Ulta Beauty laid off employees at its corporate headquarters and among its field management team yesterday as it works to reshape itself amid the ongoing pandemic. Spokeswoman Eileen Ziesemer declined to comment on the number of employees that were laid off but confirmed their last day was Jan. 12.
“While incredibly difficult, these decisions were made thoughtfully with a focus on resetting our corporate cost structure to operate more effectively and efficiently in the short-term as well as optimizing our enterprise capabilities to thrive in the long-term,” Ziesemer said in an email. “The associates leaving Ulta Beauty were of course treated with respect, compassion and support.” The layoffs hit roles across all corporate functions of the Chicago-area-based beauty chain, Ziesemer said.
It also eliminated open roles and reorganized some teams. She said the move expanded certain positions and “introduced a small number” of roles in investment areas. Like many retailers, Ulta has faced struggles during the pandemic. It closed its stores for seven or eight weeks during the shutdowns last spring, closed 19 stores permanently in the third quarter, and has eliminated jobs.
Makeup in particular has been a tricky category during the pandemic. Without excuses to leave the house, many have forgone wearing makeup for months. There are some bright spots, such as above-the-mask eye makeup, and pampering items, such as candles and bath products, executives said on Ulta’s earnings call last month. The shutdowns also drove traffic online. Ulta has 1,262 stores in the U.S., Ziesemer says. The company was founded in 1990. The company most recently reported its employment count before the pandemic. As of last February, Ulta employed about 18,000 full-time and 26,000 part-time workers, according to a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission from last March. Ziesemer said the total number of corporate associates laid off yesterday was a “meaningful, but relatively small number of our total associates.”
Two months ago I applied to a position at ULTA to see how the company is organized and how it treats its employees. And when I say employees I mean Hairdressers. A position was offered to me as a hairdresser from the company. And I accepted the offer and did not know how much I was to be offered, but assuming in the beauty industry it would be a low commission. I started the first week in April as a hairdresser. ULTA provides all the tools a hairdresser needs without including shears. Shears are a personnel choice of all hairdressers. All the tools used where given to all to use since the company sells these name brand tools. You can provide what you want as long as the tools are what is being sold in the store for retail purchases to consumers. A lot of video training is provided to the stylist and a lot is expected of the stylist. Such as how to greet customers and direct them to the proper aisle to find there product they are shopping for. Mind you if you have a client in your chair you are to politely leave your client to help the consumer in the store to find there hair care needs and answer questions to them. Also if you have a client in your chair you are to politely leave your client to answer the phone and make appointments. Which I feel professionally that is not good, especially if they are a new or returning client. There are no receptionists in the salon, but there are plenty of sales people in the store to help you with makeup and “RING UP” YOUR PURCHASES.
On my second week at the salon a employee who I worked next to had to go ahead a pick up there child at school because she was sick. A makeup appointment was then moved from her schedule to mine. I have been doing makeup for about 10 years so I thought to myself no big deal. But when the client came in she had a appointment with a stylist who also does makeup and had a full consultation on what would be used and types of color for her private. She informed me that she wanted the stylist who she originally talked to at the consultation and not me. I tried to calm her down but to no avails she did not need my services and wanted to know why the stylist she talked to was not there. I had no information for her and she then turned around and walked away. Tried to do my best I told myself. Also to let you know I had a customer in my chair while attending to this client also. So for ten minutes I had to take away from the paying customer.
She walked away and moved over to the makeup counters and soon got her service completed from a sales attendant for her function. I went back to her and gave her a managers card and asked her to call the manager if she needed to speak to someone. I also went to a store manager to explain the situation to her from my side. All seemed well. No information from my manager was given to me about the consultation she initially had, and no information on makeup color choices. NOTHING. If YOU ARE GOING TO MOVE A CLIENT FROM ONE STYLIST TO ANOTHER GIVE THEM THE CLIENT INFORMATION FROM THERE CONSULTATION. So things will run smoothly. Photo’s also help from the consultation. Later that evening when I was leaving for home another store manager came to me asking what had happened. I thought to myself who is this person nor did I know she was a store manager. Thinking to myself she must be looking for gossip I said it was none of her business. She came to me and said the other employees said I was very rude to her and would not accommodate her. That is when I noticed to myself there are a lot of chiefs here than employee’s. I respectfully denied to answer her comments and the following day told my manager the whole situation. Nothing was ever done on the situation. Yes the salon manager had there favorites in the salon as per the industry. So you where at times pretty much left alone in the salon to clean and make appointments and play receptionist. You were not allowed to sit in your salon chair and had to sit in the back if you needed to get off your feet. Everything had to be in clear plastic bags so they could inspect when you came and also when you left the salon. I was told the meaning for the tight security of personal effects was there was a employee who would place makeup in there sandwich and leave with it. That person was using that technique to steal. I had once told a sales person on the floor she had lovely makeup and she could not even understand English. She latter told my salon manager that I was making fun of her makeup and that I would be written up. If something again came up. This is after 3 weeks mind you.
There were a few nice people to work with in the salon and you also had your “QUEEN’S” there also. I refer the them as “QUEEN’S” because there are the one’s who will smile in your face and then take all the clients that walk in. When you take a break or leave the store during or after your shift you must go to the front of the store and empty your pockets and be searched by a manager on duty to make sure you are not stealing. And it doesn’t matter if the store is busy it will be done in front of the customers. The search’s were done in front of a camera in the front of the store .Very, very embarrassing. That tells you something about the business. I was hired as a hairdresser which meant to mean the had a position to fill in the salon. I brought some of my own clients to the salon which kept me busy for a short time but as time went on there was less and less business. I was told it would get slower because of the season. The store itself was only open for a 10 month period and not yet a year. I was told to upscale my tickets as much as possible and seen some stylists charge as much as $250.00 for a simple foil highlight. I was also told to go outside the store and bring in clients or customers. Even if that meant to stand in front of “TARGET” and give out salon business cards. To me that told me everything. They did not have the business and wanted “YOU” a professional to go out and pretty much beg people to come in for serviced. If a customer was walking around in the store especially in the hair product department, I was to help them find what they wanted but also at the same time “TALK” them in a conditioning treatment. Saying the product they were looking for was not as good as what the salon uses. Which was untrue we used the same products from the floor in the salon. SNEAKY!
