We have been banging on about LUSH for many years now. We regularly take clients on What’s New tours and a trip to LUSH is often on the agenda because it is hard to beat the theatre surrounding the product and the super immersive customer experience – there’s hardly a digital screen in sight. So we already love LUSH.
A recent visit to the new flagship store on Oxford Street, London sent our LUSH love affair in to over drive!
Let’s take a step back to get to know the brand before we go on. LUSH is a British company born in Poole circa 1995. Their founding members include a husband and wife team and some of the founders have backgrounds in herbal trichology (study of the hair and scalp) and beauty therapy. Originally mixing products in their kitchen for The Body Shop the LUSH founders have always demonstrated their passion for making fresh, hand made products with no excessive packaging and absolutely no testing on animals.
The new flagship store on Oxford Street, London has been open for about three months and is spread over three floors, with over 200 unique products in this store that you cannot find anywhere else in the world.
The store is a feast for the senses, literally, before you have even entered the store the very unique aroma of LUSH is floating across the busy London street (love it or hate it). Once inside the store it’s an explosion of colours and bodies moving about, it feels like you have walked into a fresh food market. Even the product tester displays look like something from a market with crushed ice, oyster shells and natural materials. The shelving systems and product bays are beautifully crafted too, no corners have been cut here.
What sets this shopping experience apart from others is the fact that even though there is not a digital screen in sight, customer engagement and interactivity is at an all time high. Customers are actively encouraged to test products and the highly trained staff are on hand (in abundance) to talk to you about pretty much any aspect of the product and the company – it’s refreshing to speak to store staff that have such devotion to a cause.
I discovered that such good staff is not a stroke of luck – even the interview process is specifically focused to find perfect LUSH employees. Each new member of staff is given an intensive training course that spans a number of weeks which encourages staff to become brand advocates that believe deeply in the core principles of the brand. Now that's how you do it properly!
In the basement there is a LUSH Spa with four treatment rooms and a 'reception area' that feels more like a English Cottage than a London Spa. From the thoughtfully composed birdsong music to the quirky treatments for body and mind, LUSH have created something unique here.
There is a Perfumery too which contains more fragrances than are countable, each one has a story behind it. ‘Dear John’ for instance is designed to be the smell of the creators’ distant father. Follow the flashing red neon arrow and enter the Gorilla Perfume Gallery where you experience the story and inspiration for the fragrances first hand via an audio, visual and sensory manner.
The make-up section has new ranges available and the buzz around the beautifully merchandised area indicates its success. Large oversized mirrors cleverly encourage customers to try the make-up on and then share a selfie.
The hair section is really interesting, the staff there will give you a full review of your hair and scalp, products can even be ‘tried’ but don't worry there is a big mirror and hairdryer to sort out the soggy locks afterwards.
Finally, on the top floor is an events space, used to cater for groups such as parties, learning sessions and PR events. LUSH does an amazing job of selling cosmetics products in a gender neutral way, something that is a tough mould to break in the healthcare industry.
However, the passion and belief in their product is obvious and it is evident in everything that they do as a company from their Charity Pot, SLush Fund, staff training, product merchandising and stance on animal testing. Above all this goodness we love the fact that it’s such an interactive experience in the good, old-fashioned way of face-to-face. Lush, we take our hats off to you!
Long live LUSH.