Life After Likes

What Lush did next in the year after its Global Social Media Announcement…

Last year Lush walked away from Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat globally after becoming exasperated at the business practice behind these platforms in particular, that were basically the antithesis of everything Lush stands for: wellbeing, self-care, kindness and being good to yourself and others.  In all 48 markets where Lush operates, customers were encouraged to ‘Be Somewhere Else’, which is exactly what Lush has done in the year since this announcement. 

The priority was to come up with creative ways to connect with audiences, new and existing – go beyond double taps and likes to create meaningful experiences that advocate for wellbeing.

Where has Lush been connecting with customers?

From One Piece to Netflix and from 24th November 2022, British slow-fashion brand, Lazy Oaf

In quick succession, Lush announced three new collaborations, two licensing and its first ever Brand x Brand, to create memorable experiences and moments for customers.

Lush’s Concepts Creative Director, Melody Morton explains why she believes in aligned, strategic partnerships:

“We’re keen to lean into creative partnerships to help grow our Lush community. By bringing super fan communities together through creative collaborations, we’re able to create excitement, new experiences and memorable moments. 

We want to explore new ways of reaching customers, beyond regular social channels and unhealthy algorithms. We know we can capture a new audience by collaborating with brands and franchises, that people love and follow on unique innovative products. We want to work with partners that feel ethically aligned with us and our core values, more naked product, natural fresh ingredients and the continued importance of fighting animal testing, building long term relationships to leave the world lusher than we found it.

Following LUSH X ONE PIECE, Lush Japan welcomed 71% new digital users from launch, selling out of all online stock by 2pm. It also saw a +165% increase in online sessions on the day of launch versus the previous week.

In the UK on the launch of Lush x Stranger Things, Lush had its most engaged tweet of all time, since the brand account was created in 2009 when posting a sneak peak. 

Collaborations aren’t new for Lush though as Annabelle Baker, Lush Global Brand & Marketing Director explains:

“Lush has carefully selected collaborations with charities and people historically, from mental health charity I Am Whole in 2020 to create a digital detox movement away from socials, a 7 year partnership with ARTHOUSE Unlimited for seasonal gift design, with Vivienne Westwood’s Climate Revolution 2013 where 100% of profits went to supporting this issue, and in 2021 a B2B collaboration with ASOS.

As a global brand – that does it all in-house – sourcing the finest ethical ingredients, inventing, manufacturing and retailing, we can innovate unique products and experiences for every partnership. We continue to look forward to connecting with audiences around the world in new and unexpected ways.” – Annabelle Baker, Lush Brand & Marketing Director

Combining both the worlds of poetry and fine fragrance, Lush collaborated with the Poetry Pharmacy on three new bath bombs to inspire meaning and magic in customers’ bathrooms.

With each poem printed on banana paper, and ingredients in the bath bombs made with essential oils to create a rejuvenating bathing experience, perfumed and poetical waters.

Adventures in Bathing “You don’t have to go far to be somewhere else

On 30th November, just a few days after the announcement, Lush launched six new bath bombs, each with curated playlists on Spotify and visual accompaniments designed to offer a moment of escapism away from endless scrolling on social media.

The collection launched with the subtly added strapline “You don’t have to go far to be somewhere else”, that aligned with the message of Lush anti-Social Policy. 

Since launch, Lush has sold almost 3 million bath bombs globally from the Adventures in Bathing collection.

Following the launch of the Adventures in Bathing bath bomb collection, Lush created six visuals of covetable bathrooms full of the essence of each bath bomb’s personality.
The bathroom photography was an extension of the messaging to focus on and prioritise wellbeing; helping to elevate the perception of the bathroom, a place where most people can have a few moments to themselves. 

“This was about inspiring a renewed outlook on the bathroom. An early thought on this project was how our bathrooms are usually the only room with a lock in someone’s house: a place where you’re able to really be in your own thoughts and dreams. So to honour this, the bathroom could too be a bold and nurturing space, that’s full of adventure and self expression.” – Tom Griffiths, Lush Creative Lead

Big Bath Bomb giveaway – first time ever!

Lush created World Bath Bomb Day on 27th April and gave away 100K bath bombs to the public!

The day was to celebrate the anniversary of its trademark for bath bombs on 27th April 1990 after being invented by Lush Co-founder and Product Inventor, Mo Constantine in her garden shed in 1989. 

