Ulta Beauty has launched SPARKED at Ulta Beauty, an initiative designed to give consumers access to up-and-coming direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands spanning the hair, skincare and makeup categories. The inaugural brands selected for the initiative include UOMA Beauty, Elcie, ZOEVA and Love Wellness.
SPARKED enables emerging companies to showcase their products in a larger setting while also giving customers an opportunity to discover something they might not have otherwise considered. On top of highlighting new launches, Ulta also wants to use the platform to tell meaningful brand stories.
The four brands chosen for the program also will have access to Ulta team members for a mentorship and support. The brands will be highlighted on the SPARKED tab of Ulta’s web site, as well as in-store with a special display starting Sept. 22. The brands will keep their standard in-store displays as well, potentially increasing their exposure to new customers.
“Identifying what’s next in beauty and growing brands to their full potential is what Ulta Beauty is known for,” Tara Simon, Senior VP of Merchandising at Ulta Beauty, said in a statement. “We have long been the place for brands to grow, including emerging brands, which we introduce to a whole new guest population to ignite their success. Our guests have an insatiable desire to get it first and know Ulta Beauty is the place for new and exclusive products that you just can’t find anywhere else.”
The SPARKED launch is similar to that of top rival Sephora’s Next Big Thing. In July, Sephora launched a series of merchandising initiatives in stores to highlight digital-first, DTC brands, with an endcap space dedicated to new makeup brands. The top beauty brands aren’t the only major companies turning to independent DTC brands to make an impact on consumers: Kohl’s recently partnered with Facebook to launch its Curated by Kohl’s initiative, while Macy’s has implemented The Market @ Macy’s pop-up concepts across 12 locations.
Ulta will select new brands to join the program throughout the year, with the next SPARKED selection expected to be announced in December, followed by another in January.