Elena Weckerle, Senior Brand Manager, Ulta Beauty

The July 13, 2020, issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® features the 21st annual Impact Merchants special report. Housewares suppliers, representing the categories that HomeWorld covers, once again were asked to nominate buyers and merchandisers believed to have made a significant impact during the past year.

The selection of the Impact Merchant winners is not intended as a definitive list of the best merchants in housewares retailing. Votes went to several more merchandisers than those featured. This year’s honorees represent buyers in given categories that received the majority of votes by vendors polled.

Voters were asked to give added weight to merchandising creativity, trend and marketing astuteness, attention to detail, openness to risk, flexibility, relationship building and the ability to deliver a profitable program for both the vendors and retailer while providing value to consumers. One thing this year’s Impact Merchants share is a vote of respect by their vendors. In today’s unpredictable retail environment, that vote really counts.

Elena Weckerle, Senior Brand Manager, Ulta Beauty

Ulta Beauty is making the world a prettier place, and a driving force in the personal care appliance business is senior brand manager Elena Weckerle.

Although Weckerle has been in her position for less than two years, industry executives said she is a forward-thinking leader and a masterful marketer who, “communicates effectively and frequently with vendors.”

Weckerle noted, “To me, communication is critical for professional success. In this year, it’s proven to be that much more important. As we navigate COVID-19, my team and I continue to lean into our established vendor relationships and the open communications we have in place. We’ve always valued these partnerships and regularly communicate with them so additional touchpoints during this time were welcome. Keeping lines open and updates transparent have proven successful for years and we will never sway from that core value at Ulta Beauty. This year, we’ve reinforced the strength of these relationships and also opened new lines to work together and collectively find creative solutions that work for all.”

Weckerle brings a diverse background in marketing and brand management, including stints with Blistex, Bosch, Land O’Lakes and Kraft. She began her career in advertising, working with companies like Home Depot and S.C. Johnson.

One of the largest beauty retailers, Ulta carries 500-plus brands. “It’s one of the few beauty retailers to sell both mass-market and prestige products in one place, a tremendous differentiator,” said a supplier. “Newness is a big focus.”

Weckerle is responsible for a respected private label line. “At Ulta Beauty, we keep our guests at the center of all we do,” Weckerle asserted. “This rings true in my work as my team and I create products for the Ulta Beauty Collection. We spend a lot of time thinking about user experience— everything from packaging, to directions, to actual product use— always keeping the guest needs and wants top-of-mind, knowing we want to make products our guests will love and enjoy day after day.”

“She drives one of the largest planograms in the personal care appliance category,” noted one supplier. “She has increased the department size and put Ulta on the leading edge of technology.” —Donna Boyle Schwartz

2020 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):

Jay Cunningham, T.J. Maxx/Marshalls

Adam Gregory, Target

Karen Rapier, Walmart

Elena Weckerle, Ulta Beauty

Ryan Yarnell, Meijer

Deb Danielson, Target

Sarah Dipietro, Macy’s

Jeff Branz, Wayfair

Taylor Martinez, Costco

Rachel Tsupros, Wayfair

Korey Reed, Walmart

Susette Johnson, AAFES

Becky Blake, Walmart

Gretchen Dexter, Everything Kitchens

David LeClair, Staples