General Manager / Vice President Salon Operations ULTA Beauty, Phil Horvath
General Manager / Vice President Salon Operations ULTA Beauty, Phil Horvath

ULTA Beauty is a premier beauty destination for cosmetics, fragrance, skin, hair care products and salon services. “All Things Beauty, All in One Place™” is its tag line and the beauty and the places continue to thrive and grow. MODERN SALON asked Phil Horvath, general manager/vice president of Salon Operations at ULTA, to share an update on the forward movement taking place at ULTA.

MS: How’s business?

PH: Ulta Beauty had a great year in 2014 and just announced an excellent start to 2015, with better than expected sales and earnings growth in the first quarter. Total salon sales increased 20.5% from the first quarter of fiscal 2014 and comp sales increased 10.3%.

MS: How many ULTA locations are there across the US, today?

PH: Our first store opened in the suburbs of Chicago 25 years ago, and today, Ulta Beauty is the largest beauty retailer in the country with 800 stores across 47 states.  Our goal is to reach 1,200 stores by 2019. 

MS: How do you determine your brand mix offerings?

PH: As part of our quest to offer our guests all things beauty, all in one place, it is important for us to provide relevant, innovative and exclusive products that excite our guests. We continue to evolve our assortment by growing and evolving in all key categories- color, skin, fragrance, hair, nails and services. The services we offer are also a key component of our business, which is why we use Redken, CHI, Dermalogica and OPI products exclusively in our salons.

MS: Are your in-store experts/sales consultants coached to help convert store customers into THE SALON clients?  

PH: Yes, we promote, train and coach our salon professionals to support guests in selecting their product and service needs. We teach our associates to invite guests to experience a consultation in our salon. During the process, our salon professionals will identify the guest’s hair needs, and as a follow-up, recommend a service solution as well as a product solution to fit their regimen. Converting shoppers to loyal salon guests is one of our greatest opportunities.

MS: Your father was a hairdresser so you have unique insight into that profession.  What do you feel are the benefits to a stylist who joins the ULTA team?

PH: Ulta Beauty offers our stylists a proven formula for success through our career path process, which we call “Path to Abundance.” This program combines a strong focus on continuous technical training, education in business building and most importantly, a commitment to individual career development. Even as we grow we can never lose sight of helping each stylist earn a better living and so that they can live a better life! By doing so, we have established a culture that drives success and creates loyalty.

MS: How are stylists selected to join the Rodney Cutler list backstage at Fashion Week?

PH: Each season, it is the Ulta Beauty Artistic Team who works backstage with Rodney Cutler, Redken Expert/Celebrity Runway Stylist. The team creates fashion-forward hair trends for over 40 shows including Tadashi Shoji, Betsey Johnson and Zimmerman. 

MS: How does THE SALON Artistic Team reach/interact with your different salon locations and stylists?

PH: The Ulta Beauty Artistic Team is a group of top stylists from across the country that oversee all of the haircut, color and style collections for THE SALON at Ulta Beauty.  Taking inspiration from looks seen on the runways of New York Fashion Week, the Artistic Team creates Ulta Beauty’s trend collections each fall and spring. Once a seasonal collection has been created, Artistic Team members train Ulta Beauty’s 60 technical trainers on each of the looks.  In turn, our technical trainers conduct 80 cluster training sessions for over 4,000 stylists nationwide.

MS: How does someone become eligible to be on the “Elite Salon Professionals” list?

PH: Recognizing success is a key part of our culture at Ulta Beauty. Our Elite Salon Professionals are some of our most successful stylists who are consistently meeting and achieving their sales goals. When a stylist for THE SALON at Ulta Beauty has sales that reach $100,000 within a year, they become an Elite Salon Professional.  For those who go above and beyond $100,000 in sales, we have additional levels of Elite Salon Professionals:

$100k - $124,999k: Silver level

$125k - $149,999k: Gold level

$150k - $174,999k: Platinum level

$175k and above: Diamond level


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