Thursday, March 10, 2011


One of the great indulgence of shopping is a visit to "Lush". You may have heard about them, since they now have stores in every major North American city. "Lush" bills themselves as a store peddling "fresh hand made cosmetics". But, they are far more than that. Walk into any of their stores, and you are pleasantly assaulted with an aroma of soaps, bubble baths and body washes.

The stores themselves stick to a rough hewn natural aesthetic. Plank wooden flooring and wooden fixtures balance giant wheels of hand made soaps. Want only a bit? the staff will cheerfully chop off a piece from the giant soap wheel and wrap it up for you. An experience like visiting a cheese shop in France - without the attitude.

What makes "Lush" such an indulgence is not the charming soap wheels, but rather the "Bath Bombs". Baseball sized scented delights. Drop one in your bath one evening, watch as they fizzle, spit, and froth. Suddenly, the day melts away. An effective tool to stop the urge to tell off your boss, or spouse, or partner, or friend.

This back to basics, home grown product distillation is nothing new. In fact, it's all the rage. "Lush", like many of the companies, espouses their green business, their ethical practices and above all, their commitment to produce high quality hand made products. All of this works, especially in the customer's mind. While you pay a bit more for the product (In relation to say Bath and BodyWorks), the experience, and feeling of engagement more than makes up for it.

What I say recently at their stores brings customer engagement and connection to a new level. On many of their products, "Lush" has added a sticker, with a cartoon caricature of the actual person that made the product. By their own hands! So now when you pick up a jar of Karma hand cream. you can find out that Reggie, or Chainsaw, or Lisa, actually created these products at the "Lush"factory.

I'm a bit cynical, so asked the manager of my local "Lush" store is this was for real or some clever marketing ploy. She enthused to me, in Justin Bieber fan excitement that yes! they exist! She met em on a trip to the factory and was thrilled to meet Reggie in person. The other staff member jumped in, gushing about how excited she got whenever stock from "Chainsaw" arrived.

So, OK. They have been sniffing  the soap wheel  aromas too long. But isn't this a great way for a company to build customer loyalty? It creates a higher level of customer engagement and connectivity with the product you sell. Now you as the consumer can buy a product and know exactly who created it. Smart. Effective.

You can see the creators bios HERE. Not sure how this can be applied to other businesses. I'll let you know as I mull it over, soaking in a butter bath bomb.