By Jihan Forbes
Tracee Ellis Ross is already an award-winning actor, fashion icon, and CEO of her own hair-care company, Pattern Beauty. But, of course, as someone dedicated to amplifying Black voices and Black culture, she isn’t stopping there. The multi-hyphenate has a new role, signing on with Ulta Beauty (the retailer that just so happens to carry her brand) as its new diversity and inclusion advisor — just in time for Black History Month.
“I look forward to formalizing an already existing dialogue and partnership around diversity and inclusion with [Ulta Beauty CEO] Mary Dillon and the Ulta Beauty team,” says Ellis Ross in a press release. “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.”
In this role, Ellis Ross will help steer Ulta Beauty into building up its diversity, from the kind of brands the retailer offers to leadership development for folks working at the company. A press release for Ulta Beauty confirmed that the actor will be present at executive Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) council quarterly meetings.
Ellis Ross’s new position comes as Ulta Beauty announces a larger diversity and inclusion initiative, which puts an emphasis on supporting Black-owned brands. Besides committing to doubling the number of Black-owned brands available on their shelves by the end of the year, the retailer is also promising to invest $4 million in marketing these brands, as well as $20 million on a larger campaign to reach out to customers of color and other underrepresented communities.
Ulta Beauty also plans to institute extra training for its in-store staff, including the workers in the salons, so they are better able to accommodate the shopping and beauty needs of customers with diverse backgrounds. Starting in March, the quarterly training will focus on combatting unconscious bias in hopes of improving the shopping experience for customers. Ulta will continue to recruit people from underrepresented backgrounds, as well as helping them advance within the company in a meaningful way.
As part of the rollout for its big D&I push, Ulta Beauty is unveiling its MUSE (Magnify, Uplift, Support, Empower) project in order to put a focus on Black players in the beauty industry. The retailer created a one-minute spot, “Ode to Beauty,” featuring Black beauty brand owners, editors, and influencers, including Briogeo’s Nancy Twine, Carol’s Daughter’s Lisa Price, Cosmopolitan beauty director Julee Wilson, and more.
We can’t wait to see Ulta Beauty grow in its commitment to serving diverse communities and will definitely be watching to see what fruits come of this labor.