Cindy Novotny

ulta beauty

Lessons From a Beauty Mega Brand!


Several years ago in my hometown of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA the new Ulta Beauty opened.  I had been in a few Ulta stores in the past to pick up some makeup or hair products but now that it was right in my neighborhood, I decided to go in and really check it out.  What started as a curious look around became an experience that made me one of their best customers for the past several years.  They were the reason I left my high end salon and now I get all my services for hair and facials at Ulta Beauty.

Ulta, (who started out as a sleepy discount brand) has now become a force to be reckoned with as a leading cosmetic retailer.  They have surpassed Sephora to become the nation’s largest beauty merchant, opening more than 200 new stores and expected to open 300 more in urban centers by 2019. 

As a business leader myself I was interested in their success which I attribute to the dynamic leadership of Mary Dillion, Ulta’s CEO.  She focused on the two most important aspects of running a successful business: the customer and the employee

We have been teaching and implementing that concept for years and it is quite simple; take care of the employee and they will take care of the guest or customer.  In fact, in my Ulta Salon,  they call us ‘guests.’

Keeping this culture alive is not easy when you are opening so many stores, but if your on-boarding and training process is solid, you will be successful. 

In addition to remarkable service, it is the engaging in-store experiences that keep me coming back for more.  While getting my hair colored I can browse around the store and try out samples, get my make-up done, learn how to use new tools such as the new Dyson Supersonic hair dryer and visit the Benefit Brow Bar.  I get bored very easile, and sitting in one spot while my color is processing is so boring to me.  At Ulta, I get an experience, not just a service. 

So ask yourself – how can this concept work in your business?