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Dive Brief:

  • Joining other retailers in seeking up-and-coming beauty brands, Walmart has selected five new beauty companies to participate in the first cohort of Walmart Start, a beauty accelerator program that provides participating brands the chance to launch their products at Walmart, according to an announcement emailed to Retail Dive.
  • The brands in the first class of Walmart Start participating companies are: the perfume brand Dossier, the skincare and wellness company Undefined Beauty, the nail brand PaintLab, the hair care brand Pardon My Fro and the customized hair care brand The Hair Lab By Strands. 
  • The Hair Lab plans to launch its hair analysis technology in Walmart stores, and Pardon My Fro Will introduce its first line of beauty products exclusively with Walmart, according to the company website.

Dive Insight:

In February, Walmart announced the Walmart Start accelerator program and sought applications from brands looking to participate between mid-February and early March. At that time, the retailer said it wanted brands within its first cohort to launch online and in-store between December 2022 and March 2023.

On its website, the retailer said it wanted brands with high growth potential, the ability to scale across 1,000 or more stores and the ability to captivate customers with their brand or product. As part of the accelerator program, participating companies receive one-on-one sessions with a brand management consultant, a series of virtual classes, an expert speaker series, support from Walmart Connect, inclusion in Walmart’s marketing campaigns and one-on-one sessions with a merchant mentor, according to Walmart’s website. The retailer also said on its site that it seeks hair, skin, cosmetics, nails, fragrance and beauty accessory brands for the program, but it would only accept brands that are not currently or haven’t previously been featured in stores.

“Walmart Start focuses on finding the next big names in beauty,” the company said. “Each founder was motivated to start their brand and business to fill a gap in the market, either in innovations or price accessibility, which aligns with the Walmart Beauty strategy and resonates with the Walmart customer.” 

With the launch of Walmart Start, the retail giant follows in the footsteps of other major retailers and beauty retailers in seeking emerging beauty brands. In August 2020, Sally Beauty teamed up with CosmoProf to lead the second iteration of Cultivate, a beauty accelerator supporting women-owned brands. In June, Ulta Beauty began accepting applications for its Muse Accelerator, which caters to BIPOC beauty brands. Meanwhile, in March, Target held the sixth cohort of its Target Takeoff program, which also provides mentorship and a customized curriculum for beauty brands.

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