#CIWWGP: LUSH Handmade Cosmetics
Anyone who has ever visited my apartment and stuck their head in my bathroom - I KNOW people have done this and quick frankly it's a little creepy - will see that about 80% of the products I use are from LUSH. The ingredients are so basic and so natural one may wonder how they could possibly be effective at all, but they are incredibly effective. And although I know they probably never go public will since LUSH likes not having to answer to shareholders, they are one of the biggest #CIWWGP (Companies I Wish Would Go Public).
I first discovered LUSH back in the fall of 2011 right before I went on a business trip. I had read some good things about LUSH, and wanted to give one of their flagship products a try - a solid shampoo bar. I'm a bit accident prone when it comes to traveling with liquids, so I figured using a solid shampoo bar would be the end of my spill troubles. Not only did it solve that problem, but every one of their hair products have saved my hair and scalp immensely. According to my hairdresser, my hair has never looked better and that's saying a lot since it has really always looked like a disaster.
However, this is a financial blog so I will not go raving about my favorite products here, however you can head over to my Pinterest Page and check the products I've been raving about for years. (On that note, make sure you follow me on Pinterest too!)
What is LUSH and What Do They Do?
Funny you should ask. LUSH, originally called Cosmetics To-Go, was started in the United Kingdom back in 1995 by Mark Constantine, a trichologist and Liz Weir, a beauty therapist. They met in a hair and beauty salon in Poole, England and a few years later, they decided to branch out and start their own business selling natural hair and beauty products.
In the early 80s, Constantine read about Anita Roddick, who had just started The Body Shop. He called her and offered some of his products. She initially placed an order for £1,200 to start with, and from there Constantine and Weir developed products for The Body Shop and became the company's largest supplier for over a decade. It was at this point The Body Shop decided to buy their product formulas. The Body Shop's purchase of their product formulas forbade Mark and Liz from opening another retail shop for five years, so they set up a mail order cosmetics company called Cosmetics-To-Go. It was a successful although complicated venture that ended up burning out.
The company went into administration and sold to someone from Poole, who took the product formulas and the Cosmetics-To-Go name. Mark and Liz, 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 weren't 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, which is defined as being fresh, green, and verdant.
Today LUSH is located in dozens of countries all over the world and produced revenues of £282.5 million in 2014 while at the same time supporting dozens of grassroot-charities and organizations by donating nearly £3.8 million. This is a long(er) video on the company's overall mission, message and values - but it's well worth a watch. Especially since they're all British and have relaxing voices :)
So What Is the Growth Like in This Industry?
Going off of comments made about Blue Apron, it's clear that the sustainable and organics market is growing rapidly among the Millennial crowd - it cannot be denied. Every aspect of LUSH is sustainable and optimized to give the customer the best possible experience and there are dozens of channel checks made to insure that all workers and farmers of their ingredients are receiving fair pay and fair treatment.
This is an example of a typical LUSH shop - nearly all of them around the world are set up in a similar fashion and have tables with unpreserved and unpackaged products that the customer can take home "raw" or "naked" if you will.
Soap is made in large slabs and cut off fresh and sold by weight - and every store smells like heaven. Seriously.