Sally Beauty launches a business competition for hair brands founded by women

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Sally Beauty launches a business competition for hair brands founded by women
This week, Sally Beauty began accepting applications for its new Cultivate program, an initiative meant to support women’s entrepreneurship in the hair care industry and bring innovative new products to the company’s customers. But unlike similar industry programs, only one brand will be selected to receive support—cash, online distribution, and more—from Sally Beauty.

Sally Beauty Cultivate is about entrepreneurship and ideas; the retailer / distributor believes that many of the new, next, and best hair product ideas are already circulating in local spaces. The Cultivate program is a chance for the company to discover those innovations en mass.

“We believe there is so much hair care innovation happening every day in women's homes, salons, and communities, and we want to encourage that innovation to thrive and grow,” ​Jamira Johnson, vice president of digital and innovation at Sally Beauty, says in a media release.

“Sally Beauty has a long history of collaborating with women entrepreneurs to help launch their brands in our stores and online,”​ explains Johnson. “We're excited to identify the next wave of women entrepreneurs and help support them through the Sally Beauty Cultivate program.”

The details

“We are thrilled to launch the Sally Beauty Cultivate program,”​ affirms Carrie McDermott, president of Sally Beauty, in the media release.  “We continue to be inspired by all of the terrific women entrepreneurs we have met over the years and believe in supporting women who are developing products to make her best accessory, her hair, even better.”

Sally Beauty Cultivate opened for applications Monday, June 18, 2018, and the application period will close on July 18.

The brand selected as this year’s winner will receive $25,000 cash, product distribution on, mentorship, and the opportunity to participate in one of Sally Beauty’s influencer events.

Learn more about Sally Beauty Cultivate here​.

The context

Cosmetics and personal care retailers, brands, and corporations have been running these sorts of competitions and incubator programs for several years now as a way to engage with women-led startup and independent brands.

Sephora, for instance, is in the third year of its Accelerate program. This year, 13 entrepreneurs were selected to participate. Read more about that initiative here​ on Cosmetics Design. While, Huda Beauty created HB Investments​ to help support new beauty businesses with both money and mentoring.  

And this trend is spreading throughout the industry with ingredient suppliers stepping in to nurture indie brands​, even investing in them as Symrise did with Phlur​.

Regional programs that aren’t dedicated to any particular industry are regularly involving women-led beauty business​ too.



Deanna Utroske, Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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