From dropping hints of opening a store here in Malaysia with their surprising Instagram post on job vacancies, Lush Cosmetics is finally here and open in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur!
We had the opportunity to meet and speak with Lush Global PR, Karen Huxley; Lush All Things To Everyone, Steve Brackstone and Lush Malaysia Director, Harvinder Harchand, about the ins and outs of Lush Cosmetics. From how their cosmetic brand came about, to their principles regarding animal rights, human rights and environmental conservation, and, of course, on their fresh handmade products with naked packaging. We also managed to ask which Lush product you MUST try if you haven’t gotten in on the Lush craze.
Lush On Lush
Where did the inspiration for handmade cosmetics come from?
Steve: Our founders, Mark Constantine and Liz Weir, started out as a contract manufacturer for a few well-known brands, one to name is The Body Shop, making and selling handmade body and hair skin care from scratch. After a few years, Mark presented a few ideas to The Body Shop but they turned it down as they said it wasn’t something that would stand with their brand. So he thought to himself, “We have so many ideas and products that we can sell and everyone would love but how are we going to do it?” Then, one day, Mark and Liz thought of doing a cosmetics delivery service that would deliver fresh handmade products right to your doorstep and this was in the year 1995. It worked for a few months but later died off as they didn’t think about the production and delivery cost that costed them way more.
After that, our founders came to thinking, sold off all product rights that The Body Shop was buying from them and finally came to open their own cosmetic brand – Lush Cosmetics. We now have over 900 stores in 49 countries including Malaysia.
How do you work with the smaller groups to make a change on areas like animal, human rights and environmental conservation?
Steve: We don’t just donate funds to these small groups or NGOs, we help to provide them a sustainable living where they can earn an income. For example, we have a farm of aloe plants in this village for the women and wives to earn a living while their husbands or the men work on other jobs, too. They don’t just sell the aloes to us, but we allow them to sell their plants to other buyers.
Karen: We also love to work with women-driven organisations and campaigns especially in our generation. To just share, educate and create an awareness of how important women and children are to the society.
How did the naked packaging idea come about?
Karen: Our founders are known for their heart-felt principle to be clean, environmentally friendly and to always stay away from plastic so they decided to have most of their products be sold naked without a container. We have a store in Milan, where it sells our products entirely in naked packaging. Even with that, customers can purchase metal tins to keep their Lush products. With this also, we have our Wrap-Knot Scarf that is made from recycled plastics that turns into a yarn and then our Lush Wrap-Knot. It is amazing what outcome we can get from recycled plastic. Customers can now make their own personalised gift wraps and their friend or family can use them as a scarf or as an accessory. As mentioned earlier about working with small groups, our scarves, or known as our Wrap-Knot, we have a group of women in a village who uses recycled plastics and makes them into the beautiful yarn, all by hand.
How do you keep the products fresh for consumers to purchase with having so many stores around the world?
Karen: We have about a total of seven factories around the world, closest to Malaysia is our Japan and Australia factory. All of our products are locally made in these factories in exactly 21 days upon purchase from our suppliers then directly shipped to the specific countries that placed the orders. Hence with this quick and short period of 21 days, Lush products are ensured to still be fresh. And, unlike any other cosmetic brands, we label our products with the exact date of when the product is made, date of shipment and of course the date for best used by. Most of our products are only best used for up to six months with a majority of it being up to four months. Hence, the freshness of our products depend on the logistics and time taken to make the products.
Do you plan to work or have any animal, human rights or environmental conservation projects or campaigns here in Malaysia?
Harvinder: Yes of course, this is still an ongoing discussion but of course we hope that everything turns out well. By end of this year in December, we plan to have a beach clean-up campaign as we know plastic is extremely harmful not only to animals but also to us humans and now that Malaysia is stopping plastics straws, we want to help spread more awareness on it. We also would love to plan on helping out with the child marriage issues here in Malaysia and to everyone’s rights as a human being and a Malaysian.
Will you be opening more Lush Cosmetics stores here in Malaysia?
Harvinder: Definitely! We hope our store here in Pavilion is a success, then we would be able to expand our Lush stores in Malaysia as planned, starting with Penang, Melaka, Johor and Sabah.
What are the top three Lush products every Lush virgin should get their hands on?
Karen: Lush Shampoo Bar, Lush Scarf, and Lush Dark Angels.
Steve: Yes, of course the Lush Shampoo Bars, Lush Cleansers and the Lush Shower Gel.
What would Lush Cosmetics want their customers to feel whenever they walk into a Lush store?
Harvinder, Steve and Karen: Happy, excited and educated about our products and who we are as a brand.
If you had to describe Lush Cosmetics in three words, what would it be?
Karen: Campaigning. Meaning how ethical we are just as a brand that is purely fresh and organic right from our ingredients itself to our Lush staffs and team.