|Private limited company|
|Founded||12 November 1995|
|Founder||Mark and Mo Constantine, Liz Weir, Helen Ambrosen, Rowena Bird and Paul Greaves|
Lush is a cosmetics retailer headquartered in Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom, founded by Mark Constantine and Liz Weir. It produces and sells creams, soaps, shampoos, shower gels, lotions, moisturisers, scrubs, masks and other cosmetics for the face, hair, and body using only vegetarian recipes, 85% of which are also vegan.
Mark Constantine, a trichologist and herbalist who had hoped to go into theatrical makeup, but became a hairdresser in the 1960s, worked from a hair and beauty salon at 29 High Street in Poole, Dorset, UK. In the 1970s he met Elizabeth Weir, a beauty therapist, in the salon. A few years later, they started their own business, named Constantine & Weir, selling natural hair and beauty products. In the early 1980s, Constantine read about Anita Roddick, who had just started The Body Shop. He called and offered some of his products; Roddick placed an initial order of £1,200. Constantine and Weir developed a number of recipes for bath and beauty products and were a major supplier to The Body Shop, until Roddick was advised to take more products in house. The Body Shop then paid £11 million for the rights of Constantine & Weir's recipes. The Body Shop's purchase of their product formulas forbade Constantine and Weir from opening another shop for five years, so they set up a mail order cosmetics company called Cosmetics-To-Go until it went into administration.
Creation of LUSH
Constantine and Weir, along with Mo Constantine, Helen Ambrosen, Rowena Bird and Paul Greaves from Cosmetics-To-Go, spent what money they had left on fresh fruits and vegetables at the market. In a shop in Poole, they hand-made products upstairs that were being sold downstairs. They had previously been paying another company to come up with the fragrances for their products, but found out the perfumes were not always pure, so Mark decided he would create the perfumes himself. A competition was launched for customers to give the company a new name. One customer suggested 'Lush', meaning fresh, green, and verdant. The company was recorded as being founded in 1995.
In December 2010, Mark and Mo Constantine were awarded the OBE in the New Year's Honours list, for services to the beauty industry. 2018 saw UK recruitment website Indeed, name Lush as the UK's seventh best private sector employer based on millions of employee ratings and reviews, and in March 2019, the company introduced the Lush Labs app, which uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to reduce wasteful packaging.
COVID-19 pandemic response
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lush offered the public free handwashing in all its stores as a means to help slow down the spread of the virus. However, on 16 March 2020 Lush closed all North American stores but continued to pay staff, with stores in Australia closing four days later and those in the UK closing on 21 March. Later in March, the company announced it was laying off staff in Canada due to the impact that the pandemic was having on its operation, facing a future with a "much smaller business".
Lush is a privately owned company with a small number of shares available on an invitation basis only. The company operates in 49 countries, with the majority of its stores located in the USA. Although Lush is an advocate of fair trade, the company does not partner with a specific labelling organization, choosing instead to monitor its supply chain directly.
The company follows a "no advertising policy" in which the company does not spend money on TV campaigns or celebrity endorsements and instead relies heavily on user-generated content. However, the company partnered with drag-queens from RuPaul's Drag Race; Kim Chi, Detox, and Shea Couleé, during the Holiday season of 2018 to create photo campaigns for their new products. Products can also be advertised through staff engaging in "random acts of kindness" where they are allowed to give away products to customers in need of cheering up, are celebrating a special occasion, they have a good relationship with or other reasons. Lush states that it does not have a target demographic, and that as a brand it is "trying to make [its] stores welcoming to all".
The company created a launch party for new products and to highlight others that occurs annually. In 2018 it was in Manchester. Highlights include sneak peeks at upcoming or exclusive products, ethical consumption panels, and opportunities to see how bath bombs were made as well as the ability for the consumer to make their own products. LUSH has described the event in 2017 as a "...kaleidoscope of imagination, invention and innovation" through "...four spheres of creativity spanning music, product, film, and technology."
