Sally Beauty Holdings, the leader in professional hair color, just launched its third Cultivate Accelerator Program focused on bringing beauty entrepreneurs’ business plans and visions to life. Consistent with its mission to bring professional-quality products to consumers and professionals through Sally Beauty and Cosmo Prof respectively, the program was created to find, launch, and support small businesses that created unique and innovative products within the hair care, hair color, styling tool, and nail categories.
A pioneer when it comes to launching undiscovered brands, Sally Beauty was the first national beauty retailer to offer in-store distribution to Mielle Organics, The Mane Choice, and Arctic Fox. “It is extremely challenging for new brands to break into the beauty industry due to its competitive nature. We want to give entrepreneurs a chance they otherwise might not receive,” said Maryann Herskowitz, Group Vice President of Merchandising at Sally Beauty.
This was the impetus behind the launch of the Cultivate Accelerator Program in 2018. It was conceived as a program that provides new brands with the opportunity to scale their business by offering distribution and access to a national audience. It propelled winning brands Curlanista and PuffCuff to new heights. Ceata Lash, Founder of PuffCuff, shared that “receiving the President’s Innovation Award and being accepted into the Cultivate Program was an entrepreneurial ‘pinch me’ moment. We were thrown into the retail side of e-commerce where we learned invaluable lessons at a breakneck pace in real-time. I can’t thank Sally Beauty Holdings enough for the experience, and I hope to continue this partnership for many years to come.” Additional past winners include Peculiar Roots, Patti Yankee, UniQurl, and True + Pure Texture.
Sally Beauty Holdings knows it is not enough to simply get products in the hands of consumers and stylists; growing and mentoring the people behind the brands with ongoing support is just as important. In support of this continued commitment, the program empowers beauty entrepreneurs and is strategically designed to help small businesses scale by providing two well-deserving winners with mentorship, distribution at Sally Beauty and/ or Cosmo Prof, and $30,000 worth of funding split between the founders. Finalists receive the unique opportunity to participate in a 4-week virtual boot camp where seasoned Sally Beauty Holdings leaders provide guidance in key areas such as Marketing, Merchandising, Legal, E-commerce, Store Operations, and more. The boot camp is specifically built to set brand founders up for success and help them understand how to develop a business plan and grow their businesses while making their visions become reality. The boot camp concludes with each founder pitching their business plans to Sally Beauty Holdings executives.
Previously, the Cultivate Accelerator Program focused specifically on female founders. This year, the retailer expanded the program to a more diverse group of beauty innovators. “As we continue to see the beauty industry grow and diversify, it feels like the right time to open the program up giving more entrepreneurs an opportunity to advance their brands,” said Herskowitz. “This change was made with our customers in mind. Opening the program up allows for more innovation and unique products that help serve our customers’ everchanging needs.”
The 2022 Cultivate Accelerator Program is open to entrepreneurs and innovators that have a social media presence and are not distributed by other major retailers within the following categories– hair care, hair color, hair tools, and nails. The program is accepting applications through April 22, 2022. To learn more about the Cultivate Accelerator Program and to apply, visit SallyBeauty.com/Cultivate.
I have over 10 years of experience in the retail industry including expertise in marketing, operations, merchandising, buying, shopping and technology. I am a former senior managing director of The School of Retailing, University of Alberta. My education includes a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from The University of Alberta in Marketing, Certificate in Real Estate and a Diploma in Fashion Merchandising and Buying from LasSalle College, a Canadian private school founded in 1959 by fashion designer Jean-Paul Morin.