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“It won’t get you high!” was the tagline of Kristin Bell’s CBD skin-care brand, Happy Dance, which launched less than two and a half years ago. The brand is now shutting down as its parent company shifts its focus to products that promise the exact opposite.
“The bad news is that this truly is the last dance, because the Happy Dance products that you’ve come to love are being discontinued on our website, as of January 27, 2023,” said an announcement on the brand’s Instagram. First introduced in October 2020 by CBD edibles and skin-care label Lord Jones, in partnership with Bell, Happy Dance was meant to be an accessible entry point into cannabis for suburban moms wary of actual weed. But as parent company Cronos Group’s most recent financial report points out, the true cannabis demand lies in edibles — with actual THC in them.
The company announced in its Q2 2022 results that it was realigning with a “phased exit of the wholesale beauty category to focus the portfolio on adult-use product formats within the direct-to-consumer channel.” That included layoffs in sales and marketing in the U.S.
This phased exit also means the discontinuation of Lord Jones from Sephora, where products are no longer available online. Happy Dance, meanwhile, had been stocked at CVS and Ulta Beauty, the latter of which responded with crying emojis to the Instagram post announcing the brand’s shutdown.
Interest in CBD and CBD beauty are on the decline. According to data from Spate, Google searches for CBD are down 61% year-over-year. Skin-care related CBD searches have decreased by 86.9%.
Beauty brands such as The Feelist and Wldkat began phasing out CBD from their skin-care products in 2021. A search for CBD skin care at Sephora now turns up a total of 12 items from five brands: Saint Jane Beauty, Prima, Herbivore, Flora + Bast and Ellis Brooklyn. Sephora declined to comment for the story.
“In terms of the beauty market, CBD has not been received the way we all thought it would,” said Wldkat founder Amy Zuzunegui, who’s pivoted from CBD to mushrooms in her brand’s skin-care ingredients. “Go back a few years to 2018-2019, and most everyone thought [CBD] was an ingredient that would take off — not only because it was new and trendy, but also because it does great things for the skin.”
She noted that taking CBD out of the brand was especially helpful for business due to the U.S. regulatory environment, which has meant big-box retailers like Target won’t stock the ingredient. Removing CBD allowed the brand to be stocked at Target, and cut costs in other ways. Payment processing, for example, is more expensive on DTC sites with CBD products, and not all banks work with businesses that sell CBD.
The stigma of CBD remains among many U.S. consumers who are cautious about cannabis, said Zuzunegui, who often fielded questions about whether her brand would get people high — the mindset that had also sparked Bell’s Happy Dance tagline.
But it turns out that cannabis enthusiasts do indeed want products that will get them high. Cronos Group’s “adults-only” products refer to the THC gummies under its Spinach brand, which can legally be sold nationally in Canada.
In the U.S. market, the situation relies on increased legalization, where laws on both THC and CBD vary from state to state.
“We are also refocusing the U.S. business to prioritize hero SKUs while leaning into adult-use product formats and concentrating on the direct-to-consumer channel. Although early in the repositioning of our U.S. business, we are confident the new strategy will improve our bottom-line while maintaining brand equity that we can leverage into cannabinoids beyond CBD, and in the U.S. THC market once regulations permit,” said Cronos Group’s Q3 2022 financial report.