The company does not partake in Black Friday sales but instead hosts its only sale of the year on Boxing Day. The sale at times will differ from the country that the store is located as in 2018 the North American stores and website featured a "Buy One, Get One" seasonal sale, and the UK stores hosted a 50% seasonal items sale. The change began in 2017, when the company attempted to not have an online sale at all, which led to major backlash.
Lush produces creams, soaps, shampoos, shower gels, lotions, moisturisers, scrubs, masks and other cosmetics for the face, hair, and body using only vegetarian or vegan recipes. Solid shampoos as well as "Toothy Tabs" which are solid toothpaste tablets are also available for purchase online and in retail stores. Lush is also best known for their bath bombs which are solid bars of sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, essential oils and natural butters that fizz out when dropped in water, and can produce an array of colours and fragrances. As of July 2012, Lush began selling their "Emotional Brilliance" makeup collection, which includes liquid lipsticks, liquid eyeliners, and cream shadows. Lush also launched their first mascara, Eyes Right, under the "Emotional Brilliance" line.
Lush products are made in factories or "kitchens" as the staff calls them, around the world including Poole, Dorset; Toronto, and Vancouver Canada; Zagreb, Croatia; Düsseldorf, Germany; and Australia. Lush marks its trademark black tub products with stickers of the actual creators of the product being sold, a unique trademark placed on their recyclable polypropylene plastic black pots. The company also offers customers a way to recycle used black pots by bringing empty ones back to the store for a free Fresh Face Mask for every five returned. Most Lush products are to be stored at room temperature, with the exception of their Fresh Face Masks, which require refrigeration due to the absence of preservatives and the main ingredients being fruits and vegetables. Stores do not typically sell products older than four or five months and most products have a shelf life of approximately 14 months, depending on the particular item.
In-store catalogues were previously titled as the Lush Times and were produced in a newspaper-style format.
Ingredients and ethics
Lush products are 100% vegetarian, and 85% of the products are also vegan. They often contain fruits and vegetables such as grapefruit juice, vanilla beans, aloe vera, avocado butter, rosemary oil, fresh papaya, and coconut. However, some products contain lanolin, honey, and/or beeswax. Egg used to be in products but was removed early 2019. Parabens are used to preserve a number of the products.
Lush does not buy from companies that carry out, fund, or commission any animal testing. They test their products on human volunteers before they are sold to the public. Lush has also phased out its use of sodium palm kernelate, which is often derived from trees in the natural habitat of orangutans and home to tropical forests with overall endangered biodiversity. Since 2008, all Lush soaps have been made with palm-free soap base, and they have since removed all traces of palm oil from the products. Whilst Lush soaps are currently free of palm oil, the same cannot be said of their shampoo bars and other products.
Donations and campaigns
Lush launched the 'Charity Pot' campaign in 2007. Charity Pot is a hand and body lotion with a self-preserving formula and a delicate floral perfume of ylang ylang and rosewood oils. Lush donates 100% of the profits of every 'Charity Pot' purchased at their stores and online to small, grassroots organisations working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare, and human rights. Since launching the Charity Pot program in 2007, Lush has donated more than $33,000,000 to over 2450 grassroots charities in 42 countries.
Lush is a supporter of direct action, animal rights operations including Sea Shepherd, a group that works to protect whales, seals, and other aquatic animals. Lush has been a supporter of antitax avoidance grouping UK Uncut.
In 2007, Lush started openly supporting campaigning groups by sending a dozen cheques for £1,000 each, including road protests groups such as Road Block and NoM1Widening, Hacan Clear Skies (anti-aviation group), and Dump the Dump (which is fighting against an incinerator).
Lush Cosmetics donated £3.8m to charities in 2014.
In 2014, Lush supported the first Hen Harrier Day, with all its UK stores prominently highlighting the illegal persecution of hen harriers on upland grouse moors. The following year it launched Hen Harrier bath bombs to help fund satellite tagging of these raptors.
In 2016, Lush raised £246,000 ($300,000) from the sale of its "Hands of Friendship" soap, with funds going to support Syrian Refugees.
