A TikToker’s series of videos are exposing what she claims are the behind-the-scenes of working at Ulta, revealing what many viewers believe is a thoroughly “toxic” work environment.
In the first, Maddie informs viewers that she has worked with beauty products at both Sephora and Ulta. Ulta in particular, Maddie claims, is “horrible” to its employees, unlike other retail locations she’s worked at—which ultimately led her to quit her job. She promised viewers a wealth of stories about her negative experiences on the job, which they immediately pounced on.
Between the announcement video and three subsequent “storytimes,” Maddie’s Ulta videos have nearly 810,000 views, along with tens of thousands of likes and comments from intrigued viewers.
Maddie’s first “storytime” video digs into “some of the shit that went down at Ulta Beauty.” She notes, at the outset of the video, that she contacted all the appropriate channels—human resources, management—before ultimately quitting her job when she was ignored and written off. She then dives into a story about a disciplinary meeting she recently had with her general manager.
In the video, Maddie explains that her manager found her “unprofessional” because she refused to clean human feces off of Ulta’s bathroom wall, something which she notes in the TikTok requires “biohazard training,” which Maddie doesn’t have. Apparently she was called out by her general manager for jokingly informing other employees—in the back room, away from customers—that the act of cleaning feces was “above [her] paygrade.”
She also notes at the outset of her second “storytime” video, that numerous people have been direct messaging her to share their own tales of Ulta woe.
In her second “storytime,” Maddie points out that—compared to Sephora’s rather straightforward way of approaching issues—Ulta’s methods are lacking. As she claims, unlike Ulta, mistakes at Sephora are immediately addressed and turned into learning experiences. At Ulta, however, Maddie claimed managers simply take note of all mistakes and, rather than address them at the time, hold onto them for “weeks” until the employee next touches base with a manager.
This method is deeply “counterproductive,” according to Maddie, because it makes it difficult for employees to actually learn from their mistakes. She uses one of her first meetings with management as an example. A few weeks after starting at Ulta, Maddie says she got called in for a typical “touch base” with her GM at the time. She was informed that she had been reported to HR, a revelation that took her aback.
When she asked why, she said she was informed that it was because she had posted to TikTok about being an Ulta employee. Maddie notes, in the TikTok, that this was her fault—she didn’t check with anyone to ensure it was okay to post about Ulta on TikTok—but vocally wonders why no one let her know before jumping straight to HR.
The real kicker, according to Maddie, was the revelation that she could not post about any of the products sold at Ulta, regardless of context. She said she pointed out that she has brand deals with numerous companies who’s products are sold at Ulta, but was promptly shut down. She later claimed this policy was not allowed and noted that Ulta always jumps “right to just lying to you” rather than actually discussing issues with employees.
Maddie’s third storytime digs into “Ulta’s policies and procedures,” which she notes are “insane.” In the video, she speaks about how Ulta allegedly handles racist or unruly customers—specifically asking employees to “set boundaries” with them instead of refusing service or shutting down inappropriate behavior.
Maddie’s most recent video, seemingly in response to Ulta’s attempts to stop her from posting, she shared a photo that she took while on the job. In the photo, she is clearly upset, with tear-filled eyes and wet cheeks.
The situation surrounding the photo arose after Maddie was asked to work up some ideas to “help teach and promote Prestige Skin.” She said she came up with a range of ideas, which she was promptly told were “stupid,” only to have her general manager turn around and present the ideas as her own. When Maddie got upset over her ideas being stolen, she was branded as “overdramatic.” This pushed Maddie over the edge, but even when she started crying and “freaking out,” the company wouldn’t let her go home.
This is a prime example of her experience at Ulta, according to Maddie. She put it up in response to the messages she is seemingly getting from Ulta, claiming that “we treated you so well,” and asking her why she is “making these TikToks.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Maddie and Ulta for this story. Neither immediately returned a request for comment.
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