The scene: Late 70’s England. Colleagues Liz Weir & Mark Constantine struggled to sell their innovative hair and beauty products created from natural ingredients. Mark called Anita Roddick, a like-minded fledgling entrepreneur and she placed a £1200 order for their herbal-based products.
They continued making some of the Body Shop’s best sellers until they were bought out by the Body Shop in 1987. Their new mail order business was too successful and in 1995 they started all over again. The first Lush store in Covent Garden had been a location for the screen classic My Fair Lady and hence the ‘Luverly’ ballistic. Soon the company expanded to Canada, Croatia and then to Australia.
Lush became known as the go to shop for all things that make hair shiny, skin super soft and bodies smelling fresh. Everyone has enjoyed either Angels on Bare Skin cleanser, Curly Wurly shampoo with real coconut flakes or a bath with a Sex Bomb. (That would be a bath with a Sex Bomb Bath Bomb).
Today Lush has over 800 stores in over 40 countries and approximately 6,000 employees. But, this is a beauty company like no other; sourcing organic ingredients from companies that pay their workers fairly and run sustainable businesses. Lush do not conduct or commission tests on animals.
Lush uses the freshest of ingredients that are vegetarian, with little or no preservatives that are still hand made with minimal packaging. All products are labelled with the exact date it was made along with the person who made it. Their fresh factories use ingredients from wheatgrass sourced in Bondi and rosewood oil from the deepest Amazon rainforests.
For decades Lush has developed products in solid forms rather than liquids – when water is removed not only do you not need preservatives, you can also eliminate packaging and it’s cheaper. Lush customers can go completely Naked – no packaging at all. If everyone in Australia used solid shampoo bars, landfill could be reduced by over 9 million bottles a year. Bottles are post-consumer recycled plastic and are 100% recyclable.
But as a multi-national company their potential for change is enormous and over the years Lush has engaged in campaigns on many environmental, social and animal rights issues. Current campaigns for marriage equality, anti-animal testing, anti-shark culling, human rights for asylum seekers and Peace One Day all create not only awareness but allow customers to effect change.
100% of the price of all tubs of Charity Pot Body Lotion is donated to small grassroots organisations. The cocoa butter in the Peace Massage Bar comes from the Peace Villages of San Jose de Apatardo in Colombia. 2,100 farmers in the area pledged themselves to non-violence and the community has tried to ensure every family has a house and a right to land to feed themselves. The Fair Trade olive oil in Peace bars is from Sindyanna Women’s cooperative in Gallilee.
Lush is a shining light in both environmental and social responsibility. Buying their products does make a difference. Christmas is the time of giving and sharing. Is there a more appropriate time to also make a difference?