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Tracee Ellis Ross Joins Ulta Beauty as Diversity & Inclusion Adviser

Ulta said it will double the number of Black-owned beauty brands it sells in 2021.

Actor and beauty entrepreneur Tracee Ellis Ross has taken on the role of diversity and inclusion adviser at Ulta Beauty as the retailer looks to “further champion diversity.”

Ross, an actor and the founder and chief executive officer of Pattern Beauty, steps into a role that is meant to provide counsel and drive accountability, Ulta said in a statement. Pattern launched exclusively with Ulta in 2019.

“I look forward to formalizing an already existing dialogue and partnership around diversity and inclusion with Mary Dillon [Ulta’s CEO] and the Ulta Beauty team,” Ross said in a statement. “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.”

Ross will use her CEO experience to help support current and future brands founded by people of color that are sold at Ulta. She will also help the retailer develop diverse leaders and diversity in the supply chain, and will join executive diversity and inclusion council summits quarterly.

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Dillon said Ulta is “deeply committed to leading purposefully with and for underrepresented voices across retail and beauty on our D&I journey.”

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“As the country’s beauty retail leader, we believe we have the power to shape how the world sees beauty and as such, we have a responsibility to inspire positive change and drive greater diversity, inclusivity and equity,” Dillon said.

In 2021, Ulta plans to double the number of Black-owned beauty brands in its assortment to 26, and spend more than $4 million in marketing support for those businesses to “fuel brand awareness and sustain growth.”

Adding new Black-owned brands could increase the percentage of Black-owned brands in Ulta’s assortment to just over 4 percent, given the 627 brands the company sells now. In August, 13 of Ulta’s 624 brands were Black-owned. Since then, more brands have been added to the lineup, including Black Opal. Mented Cosmetics, Keys Soulcare and Black Girl Sunscreen will enter Ulta in February, the company said.

The retailer is launching an advertising campaign meant to celebrate and amplify Black voices in beauty that has placements during the “Today” show, “Good Morning America” and “This Is Us.” The campaign features Black women and executives, including Sundial CEO Cara Sabin, Briogeo founder Nancy Twine and Carol’s Daughter founder Lisa Price. Ulta is also allocating $20 million for advertisements across more targeted media platforms, including BET, Essence, Univision and Telemundo, with an aim of creating more connections with Black, Latinx and other communities.

Ulta is also spending $2 million on inclusivity and unconscious bias training for store and salon workers, and has plans for similar training for field, distribution center and corporate workers.

The company said it will also invest in store associate experiences, and has established a Diverse Leaders Program to give more than 30 potential future leaders within its organization CEO and executive mentorship.

“Authenticity as an inclusive brand with welcoming experiences for all and an approachable assortment are tenets of how we champion diversity at Ulta Beauty,” Dillon said. “We look forward to sharing more as we continue on this journey with steadfast commitment from our teams and our newly established adviser Tracee Ellis Ross, who brings passion, experience and perspective to this important work.”

For more from WWD.com, see: 

L’Oréal USA, NAACP Launch Black-owned Business Fund

Target and Ulta Beauty Team Up

Master Class: Tracee Ellis Ross’ CEO Lessons From Pattern Beauty’s First Year