Each year, Ulta Beauty searches the country for the crème de la crème to join its famed Design Team. Haley Kimble, senior manager, Design Team, gives us the scoop on the audition process, how stylists can get apply and what it takes to make the cut.
Tell us a bit about this year's audition!
In late summer of 2019, we launched the next round of applications for the Design Team. For the first time this year, we opened auditions to external candidates, and we saw a really positive response to that.
How do stylists apply?
Applicants are required to submit a video demonstrating their skill set and talking a bit about themselves, as well as include letters of recommendation. It's about letting us see a little more about you and what you can bring to the table as a stylist.
Once you selected the finalists, what was the next step?
After finalists were selected, we flew them to our headquarters in Chicago for the three-day live audition, where we evaluated their technical performance and immersed them in the media and onstage speaking aspects of the job. On the last day, finalists got to have a private live audition with myself, SVP of Salon Services & Trend Nick Stenson, Chief Artistic Director Ammon Carver and the rest of the Ulta Beauty Pro Team. Once we selected the new members, we brought them in for a training and started that team-building to strengthen us for shows and other happenings that go on throughout the year.
What does the live audition entail?
Within 10 minutes, stylists are expected to introduce themselves and, using a mannequin, walk through a technique they had learned from one of our Pro Team members on their first day of auditions. They teach and show us what they’ve got as far as working onstage. We also love to see them share what drives them and what makes them a special addition to the team.
How does Ulta Beauty build its team differently from other beauty companies?
We’re a brand that's about the people, and we celebrate as a team. One of our mottos is "Win together." We’re not looking at who has the most followers or who has the most impact; we’re really looking at what they bring and how they’re going to help motivate and guide others.
Do you aim to diversify the new team in terms of specialty?
We’re always looking to fulfill that need for diversity and making sure that we have someone on the team who is the master and star in one area. In knowing that we have a team full of people who shine in a variety of areas, we know they will support each other beautifully with their culmination of strengths.
What are the top benefits of being on the Design Team?
As someone who was a Design Team member for many years, number-one is the culture. You are surrounded by likeminded people who are equally motivated and equally passionate about this wonderful industry that we get to work in. Hands-down that’s the best part. Also, you’re challenged, like with media opportunities and presenting onstage. And you get to work with pros from the industry. Ulta Beauty is partnered with the Pro Team, which includes stylists from different brands who are really masters of their craft. Design Team members get to work alongside them, and gather little bits of knowledge. I could go on!
How can stylists get involved for the next round of Design Team auditions?
Keep an eye on our website, where we’re always posting to the careers page. And keep your eye on our Pro Team and Design Team on social media. Our Design Team members are not wall trophies—they’re stylists in the salon, and being a member of the Design Team means that you’re doing great things behind the chair. If you don’t work at Ulta Beauty already, I'd recommend building a partnership by going into your local store and making a connection with the people who work there, letting them know your interest for your future. If a spot opens, they will probably give you a call about it.
What are your tips for stylists who plan to audition in the future?
Read the rules, read the guidelines and make sure you really know what’s being requested before you even start to apply. Be ready to tell us not only great technical points, but about your journey and how that can be relatable to other stylists and help move them along in their careers. It’s not all about being a great hairstylist; it’s about being an inspiring individual and teammate.