Ulta Beauty is partnering with Curlbox, a subscription box offering for people with curly and coily hair.
With the partnership, Ulta will work with Curlbox to curate three multibrand boxes to be sold on the Curlbox site, starting May 7. The first box, which will cost $30, will include six products from Black-owned or Black-founded brands, including Tracee Ellis Ross’ Pattern and The Mane Choice.
The specific products are being kept under wraps, because for the Curlbox customer, surprise is a key element in the equation, said company founder Myleik Teele.
“Everybody thinks they know what works for their hair, and if you tell them, they are less apt to try,” said Teele. “We’ve all walked past something that’s like, ‘oh no, that won’t work for me,’ and then you try it and it works.”
Teele started Curlbox 10 years ago after attending the Natural Hair Show and seeing how many women had traveled there in search of hair products that met their needs. “And I thought to myself, ‘if women are making a pilgrimage, there’s more of us that feel this way,’” Teele said. So, she started a box offering that caters to people with curl types 3 and 4. Today, Curlbox has a 143,000-person-long waiting list to subscribe, Teele said.
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“Every woman should be able to walk into a store, grocery store, drugstore, beauty store, and find something for her, be it makeup, be it hair care products. And I know as a Black woman, it’s a task,” she said. “For me, it’s just helping bridge the gap between brands and consumer, but personally, it’s about bringing fun and beauty and ease to Black women’s hair.”
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For Ulta, collaborating with Curlbox is part of the retailer’s strategy to better serve customers with textured hair, said Jessica Phillips Perez, vice president of merchandising at Ulta.
“Several leaders within Ulta have been huge fans [of Curlbox] for many years,” Perez said.
Brands that are sold at Ulta will be included in the boxes, and Ulta will help amplify marketing to drive consumers to the Curlbox website, Perez said. Another box is planned for the fall, and the third will launch for the holiday season, Perez said.
The partnership is meant to allow Ulta to get products in front of potentially new customers and add an element of sampling. Ulta’s curly-haired shoppers “are always seeking new, more, better,” Perez said.
The Curlbox partnership comes after Ulta announced that it would appoint Ross as diversity and inclusion adviser, and work to better support Black-owned beauty brands.
Perez said Ulta is taking more steps to be able to serve customers with curly and coily hair, including adding different products to the back bar in the hair salons and providing texture education to stylists.
“Beauty schools don’t teach texture as a regular part of the curriculum — stylists have to go seek out that education. So we kicked off last fall with training modules, virtually to start, that includes 10 specific texture trainings,” Perez said. “In two weeks, we’re launching the second group of trainings.”
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