The beauty industry is a crowded place⁠, but every once in a while, a brand comes along that reimagines how we think about our beauty and wellness routines. And now, thanks to the just-launched SPARKED at Ulta Beauty™ platform, there’s a place to discover the brands that are doing just that—and changing the future of beauty in the process. To celebrate the launch of SPARKED (which will be continually updated with exciting new finds), we asked the founders behind some of the inaugural brands how they’re building a beauty brand that’s changing the game. Today, we have the pleasure of introducing you to Sharon Chuter, the Nigerian-born entrepreneur committed to creating high-performance and inclusive beauty products. Her new line, UOMA Beauty, features a foundation that’s pushing the definition of inclusive beauty forward with 51 different shades and six different unique formulas. Read on for Sharon’s inspiring story—then click here to explore more.

What inspired you to start your own beauty brand? How did you find the courage to leap into entrepreneurship? Was there a white space you were trying to fill in the industry?

I told myself it was time to stop just witnessing some challenges in the beauty industry and do something about it. I strongly believe that “talk is cheap – be the change you want to see.” Many have complained throughout the years but very few are willing to risk everything to make an impact. This is what led me to create UOMA; a small thought that is now slowly but surely making strides in the beauty industry. At the end of the day, my goal is to make the world a better place than I found it – a place where women who look like me feel beautiful and have the courage to explore that from the outside in. Women feel beautiful when they are genuinely confident, and when that’s the case women are unstoppable.

Once you developed the idea for UOMA Beauty, what came next? Can you walk us through the process of bringing your brand to life?

The concept for UOMA Beauty began in early 2018 when we began formulating our foundation. We conducted shade testing that Fall with a panel of over 200 women, made tweaks based on that research and then launched this past Spring at Ulta Beauty. Landing on the shelf at Ulta Beauty was a case of right place at the right time. I had met their team at a conference, where I wouldn’t shut up about the lack of inclusivity in beauty. I guess that caught their attention because I was invited to present my concept to their team! I walked into their office, just me, a bag of UOMA Beauty products in lab form and a dream.

What are your top three favorite products from UOMA Beauty? And why?

This is a tough one. It’s like asking a parent to choose a favorite child. I genuinely love all our products and people don’t know this, but I originally had a much bigger product range developed and then had to condense, so I ended up bringing my favorite products to the market first. The complexion range, and specifically the foundation range, is definitely my standout product. The personalization and the finish of the Say What?! Foundation make it a combination of makeup and skincare. It literally made me go “Say What?!’—hence the name!

Did you ever dream of making it to shelves at Ulta Beauty? 

Yes, I did dream of my brand being sold at Ulta Beauty (I’m a dreamer) but I didn’t think it was actually going to happen, especially not at launch. It’s very rare for retailers to take on a brand new brand without any proof of concept, let alone placing it into stores straight away.

What does it take for a beauty brand to breakthrough in today’s fast-paced, constantly evolving beauty community? 

I think as a brand you have to find your own lane. The key question here in my view is: why do you exist? What solutions are you offering that other brands are not fulfilling? The beauty industry is a very crowded and saturated space, so you really need to know why you are here and what problem you are answering beyond making money.

Being a part of the inaugural collection introduced within the SPARKED at Ulta Beauty program is a huge milestone for any emerging beauty brand. How has this accomplishment changed things for UOMA Beauty?

Ulta Beauty has been such an incredible partner for us to gain awareness in the market. We were recently at BeautyCon with Ulta Beauty this past August, and it was amazing to have access to reach those audiences. At only three months in, that’s definitely something we would not have been able to do otherwise.

How do you ensure UOMA Beauty stands out from the rest? 

For us, we don’t really have to try too hard because we are authentically here to be a source of inspiration to all and a reminder that you are enough, and you are beautiful regardless of what others say. In doing so, we aim to inspire our fans to be authentic, different and unique. We are first and foremost a tribe of misfits and dreamers, and beauty is what comes next. 

What are the next steps for UOMA Beauty? Looking forward, are there any upcoming launches or initiatives that you’re excited about? 

Yes. We will continue to excite and delight our tribe. We are currently gearing up to launch our first new product since we launched the initial collection in April, and we are very excited to be bringing some more news to the market soon.

What are your top three favorite products from UOMA Beauty? And why? 

This is a tough one. It’s like asking a parent to choose a favorite child. I genuinely love all our products and people don’t know this, but I originally had a much bigger product range developed and then had to condense, so I ended up bringing my favorite products to the market first. The complexion range, and specifically the foundation range, is definitely my standout product. The personalization and the finish of the Say What?! Foundation make it a combination of makeup and skincare. It literally made me go “Say What?!’hence the name!

What is the one thing you really want beauty-lovers to know about your brand? 

I want beauty lovers to know that this is the future. Together, we are building a tribe that celebrates all. We are rewriting the rules to be for all of us, not just some of us, and in the process having the time of our lives creating the best quality products you can find. We bring luxury formulas and price them more affordably, redefining the meaning of luxury. I want everyone out there to know that ALL are welcome to join our beautiful tribe.

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