“It became so apparent from my own mental health journey that stress and anxiety was becoming so unbearable for myself, and I realized I wasn’t alone,” said Poppy Jamie, creator of Happy Not Perfect, an app dedicated to mental health.
The English TV presenter, who cofounded handbag brand Pop & Suki, is coming to the end of a national U.S. tour that’s been showcasing an “IRL” experience of the app in a retail environment at Saks Fifth Avenue. It was first available in October on World Mental Health Day in New York City, then in Boston and Washington, D.C. Starting today, the installation is found at the luxury department store’s Beverly Hills location until Nov. 10.
“When consumers come in to learn about their moisturizer, they’re now able to learn about mental health,” said Jamie, who began developing the concept for Happy Not Perfect four years ago. “We often only associate self-care with our beauty routine, but now, it’s mental health, too…The beauty industry is finally really understanding that looking good starts with nurturing the inside, as well as the outside. That messaging is really being supported by Saks, because these installations are right next to these beauty counters. They’re able to normalize it in a way that I don’t think any department store has done.”
Jamie developed the app, which offers stress- and anxiety-reducing products and techniques like mindful exercises and guided meditation, while working with a UCLA neuroscientist.
“Therapy was expensive, and it’s still pretty inaccessible, though it’s becoming more normalized, which is fantastic,” she said, adding that her mother is a psychotherapist. “But, no one spoke of their mental health over dinner. I suddenly thought, ‘How do I bring research to every single person who wants to look after their mind…and gamify it’? There’s amazing science that shows how moldable and changeable our brain is. It shows that none of us need to be stuck suffering what we’re suffering.”
The entrepreneur first collaborated with Saks in the Hamptons last August, when she led a “happiness workout” on the beach as part of the retailer’s “Saks by the Sea” influencer event.
“Our guests had such a positive response to Poppy and her mission to change the way we approach mental wellness, so we thought it would be a great idea to partner with Happy Not Perfect on a larger scale and create a one-of-a-kind experience surrounding mental health for our customers,” said Emily Essner, senior vice president of marketing and digital at Saks. “The interactive installation is the first of its kind, bringing to life the eight steps of the Happy Not Perfect ‘happiness challenge.’ Visitors have the opportunity to take a break from the stress of everyday life to breathe, literally shed their worries, focus on gratitude and even meditate…We are also pleased to offer Happy Not Perfect essential wellness products for purchase on saks.com.”
Items include a bright yellow, $18 “my happiness” diary and $25 “emotional baggage” tote.
“I really try to make mental health fun,” said Jamie. “…Every region [of the tour], it’s been the same interest and desire to really invest in mental health.”
It’s been important for Saks to join the conversation regarding an issue such as this one, because “the stigma surrounding mental illness continues to be a reality,” continued Essner. “Millions of Americans are affected by mental illness every year, and many people are afraid to speak up or seek help. Through our partnership with Happy Not Perfect, Saks aims to raise awareness about mental health and provide our audience with the tools to improve their mental health in a way that’s fun, simple and personal.
“We…plan to continue partnering with organizations committed to mental health and other social issues,” she added. “Last June, Saks partnered with the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising to help eliminate the social injustices that impact the LGBTQ+ community. Now more than ever, it’s crucial for companies to stand for what they believe in. Through our partnerships with philanthropic organizations, Saks hopes to give back and also fuel the conversation surrounding important issues like mental health and equality. We are excited to continue using our platform to advance the issues we believe in.”