win in the form of another major retailer joining its commitment to dedicate 15 percent of its assortment to Black-owned, Black-founded and Black-led brands. On Tuesday, it was announced that Ulta Beauty has joined Sephora, Macy’s, Gap, American Vogue and more in creating a retail and media landscape more representative of America’s racial demographics.
“We could not be more excited that Ulta Beauty is the latest retailer to partner with us to create more diverse and equitable workplaces,” said Aurora James, founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge and luxury apparel brand Brother Vellies. “This announcement is huge—and our partnership will have a monumental impact for Black businesses within the beauty industry. As we approach our one-year anniversary, we look forward to building on our momentum, expanding our partnerships and continuing to create opportunities for Black business owners.”
The Fifteen Percent Pledge was founded in the wake of last year’s racial protests, when countless brands were making performative promises to increase equity with little to no concrete plans. First issuing a challenge that stood in stark contrast to the virtual abyss of black boxes displayed across social media last June, James quickly rallied some of America’s biggest brands to join her effort, working to ensure appropriate representation and substantive support for Black creators and entrepreneurs.
For Ulta, which in February announced that actress and beauty entrepreneur Tracee Ellis Ross as its new Diversity and Inclusion Advisor, joining the Pledge means even greater representation within its stores and in its efforts “to build an ecosystem of support for Black businesses as the company works to create greater equity,” read a press release shared with The Glow Up.
Working in lockstep with the Pledge, Ulta Beauty is focused on further evolving its assortment, working directly with Black founders and entrepreneurs to help brands grow and to ensure Black beauty leaders can thrive and inspire beauty enthusiasts across the country. Diversity and inclusion are pillars of Ulta Beauty’s core values and the Pledge represents an important next step on its journey.
“Creating lasting change and driving equity in the marketplace takes time and actionable focus, and as the country’s beauty retail leader, we have a responsibility to inspire greater change across our industry,” said Ulta Beauty Chief Merchandising officer Monica Arnaudo. “We’re proud to join the Fifteen Percent Pledge to drive equity across retail and look forward to partnering to amplify underrepresented voices in beauty, increase access to and opportunity for Black-owned brands and of course, grow our ever-evolving assortment to holistically impact change.”