It was also a great opportunity to promote wellbeing amongst existing customers and members of the public to try a Lush bath bomb for the first time.

Through the giveaway day alone, traffic overall increased 60% compared to an average Wednesday with an 108% increase in digital traffic and 18% in shop traffic. 

Traffic remained high/above average for the time of year for 2 further weeks following the giveaway event.  Instagram never worked like that for Lush. 

Bath Bomb Makers on Tour

Many customers have probably wondered how Lush’s complex and visually exciting bath bombs are made. Well, in April, in the weeks running up to World Bath Bomb Day up and down the UK, Lush’s bath bomb makers from the factory in Dorset, visited over 60 shop locations to offer customers the opportunity to press a selection of Lush’s best selling bath bombs. 

Book A Bath – Stepping into the personification of a Lush bath bomb

Following World Bath Bomb Day in April, Lush launched the Book A Bath immersive experience to further elevate its vision of the bathroom providing escapism. 

Available exclusively in Lush Spa locations, each Book A Bath experience captures the essence of the bath bomb’s unique aesthetic and the bathing experience they provide. 

Book A Bath is an indulgent, self led bathing experience offering new and existing customers the opportunity to discover Lush’s best kept secret, the Lush Spa. 

Created with all the senses in mind, during the Book A Bath experience you will be paired with products tailored to your skin, a refreshing complimentary drink and a soundtrack to immerse you in your adventure in bathing. Each experience includes a bath bomb, a fresh face mask and cooling eye pads. The soundtrack has been curated in house by ‘Lush Fresh Handmade Sound’ to accompany you as you bathe and elevate your multisensory experience.

The treatments have proved popular with customers, as at Lush Spa locations, 200 customers have indulged in Book A Bath treatments.

Lush invest £7.6million in physical stores across UK & Europe in 2022 to elevate customer experience

Lush shops are at the heart of its local communities, run by passionate individuals as well as the foundation of the business, reflecting its values and filled with a product for every need. In the last financial year, Lush shops welcomed over 84 million customers.

Paul Wheatley, Lush Global Property Director, explains why retail is so important to the brand:

“Since the opening of our first shop in 1995 in Poole, customers have constantly been at the forefront of everything we do – from product invention to customer service. Physical retail has always been important to us, as it enables us to provide our customers with exceptional, award winning service. That interaction and the conversations we have with our customers allow us to determine the product they require to meet any particular need, ensuring they always go away with the right products.

Our shops are a space for the local community to get together, our retailers and shop colleagues are involved in their local communities and we believe that high streets have the opportunity to become community hubs.

Our goal is to keep things exciting for the customer with a flexible dynamic of retail and digital. 

Being experiential is not enough, you have to be inspirational.”

In the last financial year Lush has opened 26 new shops and refitted and relocated 12 shops across UK, Ireland and Europe.

24 hour, automated shopping experience

To reach new customers at any time, with ethical gifts and handmade products always available, Lush opened its first ever 24 hour, automated retail experience in the ever growing and covetable Coal Drops Yard at King’s Cross, London.

A first for the British beauty brand, Lush wanted to ensure the design of the activation aligned with its own values, by partnering with ANMAC. The iLocker was created with sustainable design in mind and runs off a low energy output.

As the activation was only running for up to six months, Lush utilised the opportunity by releasing exclusive opportunities for shoppers such as launching Snow Fairy products from its best selling Christmas collection early in the machine.

Lush launches an app to track the physical benefits of bathing

In time for World Self Care Day (24th July 2022), Lush launched its latest innovation allowing customers the ability to track the impact of their baths.

“Lush Bathe”, an app available on iOS and Android was designed to track and maximise the benefits of bathing, assisted by immersive audio-visual experiences. If users wish, they can link the app to their health data to understand and identify the tangible, physical effects of bathing. 

For this, Lush has collaborated with an inspiring range of wellbeing experts, practitioners, sound healers and mentors to create a series of in-app exclusive transformative experiences for mindful moments whilst bathing or elsewhere – allowing all customers, anywhere to benefit.

“We wanted to create a tool that enhances acts of wellbeing to help people turn mundane moments into mindful minutes by establishing a daily bathing routine that helps them to relax, improve mood and sleep better. This app can be a great addition to a bathing or shower routine whether with a bath bomb, bubble bar, soap or facemask. 

