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Published June 21, 2022
Published June 21, 2022
The Muse Accelerator

According to a McKinsey study, Black brands make up only 2.5% of revenue in the beauty industry. However, 11.1% of total spending in the beauty industry comes from Black consumers. With consumers of color being three times more likely to be dissatisfied with product offerings for their specific haircare, skincare, and makeup needs, more Black-owned beauty businesses need to gain the recognition they deserve—paving the way for Black beauty consumers to feel at ease when shopping. In order to support early-stage BIPOC beauty brands, Ulta Beauty has teamed up with Venture Noire, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping minority entrepreneurs, with the partnership now accepting applications for their Muse Accelerator program. The initiative is committed to supporting said brands in their projects and launches, with the intention to help them thrive in a retail space.

Through the Muse Accelerator, Ulta Beauty will educate and inspire successful applicants with mentorship and resources to prepare CEOs and their teams for retail readiness while creating a strong and nurturing community. The support project, which will officially launch in September, will see eight selected brands receive $50,000 in financial support, with the aim to prepare each brand for long-term success.

“Muse Accelerator is another way we’re bringing to life our commitment to diversifying our unparalleled assortment so all guests can see themselves reflected at Ulta Beauty,” says Monica Arnaudo, Chief Merchandising Officer, Ulta Beauty. “We believe it is our responsibility to take tangible steps to create foundational industry change. As a destination where brands can learn, thrive and successfully reach unchartered heights, this program helps us further nurture emerging BIPOC brands and create meaningful impact for the communities we serve, our industry and the world.”

Muse Accelerator will be presented through a 10-week curriculum, with virtual and in-person sessions focused on brand development. The sessions include: Brand Strategy & Positioning— an immersive planning session providing tools for long-term success; Retail 101—training on how to successfully launch in an omnichannel retail environment; Supply Chain & Logistics—a critical course for planning and navigating distribution channels to ensure the best customer experiences are obtained. And finally, participants will have an opportunity to pitch to brands and potential merchants/investors. The curriculum and mentorship will be provided by Shontay Lundy, founder of Black Girl Sunscreen, Ron Robinson, founder and CEO of BeautyStat, Desirée Rogers, CEO of BLK/OPL, and Julissa Prado, founder and CEO of Rizos Curls.

“Having built and launched a brand from concept to aisle, I understand the critical importance of mentors as guides along the way especially as a minority navigating new territories,” says Lundy. “I was fortunate to have had such support and honored to have the opportunity to pay it forward through Ulta Beauty’s Muse Accelerator.”

Eligible early-stage BIPOC brands are encouraged to apply now, in time for the June 30 deadline.


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