Ulta Beauty is continuing its push to bring up and coming beauty brands into stores and online. And the retailer is doing it the Ulta way—offering both mass and class assortments.
A new concept called Sparked at Ulta Beauty debuted last weekend to more than 30,000 people who flocked to Beautycon Los Angeles. Ulta pinpointed four emerging brands and their founders to spotlight along with a handful of other new lines. The founders presented Show and Tell demos throughout the festival on a stage held in Ulta’s booth, a first-time activation for the retailer. “You can’t miss us. We are in the center of the action,” reported Ulta’s Senior Vice President of Merchandising, Monica Arnaudo, from the convention. “This is the perfect opportunity for us to unveil our Sparked at Ulta Beauty. There are already people lined up to purchase.”
The brands, Uoma Beauty, Elcie, Zoeva and Love Wellness, are already on Ulta Beauty’s website and will make an official debut September 22 with a special display table in about 600 physical stores signed as Sparked at Ulta Beauty. The concept will be an ongoing flow of new with collections on tap for holiday and then again in January. Each of the brands brings something unique and fills out white spaces in Ulta’s selection, according to Monica. “We are seeking out brands we know the consumer will be super excited to find and discover more about these brand founders.”
Ulta has been a trailblazer in uncovering up-and-coming beauty lines in both prestige and mass. Last year Ulta intensified its effort to identify promising beauty brands still in their infancy with the creation of an emerging brand team. “This new collection represents our understanding that our guests have an insatiable desire to get it first and know Ulta Beauty is the place for new and exclusive products that you just can’t find anywhere else,” states Tara Simon, Senior Vice President, Merchandising at Ulta Beauty. While many of the brands Ulta is injecting into the mix got a start online, for others the retailer is the launchpad.
Sharon Chuter’s brand might be new, but she’s no stranger to the beauty industry. A former LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Revlon executive, Sharon ventured out on her own to create an inclusive makeup line inspired by her African heritage. “I didn’t feel the industry was moving fast enough and I wanted to be a catalyst for that change.” Uoma includes 108 items priced between $22 to $44 and debuted exclusively at Ulta last March. “It’s not very often you get to launch in an Ulta Beauty store,” Sharon said, noting that Ulta put its faith in her concept and didn’t try to alter it. “We’re three months old and have a very bright future ahead of us.”
This new collection represents our understanding that our guests have an insatiable desire to get it first and know Ulta Beauty is the place for new and exclusive products that you just can’t find anywhere else. Tara Simon, Senior Vice President, Merchandising at Ulta Beauty.
Zoe Boikou saw a gap in the market for affordable, but quality, makeup brushes. “I was frustrated by mediocre brands and decided to start my own brand,” said Zoe. With no experience in beauty, she found a company, Zoeva, who would make 10 pieces of brushes that she peddled on eBay. When she hit 10,000 orders, she knew it was time to officially launch. Ulta has been instrumental in helping Zoe tell her story and be ready to go to market. “They gave me confidence and empowered me to do what I do. They’ve done a good job offering affordable brands.” Her average price points range from $12 to $22.
Working as a professional makeup artist for 15 years inspired Lilit Caradanian to create Elcie. “People are confused whether their skin is oily or dry. They are overwhelmed by the number of products on the market,” she said. Her solution is a universal foundation that suits everyone. She’s since expanded into other makeup categories, including eyeshadow palettes. Ulta Beauty is the first physical distribution for the brand. During the Show and Tell, Lilit demonstrated how to use her products on a consumer selected from an Instagram post.
Women’s personal care is a booming category and Sparked at Ulta Beauty includes Love Wellness, a feminine care and wellness brand created by former reality star Lauren “Lo” Bosworth. Lo launched the brand in 2016 after noticing a lack of personal care products that were natural. “I was a regular at my OB/GYN until I got serious about my health, became well-educated by my doctors, and was introduced to a doctor-recommended self-care routine that worked. What did it entail? Natural products, alternative relief methods, and lots of good gut bacteria,” she explained on the Love Wellness website.
The featured founders need look no further than Ulta’s power in building brands such as Kylie Cosmetics, ColourPop and Morphe. And during Beautycon there was no overlooking what could potentially be in their future—one of the headliners was Huda Kattan who started in 2010 with a beauty blog and is now worth $610 million, according to Forbes.