On 31 May 2018, Lush launched a campaign aimed to highlight previous abuses by undercover police officers in the UK. The company put up window displays in its stores with a mock-up of a police officer in and out of uniform alongside the tag-line "Paid to lie #Spycops". In some stores replica police tape was put on the shopfront windows with: "Police have crossed the line". The campaign attracted immediate criticism from serving officers and members of the public due to its "broad brush" approach which appeared to suggest that police officers were liars and involved in a cover-up. Many notable figures were critical of the campaign by Lush, including Chief Police Officers and the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid. Lush responded to the backlash by stating that the campaign was "not an anti-state/anti-police campaign" and that they were aware "police forces of the UK are doing an increasingly difficult and dangerous job whilst having their funding slashed". They also stated that the campaign was "not about the real police work done by those front line officers who support the public every day – it is about a controversial branch of political undercover policing that ran for many years before being exposed."
In 2011, Israel advocacy groups StandWithUs and United With Israel UK launched a campaign encouraging consumers to boycott Lush products on account of the company's decision to promote OneWorld's Freedom for Palestine initiative.
In 2015, Lush was criticised for insensitivity when it stocked a new product, Lavender Hill Mob – a brand of incense inspired by the 2011 London Riots, featuring a graphic of a burning building. Lavender Hill itself had been targeted by looters and rioters, but Lush stated that it was "created to emphasise the importance of community".
In July 2018, Lush Australia admitted owing more than 5,000 staff members up to $2 million in back pay. Lush Australia director Peta Granger said staff across the retail and manufacturing businesses have been underpaid since 2010 due to incorrect interpretations of the retail award.
- "Lush.com WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info – DomainTools". WHOIS. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
- "Lush set to open a hair salon in Bournemouth (but boss is still concerned about Brexit)". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
- "The Big Book: An Introduction To & History of Cosmetics To Go". Lushie.com. Archived from the original on 29 April 2007.
- Teather, David (13 April 2007). "Interview: Mark and Mo Constantine, founders of LUSH cosmetics | Business". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- "Body Flop: Anita Roddick proclaimed that business could be caring as well as capitalist, by Jon Entine, The Globe and Mail Report on Business Magazine". Jonentine.com. 31 May 2002. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- Business Lessons for the Entrepreneur from Lush, launchprivatelabel.com, 4 October 2012.
- "Lush couple with a shed load of ideas". The Guardian. 13 April 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
- "GradMoney: A New Investing Experience". GradMoney: A New Investing Experience. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
- "How Lush Has Grown Without Spending A Dime on Advertising". www.cmo.com. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
- "OBE for Dorset couple who founded cosmetics firm Lush". BBC News. 31 December 2010.
- Taylor, Chloe (22 October 2018). "Apple named best private sector employer in the UK". CNBC. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
- "Top-Rated Workplaces: Best in the Private Sector – Indeed Blog". Indeed Blog. 22 October 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
- Nickalls, Sammy (13 March 2019). "Lush Is Using Machine Learning and AI to Make Wasteful Packaging and Signage Irrelevant". ADWEEK. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
- Wood, Zoe (27 February 2020). "Lush offers public free hand washes to halt coronavirus spread". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- "Lush to close all of its stores across the UK and Ireland tonight". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- Brook, Benedict (25 March 2020). "Desperate retailers pull pin on stores even though they can remain open". NewsComAu. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- EDT, Seren Morris On 3/23/20 at 9:53 AM (23 March 2020). "These are the companies still paying their employees while their stores are closed". Newsweek. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- Testa, Jessica; Maheshwari, Sapna; Friedman, Vanessa (18 March 2020). "Which Clothing and Beauty Stores Have Closed?". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- Breen, Kerri. "Lush cosmetics announces layoffs due to coronavirus pandemic". Global News. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 April 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Lush Beauty: Taking The Industry By Storm Thanks To Young Love". Forbes. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
- Marsh, Ariana. "Lush's Holiday Campaign Stars Your Favorite Drag Queens & It's A Gift in Itself". Elite Daily. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
- "What can you learn from Lush's retail strategy? – Insider Trends". Insider Trends. 30 November 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
- "Why Lush features men and women alike in its marketing". Digiday. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
- Shedden, Melissa. "Seven mesmerising new products from the global LUSH launch". www.kidspot.com.au. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
- "LUSH are having a bath bomb festival and we reeeally want to go". Cosmopolitan. 10 August 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
- Bell, Caroline (14 November 2018). "We Can Already Smell Lush's Only Sale of the Year". StyleCaster. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- Bartram, Naomi (23 December 2017). "Lush won't be having an online Boxing Day sale and not everyone's happy about it". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Lush cosmetics are bubbling up everywhere". The Central Voice. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
- "LUSH". www.lushusa.com. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
- web-services (17 March 2014). "Recycling our black pots".
