Ulta Beauty, the largest beauty retailer in the United States, has opened applications for its MUSE Accelerator program, an initiative aimed at supporting early-stage BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) beauty brands as they prepare to launch and thrive in retail.
The 10-week program, which began on September 12, 2022, is part of Ulta Beauty’s commitment to driving greater acceptance, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the beauty industry.
The MUSE Accelerator offers eight selected BIPOC beauty brands $50,000 in financial support, along with resources and mentorship to help them achieve retail readiness and long-term success.
The program’s curriculum features sessions led by Ulta Beauty executives, partners, and various industry leaders, focusing on brand development for retail readiness. Topics covered include merchandising, supply chain, legal, and marketing, as well as engagement with brand founders and industry leaders during fireside chats and panels.
Ulta Beauty’s broad differentiation strategy targets various segments within the beauty market, including skin care, hair care, cosmetics, fragrances, and salon services.
The company offers a wide range of products at different price levels, catering to diverse customer needs. Ulta’s loyalty program, Ultimate Rewards, is another significant competitive advantage, boasting over 37 million members, which equates to roughly 25% of women in America.
In addition to Ulta Beauty’s MUSE Accelerator program, Sephora, another major beauty retailer, announced the 2023 cohort of its Accelerate brand incubator program, which also focuses on supporting startup founders of color.
The selected brands for Sephora’s program include Moodeaux, Brown Girl Jane, Range Beauty, Glosshood, Seaspire Skincare, Oui the People, and Of Other Worlds.
Both Ulta Beauty and Sephora are taking tangible steps to create foundational industry change by nurturing emerging BIPOC brands and fostering a more inclusive and diverse beauty landscape.