Life and Background
Cosmetic brands market themselves as fulfillers of dreams; they do so by way of aesthetic packaging and advertisements featuring celebrities. However, one company, in particular, has been wildly successful despite avoiding these traditional elements of marketing: Lush Cosmetics.
What makes Lush so special? To start, it does not launch large-scale ad campaigns nor do they offer discounts or sales on its items. Their products are packaged in simple black plastic tubs or brown paper, and are strongly scented. This marketing philosophy reflects the personality of Lush’s founder: Mark Constantine.
Constantine’s eccentric interests in herbology and environmental protection started at an early age. Born in Poole, England, in 1953, he was thrown out of his home by his mother and step-father at age 16. Living in the woods, he quickly grew familiar with the wilderness and plants, learning to live among them.
Constantine went on to pursue trichology, the scientific study of the health of hair and scalp, and was hired by a beauty salon that used hair products made with herbal, all-natural ingredients. During his tenure, he also learned about animal testing and was heartbroken to hear of the sacrifices animals endured to serve as test subjects for cosmetic manufacturers.
Following these experiences, Constantine resolved to dedicate his life to protecting animals and the environment. His first attempt, in 1977, was titled Constantine and Weir. They sold body butters, hair dyes, and creams made from vegetables, plants, and flowers. Through collaboration with The Body Shop, the company grew rather quickly; however, Constantine was frustrated with client disinterest in the environment, and ultimately sold Constantine and Weir to The Body Shop.
After the first attempt, Constantine founded Cosmetics To Go, which might be looked at as an early incarnation of Lush. By minimizing packaging, Cosmetics To GO experienced a meteoric rise, but was ultimately unequipped to handle the wave of demand, leading to its subsequent failure.
Lush, founded in 1995, would be a company reflecting Constantine’s values that would continue to endure.
The founding members of Lush produced the goods by buying the ingredients from grocery stores and making them in their own kitchens. Their products used cruelty-free , all-natural ingredients. To aid in their goal of using the freshest, highest-quality ingredients, Lush opened a creative buying division. Members of the division traveled all around the world–as far as places like Morocco–and took note of the suppliers’ testing and harvesting techniques.
Because Lush products are preservative-free, their kitchens can only manufacture a meager 200 to 300 kg of cosmetics at one time without risking the freshness of the products. Lush has opened kitchens throughout several continents to ensure the quick delivery of its easily-perishable products. Former CEO Andrew Gerrie has likened Lush’s manufacturing and distribution model to that of a bakery.
Labeling & Design
Constantine’s background as a hair designer and environmentalist rubs off on the creative, vibrantly colored, and fragrant products, which come in all shapes and sizes and are vegetarian.
Using his familiarity with hair dyes from his time working as a hairstylist, Constantine invented products that amplified the color and fragrance of their original ingredients. At first glance, the vibrant look and scent of Lush’s soaps, creams, etc. may be perceived as running counter to Lush’s identity as an all-natural cosmetics store. However, Constantine remains confident that this helps emphasize the fact that the products are chock full  of all-natural ingredients.
Lush has tried to minimize its use of plastics. Indeed, their soaps come delivered in big blocks. When a customer decides how much they want to buy, an employee cuts off a chunk from the block, wraps it in recyclable paper, and hands it to the customer.
Liquid cosmetics come in Lush’s signature black pots made from recyclable polypropylene. The company offers customers a way to recycle used black pots by bringing empty ones back to the store for a free Fresh Face Mask per every five.
Rather than hiring a celebrity to represent the brand, Lush has made its stores key to the company’s marketing strategy. Confident that the stores themselves are able to encapsulate the spirit of the company, former CEO Gerrie once said in an interview that his strategy for expanding into the North American cosmetics market was simply, “to open many stores.”
To emphasize the freshness of their products, stores mimic the look of a grocery store, displaying items in stacks without individual packaging. The pleasant fragrances emanating from Lush stores have also become symbolic of the company.
As a company, Lush has engaged in numerous campaigns to raise awareness regarding animal testing and human rights violations across the world. Most recently, Lush phased out its use of palm oil, which is harvested from trees of tropical rainforests. They then partnered with soap manufacturing company Kay’s to invent the world’s first palm oil-free soap base.
In 2007, Lush launched its Charity Pot campaign, which was a campaign based on its Charity Pot body lotion. During the course of the campaign, Lush donated its proceeds from Charity Pot purchases to grassroots  organizations working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare, and human rights.
Every year, Lush awards £250,000 GBP (approximately 400 million KRW) to individuals and organizations around the world who work to end or replace animal testing. This is one of the biggest funds in the world in the field of animal research alternatives.
Lush’s quirky products and unique philosophy have won the hearts of many customers. The company currently operates over 900 stores in 50 countries. In a 2015 UK nationwide customer satisfaction survey, Lush actually managed to surpass  Apple, taking first place.
Constantine’s professional trajectory has been shaped by his commitment to ethics, guided by his strong stance with regard to the environment and social causes. His decisions, though, have naturally led to some controversy among those observing Lush from the outside.
Do you think the brand will continue to thrive? Does Lush’s mission and stance on the environment and social issues appeal to you as a customer? Or, do you think that Lush’s claims are full of hot air ?