Inside the Values: Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics.

Posted: 9 November 2021

By Luke Upton

Since their humble beginnings back in 1995, when the first Lush  Fresh Handmade Cosmetics shop opened in Poole on the south coast of England the natural cosmetics company has become a stand out example of growth being possible whilst retaining and even growing its core values.

Their values haven’t been stuck on to their business model as they experienced extraordinary expansion, no, they’ve been there from day one. Lush, still under the leadership of co-founder Mark Constantine, now operates 951 shops in 49 countries with most locations in the US, as well as production facilities located in the United Kingdom, Canada, Croatia, Germany, and Australia.

So what are their six core values?

  1. Freshest Cosmetics.
  2. 100 Percent Vegetarian.
  3. Ethical Buying.
  4. Handmade.
  5. Naked (yes, naked!). 
  6. Fighting Animal Testing.

The initial focus is all about the product, with Lush being specifically focussed on their aim to bring natural ethical products to consumers.  With this comes an emphasis on freshness, ethically-sourced materials, vegetarian products and avoiding animal testing. 

So far, so, reasonably standard, but the two values ‘handmade’ and ‘naked’ are particularly eye-catching. 

Naked in particular is a unique value. 

But what do they actually mean by this? 

It is actually also product orientated, as its Lush shorthand for their commitment to packaging-free products. This began with a shampoo bar, one of their first products. Now over 40% of Lush’s products are completely packaging-free, something that few large scale companies can claim. It also gives the website and marketing copy the chance to put out some cheeky headers, like ‘It’s always better naked’, giving a playful quality to their messaging. 

‘Handmade’ is also product related, they make millions of products a year, so this is quite a claim but this is what they say – “devoted compounders slice, squeeze and mix up fresh batches of our products every day of the week. Then, to give them a personal, handmade touch, they’re molded, shaped, decorated, and packed by happy people—and we believe in happy people making happy soap. It’s why no two bath bombs or bubble bars are ever exactly the same. Our gifts are no exception either—they’re also hand-packed with our handmade delights, and every ribbon is also tied by hand.” 

Sharing the message.

Stickers on their products also underline these values – ‘100 Percent Vegetarian’, ‘Ethical Buying’ and ‘Fighting Animal Testing’ to use a few examples. 

The values that Lush promote are very prominent on their website, which also includes LUSHopedia, an ingredient finder that lists and explains the different ingredients found in their products. And their Instagram account is very community orientated, with as many posts on issues (environmental, social, racial) as on their latest products. Lush actively campaigns on these issues and states that all Lush licensed territories are expected to campaign at least once a year on one of the core values through their shops and website. They are strongly against animal testing, even refusing to buy material from producers that test on animals.

Lush’s values are further reinforced by the Lush Employee Benefit Trust (the EBT) that has been created to ensure company decisions are not made that will “breach or materially affect” their ethical practice, without first taking the views of the Lush staff into account. 

The team behind Lush have established themselves as a real ‘values first’ brand. They are a great example of values attracting value – they’ve built a customer base and community that are attracted to and willing to share these beliefs and whilst maintaining a strong high street presence, have a strong digital base. 

We’ll leave them with the final word, with this quote from their ‘We Believe‘ statement – “We believe in happy people making happy soap, putting our faces on the products and making our mums proud.”

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