Kristen Bell’s CBD brand Happy Dance set to launch at Ulta

As CBD infiltrates the beauty mainstream, Kristen Bell’s new body-care brand Happy Dance makes its retailer debut at Ulta Beauty next week.

On March 5, Happy Dance will become available on Ulta.com, and in 101 physical Ulta stores on March 7. As part of the beauty retailer’s Sparked program for up-and-coming brands, the colorful CBD brand will be featured in the retailer’s in-store Sparked displays at the initial locations, and begin expansion to 550 Ulta locations on March 15. Happy Dance was unveiled in October exclusively via DTC sales, and Ulta will become its first store partner as beauty retailers increasingly embrace CBD.

Happy Dance’s association with both Lord Jones and Bell “really resonated, and it helped for us to feel like we were different than all of these other CBD brands that are kind of beating down [Ulta’s] door,” said Summer Frein, general manager of Happy Dance and luxury CBD beauty and wellness brand Lord Jones, which are both owned by Canadian cannabis company Cronos Group. In addition, Happy Dance’s accessible price point, with products ranging from $15-$30, is “good for the Ulta consumer and how Ulta thinks about their consumer base,” she said. “They wanted a brand and products that could be easily incorporated into a busy mom’s lifestyle.”

The brand’s marketing has focused on normalizing and de-stigmatizing CBD for the mom demographic, making the product accessible with humorous content such as a video filmed by Bell assuring viewers that “it won’t get you high.” This is a lucrative target market for the CBD market. According to 2020 data from Surfside, a provider of advertising and data solutions focused on the cannabis industry, women make up 59% of CBD consumers.

Self-care is another major part of the brand’s messaging. Thanks to CBD brands’ emphasis on stress relief, moms have been identified as a key focus for brands geared toward women. Demand has been amplified during the pandemic due to the pressure on mothers that has been receiving more attention in the media as of late. CBD brands have recognized the value of the mom demographic, with Mother’s Day serving as a key marketing holiday for the industry. Bell has experience marketing toward moms through her baby-care brand Hello Bello, which is stocked at Walmart.

“For Kristin, she’s wanting to put forward this idea of accessibility. She’s a busy mom. She wants the brand to reflect that, too — and the realness of motherhood, [rather than] this false reality that ‘mom marketing’ often conveys,” said Frein.

Happy Dance’s launch at Ulta can gain brand recognition among this audience. “We wanted to make sure that the way we brought Happy Dance to life was truly really accessible for that consumer and Ulta gave us that opportunity,” said Frein.

While big-box stores remain reticent about CBD, beauty retailers have been stocking a widening range of products over the past year. Lord Jones became the first CBD brand to launch at Sephora in July 2019, which “made other retail partners feel more comfortable entering the space,” said Frein. Sephora has since added a wide range of CBD offerings and debuted clean CBD standards last year. The Happy Dance launch will add to Ulta’s growing offering of CBD products from brands including Truly, Hempz, Pacifica, E.l.f. and Cannuka, among others.

The launch will be highlighted in a social campaign on Bell’s Instagram. The actress’s star power online “has been a huge success for us,” said Frein. On days when Bell promotes the brand to her 14.6 million Instagram followers, site traffic triples.

Participation in Ulta’s Sparked program will offer additional visibility for the brand, as only four brands per quarter are selected to be highlighted in prime in-store locations and on Ulta’s Sparked tab online.

Happy Dance’s bright colors and branding help it to stand out and “break through that CBD sameness,” said Frein, noting that CBD branding often relies on “stoner tropes and medicinal approaches.” Quality assurance is also a strong selling point for brands to be accepted by retailers, she said.

With hundreds of CBD brands entering the market, “I feel like you are starting to see the cream is rising to the top,” said Frein.

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