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EXCLUSIVE: Drunk Elephant Goes Wide With Ulta Beauty

The skin care brand will be available on Sept. 26.

Drunk Elephant has found a new Stateside retail partner.

After years of exclusivity with Sephora, the Shiseido-owned brand will be available online and all doors at Ulta Beauty starting Sept. 26.

Drunk Elephant is a brand we know our guests will love — not only for its revolutionary formulas and smart philosophy, but importantly for the joy they’ll find in using the products,” said Monica Arnaudo, chief merchandising officer of Ulta Beauty, in an email. “Throughout the past year, we’ve learned so much about how beauty enthusiasts engage with skin care, and their passion has never been stronger. We work to meet their expectations for honest, fresh and fun solutions that reflect their values — and Drunk Elephant checks all the boxes.”

The brand, which routinely tops bestseller pages on Sephora’s website, is ready to cast a wider net, starting domestically.

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“Exclusivity has been a part of my strategy from the beginning to get my feet firmly on the ground,” said Tiffany Masterson, founder of Drunk Elephant. “We’ve had customers asking us on social media constantly when we’re going into Ulta.”

Masterson said the partnership will help her share her ingredient philosophy with a wider swath of shoppers. “I just wanted to find new ways to bring fresh eyes to the brand and continue to build awareness, and to make it even more convenient for customers who are loyal,” she said. “There’s still a lot of people who haven’t tried it.”

To that end, despite the full assortment going into Ulta, Masterson expects the brand’s miniature sizes to perform exceptionally well. “The ‘littles’ represent a routine, and you can buy the whole routine that lasts 30 days. If we can lead with that in every retailer, we can educate the consumer right away on why we’re different, and it can be a game changer,” she said. “When you’re in a typical retailer, you go back to the hero product, but this is a philosophy, and it’s a challenge.”

Although Masterson didn’t comment on sales, industry sources think the brand could do $100 million in sales at Ulta Beauty in 2022.

Masterson is also bullish on other international markets, having entered China in 2019. She also reformulated one of the brand’s heroes, C-Firma Day Serum, such that it can retain potency while being shipped internationally.

It is now called C-Firma Fresh Day Serum, and consumers mix the formula’s two phases — powdered L-ascorbic acid, or Vitamin C, and a liquid base — prior to first use. The formula is now also vegan.

“We used to educate retailers that after six months of opening the product, it needs to be done,” Masterson said. “In talking to teams in Russia or Germany, it sits there for three months and it could be six months after it’s made to get to the shelves. Now, it can sit on a shelf in Russia for three years.”

The brand has also launched in nine new markets over the past year, with expansions into Brazil, South Korea and Japan in October. “Wherever there’s skin in the market, we have something for you,” Masterson said.

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