Ulta Beauty unveils The Joy Project initiative

The Joy Project includes an associate training curriculum that aims to positively transform how Ulta Beauty associates think about themselves and empower guests to do the same.
Gisselle Gaitan
Online Editor
ulta beauty the joy project
ulta beauty the joy project

Ulta Beauty’s new long-term initiative—The Joy Project—aims to help beauty enthusiasts and consumers at large find, embrace and experience joy.

In partnership with author, motivational speaker and podcast host Mel Robbins, the beauty retailer is working toward combating what research found to be the No. 1 obstacle to experiencing joythe inner critic.

“It’s stunning that the research shows that negative self-talk is the biggest obstacle to experiencing joy, yet the majority of us don’t even realize how much we engage in it. I’m proud to work with Ulta Beauty and The Joy Project to address this head on. Knowing Ulta Beauty’s associates hear this self-criticism from their guests every day, Ulta Beauty and I are giving them the tools to help their guests silence the inner critic and experience more joy,” said Robbins. “There are so many brands and companies publicly discussing well-being, but few are activating in such a meaningful way. I’m honored to work with Ulta Beauty, creating custom trainings that will empower those associates to silence that inner critic and coach guests to do the same all with a mission to inspire a national conversation to spread more joy.”

[Read more: Urban Skin Rx’s founder, CEO stepping down]

Beginning with an associate training curriculum created by Robbins, the initiative looks to positively transform the way Ulta Beauty’s 53,000 associates think about themselves and empower guests to do the same.

“At Ulta Beauty, we strive every day to use the power of beauty to bring to life the possibilities that lie within each of us, and joy is a feeling we want everyone to experience when walking through our stores,” said Michelle Crossan-Matos, chief marketing officer at Ulta Beauty. “The reality is, there’s a joy deficit in our country, which if left untreated, will only continue to hold people back from living the lives they’ve always wanted. As industry leaders, who care deeply about how people experience beauty and show up in the world, we believe it’s our responsibility to help change this. By taking an inside out approach, in helping our associates unlock their own barriers to joy, and using our platforms to positively influence the communities we serve, we know we can ignite a movement that will help people everywhere live more authentic, and joyful lives.”

After listening to feedback from associates who regularly witness guests struggle with negative self-talk, Ulta Beauty was inspired to understand how the inner critic could be affecting people’s ability to experience joy and overall well-being. The Joy Study examined a sample of how 5,000 national adults and teens experience joy and the common barriers to experiencing it on a daily basis. The research found that 73% of those surveyed experience negative self-talk, 70% experiencing it don’t recognize negative self-talk when they’re actively doing it, and 91% identify negative self-talk as a primary obstacle in their ability to experience joy, the company said.

Other key findings from The Joy Study include:

  • Many people feel there is a gap between their current vs. desired level of joy. 85% of people wish they felt a high level of joy in their lives, but only 58% of people report feeling that way;
  • A majority of people report negative self-talk as a key obstacle that hinders their access to joy. 91% of people (93% of teens) rate the effect of negative self-talk on their ability to experience joy to be impactful;
  • Despite how prevalent negative self-talk is, many don’t even recognize they’re actively doing it. 67% of people say that their negative self-talk is so common and natural, they don’t even recognize when they’re actively doing it. Young people are the most unaware, with 74% of Gen Z not realizing when they’re engaging in negative self-talk;
  • The areas individuals say negative self-talk tends to arise from include physical well-being and appearance (82%), body image (79%), and questioning their own worthiness of success, achievement or personal validation (76%); and
  • Gen Z is the least equipped to overcome their negative self-talk. 65% report feeling they lack the tools, relationships, or resources to recover from challenges and maintain joy, compared to 54% of the general population.

[Read more: Ulta Beauty kicks off 2023’s Muse Accelerator program]

“Tackling the inner critic is only the beginning, but an important step to bringing attention to an issue that has long been a source of people’s inability to experience the joy they deserve,” adds Crossan-Matos. “It’s our hope that by addressing this now and working together we can positively shape how future generations see themselves and ultimately create a better future for all.”

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