- "LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics". Lush.com.au. 21 December 2002. Archived from the original on 18 February 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
- "Fresh Products". Lush.ca. 2012. Archived from the original on 17 January 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
- Hammond, Simon (2006). "8. Lush". BE Brands: Simon Hammond's creative brand revolution. Milton, Qld: John Wiley & Sons Australia. p. 100. ISBN 0731404556.
- "Review: Lush Aqua Marina". The Moisturizer. 7 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
- "Fashbox a beauty subscription box from Kuwait". Fashbox a beauty subscription box from Kuwait. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
- "Lush's human performance art was about animal cruelty not titillation". The Guardian. 27 April 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
- "Lush Cosmetics wins award for "above and beyond" commitment to fighting animal testing". Humane Society International. 9 April 2018. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
- "Still Against Animal Testing". Lush.co.uk. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
- "Mo Constantine's innovation: finding an alternative to palm oil". The Guardian. 30 May 2010. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
- "Let's talk about SLS". lush.com.
- "Following the Millions in LUSH's 'Charity Pot'". Forbes. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
- "LUSH and Sea Shepherd Launch Global Anti-Shark-Finning Campaign". 3 September 2009. Archived from the original on 13 October 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2008.
- "Look out, Amazon! Online shopping giant feels the wrath of Mark and Mo Constantine - the husband-and-wife team behind cosmetics chain Lush". The Independent. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
- Bibi van der Zee (17 April 2007). "Guerrilla giveaway". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
- "CharityPot". LUSH. Archived from the original on 16 December 2007. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
- "Guantanamo Bay – Free Shaker Aamer". LUSH Campaigns. Archived from the original on 5 May 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
- "Lush defies currency turmoil to post sweet-smelling profits".
- "Lush cosmetics launch national Hen Harrier Day campaign". markavery.info. 8 August 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- "Smell LUSH and save hen harriers!". www.rspb.org.uk. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- "Lush raises $425,000 for LGBTI rights". www.gaystarnews.com. Gay Star News. 12 September 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- "Lush raises $300,000 for Refugees".
- PoliticsHome.com (1 June 2018). "Sajid Javid slams 'irresponsible' cosmetics chain Lush over 'spycops' campaign". PoliticsHome.com. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
- Andy Hayes (1 June 2018). "Outrage over Lush ad campaign as cosmetics firm claims police are 'paid to lie'". Sky News. London. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- web-services (1 June 2018). "#SpyCops statement". Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics UK. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
- "Lush drops 'anti-spy cops' campaign". BBC News. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
- Saner, Emine (20 June 2018). "How the Lush founders went from bath bombs to the spy cops row". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
- Evans, Rob (13 June 2018). "Cosmetics chain Lush resumes undercover police poster campaign". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
- "UK Zionists fight cosmetics firm for anti-Israel project". Jerusalem Post. 17 August 2017.
- "Cosmetics chain Lush comes under fire for selling London riots inspired perfume". Evening Standard. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- Wylie, Brooke (17 July 2018). "Lush Australia admits it underpaid staff by $2m, payroll errors could affect 5,000 employees". ABC News. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
Media related to Lush (company) at Wikimedia Commons