We were lucky enough to work with some great practitioners from the wellbeing community, some inside the company and some friends of Lush to create transformative me-moments for next level bathing.”

– Katrina Johnson, Brand and Digital Concepts at Lush

The app has launched in markets across UK, Europe, Asia, North America and Australisia, with over 3200 downloads to date.

Lush self published True Colours: Hair Colouring for the Curious & the Cautious in February 2021, an in-depth look at the history and science of hair dye, both synthetic and herbal. An honest and intriguing look at what hair dye is, what it does and the power it holds.  Includes the story of henna hair colour with Lush, with practical tips for henna application from Lush co-founder and trichologist Mark Constantine.

Reworked and updated from Mark’s original Herbal Hair Colouring, first published in 1978 – this book is printed with henna ink, an industry first. 

Lush isn’t a brand to keep quiet about the things it cares about. Sometimes it is anger at how animals are treated, or sadness about the treatment of fellow humans and panic over the progress of climate change and our fragile planet.

When running campaigns about these issues through Lush’s global shops and websites it’s always in partnership with activists, grassroots charities and campaign groups who spend their lives working on the featured issue.  Taking a step back from some social media platforms hasn’t stopped this. 

Lush has supported a variety of campaigns over the past 12 months, examples include : 

  • After Exploitation … calling on the UK Government to scrap cuts to modern slavery support under the Nationality and Borders Bill; 
  • Human Society International … to uphold the ban to save cruelty-free cosmetics in the EU; 
  • Marriage for All Japan … on a marriage equality activation; 
  • Animal rights organisation Bont voor Dieren in the Netherlands with their campaign to get an overall ban on fur in the EU; 
  • Black & Irish and the Black Inclusive Curriculum to raise awareness and funds for increasing the availability of anti-racism education for school staff across Ireland;
  • Working with young animal rights activist Olivia Mandle in Spain to generate signatures for the #NoesPaísparaDelfines petition on calling for the scheduled closure of dolphinariums across the country; 
  • Campaigns of 3 local associations across France, Belgium and Luxembourg to ‘Decolonise public spaces’ and asking for explanatory plaques to be put on monuments glorifying people involved in colonial history;
  • Zero Hour … calling on members of the public to lobby their MPs to back the Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill.  
  • SOS (Sumatran Orangutan Society) to bring global awareness to a little-known wildlife haven, West Toba, and support communities there in protecting their incredible rainforests. 

So, what has been the financial impact of Lush Globally stepping away from Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat?

Determining the impact on business has been difficult thus far, as the announcement coincided at an unforeseen Globally turbulent time with rising Covid cases, followed by the ongoing invasion of Ukraine at the start of 2022 and more recently, a cost of living crisis.

However, after leaving the leading social media platforms, Lush reported its highest Christmas retail trading figures in two years.

UK Retail Sales (excluding VAT) for the 5 weeks to 26th December 2021 reached £41.8m; up 20.0% overall compared to the same period the previous year and up +2.6% on the same period in 2019.  

Sales growth from its 104 UK stores was +54.4% compared to 2020 and -9.8% compared to 2019. Ecommerce sales were -34.3% versus 2020 but +108.4% versus 2019.

The Lush group also recorded a pre-tax profit of £29mn in its FY22 audited accounts, up from a loss of £45mn the previous year. 

After a busy 12 months, what’s next in Lush’s life after likes?

9th – 20th December 2022:
Introducing Lush Lounge – a free and immersive space for self care and kindness

The antithesis of a commercial pop-up, the Lush Lounge will offer an inviting space removed from the Christmas chaos where busy shoppers can sit down, press pause and reset. 

For days when ‘the world is too much with us’, Lush will be hosting an immersive space featuring mood-based galleries, massage and an abundance of free services designed for wellness. 

Visitors in need of a moment of self care can expect Lush to surprise and delight with unexpected acts of kindness and care.

Find out more here.

In the meantime, Lush recently released this short brand film, to remind customers that although no longer present on the leading social media platforms, its core values and creating meaningful campaigns to Leave The World Lusher Than We Found It, will continue to be known elsewhere:

For future collaborations, bigger and better shops and Spa offerings centred around wellbeing with new IRL experiences, watch this space.

For further information or interview opportunities, please contact [email protected] / [email protected] or call us on 0207 434 3948 

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