There is Beauty In Everything At Ulta Beauty


(Image courtesy of Ulta Beauty)


The Beauty and Wellness industry runs like an orchestra. On one side, you have the String Instruments (makeup brands that you see either in-store or online) and Woodwind Section (manufacture/supply plants that create the products). On the other side, the Brass Instruments (marketing and public relations firms that help get a product known to its target audience) and Percussion Section (the customers). The composer of this symphonic relationship is the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who "regulates" the industry. The FDA only uses two pieces of legislation, The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 and The Fair Packaging and Labelling Act of 1966, to regulate the industry. This lack of regulation means that makeup brands could go to market without FDA approval. Thus, customers face an Odysseus-like problem: Should the customer face the Scylla (trust any brand promise) or Charybdis (not wear any cosmetics ever)?



(Image of Odysseus and his crew courtesy of ShutterStock)



Luckily, Ulta Beauty comes to the rescue. The company guides anyone on any step of their beauty/wellness journey by carrying well vetted brands at a variety of price points. When you enter an Ulta Beauty Store, you are transported to a world where team members advocate for their clients, guests can get their hair done at the in store salon, and a person can enter into judgement free wanting to learn more about hair or makeup. I had the chance to speak with Kelly G., Public Relations Manager at Ulta Beauty, to learn more about the company's mission and vision.





(Image courtesy of Ulta Beauty)



1. What do you do?

I am a public relations manager at Ulta Beauty. In my role, my job is to not only drive the brand reputation forward in earned media, but to also safeguard it. It is all about storytelling and we work closely with journalists to tell brand stories that will also be of interest to the audience, whether that’s consumers or trade media. Our team is very much behind the scenes, trying to find those compelling narratives that will want to make people engage with the brand in meaningful ways.



(Image courtesy of Ulta Beauty)


2. What makes Ulta Beauty different from other brands?

Ulta Beauty is all things beauty all in one place. We are the destination for beauty across different beauty sectors: hair, skin, nails, makeup, etc. A customer can come to Ulta Beauty to find an assortment of high-quality products at various price ranges. Ulta Beauty offers a range of products, including Mass Products ( products you can find at the drugstore or any retail location) to Prestige Products at different price points. When a person comes in who does not want to spend a lot of money, we have that item for them. If someone is looking to invest in their beauty routine, they can also come to Ulta Beauty and find the product they are looking for.



(Image courtesy of Ulta Beauty)


Another thing Ulta Beauty offers is salon services in store for both hair and skincare needs. Granted, it may change based on the location. There are over 1300 Ulta Beauty stores across the country, and all of our retail locations have a salon with services, what changes is the type of service that is offered. But generally speaking, when you walk into an Ulta, you would most likely find salon services.





(Image courtesy of Ulta Beauty)


Finally, Ulta Beauty is just very accessible. When a customer walks into Ulta Beauty, they feel like they belong. Beauty is not for one person, and Ulta Beauty is where anybody could celebrate, experience, and discover beauty. A customer doesn't come to Ulta Beauty to get beautiful; you come because you already are, and we just want to help you celebrate that.




(Image courtesy of Ulta Beauty)



3. How has Ulta Beauty adapted to the world in during this pandemic?

I'll start with just like safety. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, there was a time when our stores closed for a little bit. But once everything opened back up, the store safety team had implemented shop safety standards such as social distancing, heightened cleaning, and partial capacity. We currently operate at total capacity, where we have constant wellness checks for our associates who work in-store to make sure everyone feels comfortable. As much as we love our guests, our associates are equally important. Ulta Beauty prioritizes their health and wellness. In terms of services, Ulta Beauty offers curbside pickup, online, and in-store pickup.




(Image courtesy of Ulta Beauty)


We just announced a partnership with DoorDash(currently, that program is in six cities). As a result of the pandemic, many people started to invest in the skincare and wellness side of Beauty. Ulta Beauty made a concerted effort to amp up the placement and offerings in those areas. Now that we are starting to see an increase in people wearing makeup, we will promote makeup brands that allow self-expression. Ulta Beauty adapted in a nuanced way where the company constantly adjusts to customer wants and needs.



(Image courtesy of Ulta Beauty)



4. How does Ulta Beauty engage with different brands while maintaining its brand equity?

Our merchandising team brings in our brand partners. These experts know what our guests want and predict trends within the industry. Our merchandising team works with our brand partners to create our selection of over six hundred brands and 25,000 products as we continue to grow. From a PR perspective, when we begin to work with new brands, we will help announce that the brand is either exclusively sold at Ulta Beauty or new to our family.




(Image courtesy of Ulta Beauty)




5. How does Ulta Beauty incorporate its mission and vision into its product offerings?

Our associates and guests always come first. We listen to our associates and guests for recommendations about what brands to bring in, how to be more inclusive, and how to highlight BIPOC brands. We internalize this feedback into our product offering. At Ulta Beauty, we celebrate all types of beauty enthusiasts no matter race, age, ethnicity, or ability. Our mission and vision are listening, evolving, and improving ourselves. It's about taking a hard look at our product assortment and bringing new ideas to life in tangible ways.



(Image courtesy of Ulta Beauty)



6. What is the future of the company?

We will continue to celebrate inclusivity and uplift all kinds of beauty. In the past, there was one image of what beauty is. That is no longer the case. We will continue to celebrate beauty and all types of like interest within this sector. We will bring this to life through product and brand offerings and in-store and online experiences. Our app Ulta Beauty has a ton of awesome stuff on it. We will continue to be at the forefront of the technology and beauty realm interaction—our app as a Glam Lab where you can go and try on different types of make-up. The Lab conducts a skin analysis using Augmented Reality to help guests discover their skin type, problem areas, and recommended products.



(Image courtesy of Ulta Beauty)



(Image courtesy of Ulta Beauty)

Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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