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7 Oct

Ulta Beauty’s Michelle Crossan-Matos Talks Wellness, Joy – WWD

Ulta Beauty’s Michelle Crossan-Matos Talks Wellness, Joy – WWD

Ulta Beauty’s wellness assortment isn’t just doing well — it’s convalescing.

“We make wellness accessible and we democratize it. We’re in all 50 states across the country, we serve each beauty enthusiast on the market,” said Michelle Crossan-Matos, the retailer’s chief marketing officer, in conversation with Jenny B. Fantastic, executive editor, beauty, WWD and Beauty Inc. “Our mission is to take the guesswork out of wellness and to assist people understand their very own wellness journey.”

Crossan-Matos outlined the retailer’s game plan for tackling wellness needs, which starts with the buyer. “The business is booming, the expansion has been incredible — hence why we keep expanding,” she said.

“We take cues from the communities we serve. We see how they need this to be far more of an inclusive conversation, they wish to see the products in stores, they need education in how you can enjoy these products,” Crossan-Matos continued.

Ulta Beauty’s wellness shop includes all the pieces from complement brands like Moon Juice and Lemme to what the retailer has dubbed “down-there care,” which incorporates tampons and period pain relief devices.

As for which categories Crossan-Matos sees probably the most opportunity in, the considerations are also generational. The needs of a menopausal shopper, for instance, differ greatly from someone who’s going through puberty, for instance. “It depends upon the community you’re serving,” she said. “The attractive thing about wellness is the intersectionality of generations of beauty enthusiasts. Principally, anyone who cares about their health or well-being is in that space.”

Ulta has also made efforts to create positive and inclusive conversations around traditionally taboo wellness topics. “Intimate wellness, sexual health — that’s a core experience,” Crossan-Matos said. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

To further those efforts, Ulta recently inaugurated The Joy Project, a partnership with Mel Robbins and the impetus for a study amongst 5,000 teens and adults on how they experience joy. As reported, 73 percent of respondents experience negative self-talk, while 70 percent don’t recognize it as such. Ninety-one percent see it as a key hurdle in experiencing joy.

“The statistics are alarming,” Crossan-Matos said, noting that the project was born out of an ongoing dialogue with store associates on what they see amongst consumers. “They feel like they’re the therapists to our guests, and so they wish to help them.”

Crossan-Matos also had parting words of wisdom to brands hoping to enter Ulta Beauty’s wellness shelves. “Understand who’s the fastest-growing market, chances are you’ll not want the fastest growing marketplace for now, chances are you’ll wish to go area of interest. But search for that market growth, search for unmet needs, not only today but in the long run,” she said.

“That’s what the buyer tech industry does rather well. They don’t just have a look at today, they appear in five years, and design in five years. Then, be certain your assortment has an emotional and a technological innovation point of difference so which you can serve that community in a way that other brands do today,” she continued.

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