MacArthur Beauty Acquires Uoma Beauty’s Intellectual Property

20 December 2023

Uoma Beauty, known for its inclusive product range, faces uncertainty as MacArthur Beauty takes over.

In a surprising turn of events, MacArthur Beauty LLC has acquired the intellectual property of Uoma Beauty, a brand founded in 2019 by Sharon Chuter. Uoma Beauty gained popularity for its commitment to inclusivity and its Say What?! Foundation, which offered 51 shades. However, the brand has faced challenges in recent months, with Chuter’s departure and a decline in activity. The acquisition by MacArthur Beauty raises questions about the brand’s future and the impact on its loyal customer base.

A Trailblazer in Inclusivity

Uoma Beauty made waves in the beauty industry for its dedication to inclusivity. Founded by Sharon Chuter, the brand placed diversity at the forefront of its product development and messaging. The Say What?! Foundation, with its extensive shade range, resonated with consumers seeking inclusive beauty options. Chuter’s efforts also extended beyond the brand, as she initiated the Pull Up For Change movement in 2020, urging beauty companies to disclose the percentage of employees who are people of color and Black.

A Decline in Activity and Uncertain Future

Despite its initial success, Uoma Beauty has experienced a decline in activity in recent months. Chuter’s unexpected departure in May left the brand without its visionary leader. The brand’s social media presence has dwindled, with its last Instagram post dating back to August. Retailers such as Walmart and Harvey Nichols have discounted Uoma Beauty products, indicating a lack of demand. Customers have taken to social media to express frustration over unfulfilled orders, while emails sent to the brand’s press account have gone unanswered.

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In a subsequent email to The Business of Beauty, Chuter expressed her intention to challenge the sale, claiming she was unaware of it until after its completion. She described the situation as a sobering reminder of the challenges faced by founders in dealing with investors and the subsequent decline in innovation.

MacArthur Beauty’s Entry into the Beauty Industry

MacArthur Beauty, an offshoot of The MacArthur Companies, has primarily focused on deals in the cannabis, real estate, and pharmaceutical sectors. The acquisition of Uoma Beauty marks the company’s first foray into the beauty industry. While BrainTrust, co-founded by Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, will remain an investor, other partners, including Unilever Ventures, will no longer be involved.

In a joint interview, Todd Boren, managing partner at The MacArthur Companies, and Kendra Bracken-Ferguson expressed their belief in the potential of Uoma Beauty. Boren stated that Uoma Beauty achieved $15 million in sales in 2022. The immediate priority for MacArthur Beauty is to stabilize inventory, fulfill outstanding orders, and regain the trust of retailers and customers.

Rebuilding Trust and Charting a New Path

MacArthur Beauty is committed to rebuilding trust with customers and ensuring that all outstanding orders are fulfilled. Tony Bash, MacArthur’s general partner, emphasized that no one will be left high and dry, and efforts will be made to compensate customers and warehouses that are owed money by Uoma Beauty. Staffing will also be a priority, as the previous team has largely departed. MacArthur Beauty plans to appoint a new chief executive and chief operating officer in the near future.

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Regarding the future of the brand, Boren stated that Uoma by Sharon C., the lower-priced diffusion line exclusive to Walmart, is unlikely to continue due to its similarity to Uoma Beauty’s core offerings. MacArthur Beauty envisions long-term growth for the brand, with plans to expand into new categories such as haircare.

Bracken-Ferguson expressed her commitment to preserving Uoma Beauty as an important Black-founded business. She believes that MacArthur Beauty’s team can take the brand to the next level and fulfill its vision.

Conclusion: The acquisition of Uoma Beauty’s intellectual property by MacArthur Beauty raises both excitement and concerns about the brand’s future. While Uoma Beauty made significant strides in promoting inclusivity in the beauty industry, recent challenges have cast a shadow over its success. MacArthur Beauty’s entry into the beauty sector presents an opportunity for revival and growth, but the brand must regain the trust of customers and retailers. The fate of Uoma by Sharon C. and the appointment of new leadership will shape the brand’s trajectory. The story serves as a reminder of the complexities founders face when dealing with investors and the potential impact on innovation. As the beauty industry continues to evolve, the resilience and adaptability of brands like Uoma Beauty will determine their long-term success.

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