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CEW Newsmaker Forum Presented Ulta’s Chuck Rubin

Jill Scalamandre, chairwoman, CEW, and CMO, Chrysallis, with guest, Chuck Rubin, president and CEO, Ulta Beauty.

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: February 17, 2012

Carlotta Jacobson, president of CEW, promised Chuck Rubin, president and CEO, Ulta Beauty, a full house, and she delivered on that promise. CEW members packed the Harmonie House in New York City on February 16, for the organization’s latest Newsmaker Forum, which provided an inside look at the strategies and successes of Ulta Beauty.

A Successful Business Model

Rubin, originally from Boston and currently living in Chicago, has been busy remodeling the Ulta business. Following executive positions at Office Depot and Accenture, he assumed his current position two years ago, and reached double-digit growth for the business while overseeing 20,000 prestige and mass product offerings in 452 stores across the United States—and he plans to reach 1,000 stores.

The Ulta concept allows customers to play with products, from makeup to hair appliances, and includes a loyalty program that is 8.5 million customers strong. Known for thinking big in the beauty business, Rubin said, “As a public company, we honor our customers.” 

Combining mass, prestige and salon together under one roof challenges convention, however, the foundation of the company, according to Rubin, is customer focused, which accounts for the diverse product and service offerings. “We are very focused on the customer looking for something unique. A woman can find a broad offering to make her feel good about herself with an array of products and services at Ulta,” said Rubin. “We started first and foremost as a company that caters to women who can cross shop across the store. When you put the products and services together, it really gives the woman what we believe she really wants. From Chanel to Maybelline, we are providing this experience for her.”

Rubin elaborated, “ I actually spent the first 12 years of my career in Boston at Jordan Marsh, and I bought prestige cosmetic brands. These are channels that are very distinct, but we believe it is important to focus on all things beauty and provide an assortment of beauty products that women want, and at the same time also allow her to enjoy herself in a space that is truly unique in retail.”