WWD took a truly fascinating, in-depth look at Ulta today, delving into what makes the beauty stores so successful and looking into the future of the brand (they’re reaching toward the goal of going from 797 locations to 1,200 stores). Here are just a few of the takeaways we never knew about the beauty juggernaut.


—Erwin Winkler, vice president of creative services, thinks of the store setup as similar to a medieval church, explaining, “You have the high altar that draws you to the back. You have two aisles, instead of one main aisle, that take you to the back, and you have chapels on the sides.”

—The layout is planned to go from “beauty wants” (e.g., makeup) to beauty needs (like styling tools and hair care) toward the back.

—Seven years ago, displays were changed from holes for each item, to three-inch shelf strips that provide space for information about the products.

—The displays are copied from prestige stores, meaning they have four shelves instead of five, as well as lighting within the shelves to make things glow.

—And, finally, the displays are 11 inches off the ground (as opposed to four inches), because, as Winkler explains, “It’s at a height that’s more accessible,” Winkler said. “I always do the butt test. What woman in the world wants to shop with her butt out.”

Yes, makeup-butt-shopping. We’re not sure what that is, but we do assume it’s something else we can blame the Kardashians for.