After being asked to give out business cards in front of “TARGET” I knew this was not the place to build a clientele. That pretty much told me they were deceitful from the start and lied about the position they had for me. They had no business at all. And wanted me to beg for business. This is a old technique in the beauty industry to place on a professional and ask them, ‘Well how are you going to build a clientele, Joseph”. I told them by my work I will build a clientele. ULTA is a large corporation that can afford to advertise for there stores. But would rather go the cheap way of using the employees to do all the clientele building. If you have no business in the salon why would they hire me. FREE LABOR!
I get paid to do hair, hair coloring, makeup etc. Not to go out and beg and lie to people to come into the salon. If you don’t have the business don’t waste peoples time. All in all if you are looking for a career in the beauty industry, I would highly recommend not going to ULTA, for any employment. Professionals spend a lot of time in there craft and need to be respected, but in this day and age corporate business have prostituted the beauty industry.
A new lawsuit filed in Chicago last week alleges that beauty giant Ulta has been repackaging and reselling used makeup to its unsuspecting customers for years.
Attorney Zimmerman represents Meghan Devries, a Chicago woman who works in the beauty industry. She became suspicious about some of the products she purchased from Ulta. A woman claiming to be a former Ulta employee first brought the allegations to light in early January. Posting under the Twitter handle @fatinamxo, she wrote that whenever a customer returned a product, employees were instructed by Ulta to repackage or reseal the item and put it back on the shelf for sale. This practice, she said, included everything from makeup to hair and skin-care products, fragrances and hair styling tools.
She said that makeup palettes, for example, were cleaned up so that they looked new and returned to the shelf for reselling, unsanitized. She then shared screenshots of other Ulta employees making the same claims. Those tweets were cited in the class action complaint (pdf) Zimmerman filed in Cook County, Ill., last week. The suit also cites the claims of former employees that Ulta has a limit on how many returned items can be thrown away. “Managers will take used products out of a damaged bin, and if they look good enough to resell, they’ll put them back on the shelves and resell them so they don’t exceed their quota,” Zimmerman told ABC7.
He said that some of the products purchased from an Ulta store on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago seemed to have been previously used, including eye shadows missing a brush and face cleansers that were already open. Those products, he said, could have pathogens on them that remain for weeks. “There is E. coli and Klebsiella bacteria, which is commonly found in intestine and expelled with fecal matter,” Zimmerman said. Zimmerman told ABC7 that the goal of his lawsuit is to change the alleged company practice that limits the number of items that can be thrown away, as well as to provide compensation for customers who may have bought used products.
In our second annual report card on toxic chemicals in consumer products, the Mind the Store Campaign found that one-third of 30 major U.S. retailers are leaders, but two-thirds are seriously lagging behind. Find out how the stores where you shop are (or are not) tackling toxic chemicals in everyday products. Click on any of the logos below to learn more about each company, read our report, and raise your voice as a consumer!
Ulta Beauty earned a grade of D-, scoring 18.5 out of 135 possible points, ranking it 20th out of 30 retailers evaluated. Ulta Beauty has started taking some actions to address toxic chemicals in the products it sells, but still has much room for improvement. The company earned points for making efforts in recent years to require the suppliers of its private label products to eliminate chemicals of high concern identified in a private list that goes beyond legal requirements as new products are added and existing products reformulated. This list includes prohibitions on parabens, formaldehyde releasing preservatives, BHA & BHT, alkylphenol ethoxylates, and toluene and xylene in nail products. Unfortunately, Ulta has made little of this information public, only sharing limited, non-quantified information with us for the purposes of this report. While it labels its reformulated products as “free from” specific chemicals, this information is not readily searchable on its website or displayed in store, making it difficult for consumers to identify safer products. Ulta does not appear to be taking action with suppliers outside of those producing its private label brands.
Opportunities for improvement: Ulta can make progress by making more information publicly available, setting public and quantifiable goals with clear timelines for reducing and eliminating chemicals of high concern, and starting to work with suppliers other than those of its private label goods to reduce chemicals of high concern. Ulta should also become a signatory to the Chemical Footprint Project and pilot it with key private label suppliers. Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration already requires disclosure of ingredients on cosmetic products, Ulta should go beyond compliance with this requirement by working to disclose the ingredients in fragrances and close other loopholes in the mandatory labeling requirements to demonstrate a greater commitment to transparency.
When we buy products that we put on our skin, faces and hair, we rightfully expect that they are free of toxic chemicals that increase our risk of breast cancer or reproductive health problems. But think again.
A recent report card from our partners at Mind the Store shows that retailers Sally Beauty, Ulta Beauty, and Sephora, are failing to address cancer-causing chemicals in the cosmetic and personal care products they sell. Take action to clean up the beauty aisle!
Companies can and should make safer products, sell safer products, and make ingredient transparency a priority. Following pressure from consumers like you, companies like Target, Walmart, CVS Health, and Costco announced policies to get toxic chemicals off their store shelves last year.
As more and more families are devastated by a cancer diagnosis, it’s more important than ever to focus on prevention. That’s why we believe – and think you do too – that chemicals that can cause cancer have no place in the products we use to clean and care for our bodies.