Originally founded in 1995 in Dorset, England, the brand opened its first North American location on Vancouver’s Denman Street in the West End in 1996, and eventually expanded to over 250 shops on the continent. The Robson flagship is one of the brand’s seven Vancouver locations. Lush sells all-natural beauty products that are friendly to either vegetarians or vegans (as some products do contain trace amounts of honey and dairy), and are never tested on animals.
CEO Mark Wolverton states, “Since opening our doors, Lush has grown in leaps and bounds and we’re very proud to be reinvesting in a community that has given us so much over the last 20 years”. The location will undoubtedly add to the re-vitalization of Robson Street. “Robson helped bring successful business, employment and a whole load of bubbles to B.C. and we can’t wait to see what this next chapter brings”, says Wolverton.
The Robson flagship is one of 30 North American shops Lush has earmarked for renovations over the coming year. The renovated flagship measures 2,340 square feet, expanding from its previous shop by 1,000 square feet. The idea is to provide a tactile customer experience that encourages hands-on interaction with the product. Customer service reps are on-hand to consult at a facial bar, where customers can ask questions about the most ideal product suitable to their skin type.
A vintage barber chair has also been brought in for a consultant to experiment with the best hair product for customers. The experience encourages client participation to foster brand development, in a semi-bespoke fashion.
The Robson location is just one of the first locations earmarked for retro-fitting to expand stores and create an interactive customer experience, a rarity in an age when brands are pouring greater resources into their online businesses.
All newly renovated and expanded Lush locations will be adhering to its trademark aesthetic incorporating environmentally conscious furnishings. From consoles and armoires to faucet handles and door handles, Lush works with local artisans to source vintage pieces to furnish the store and showcase product. Virtually all of the wood in any newly-constructed (and some refurbished) furniture will be made from reclaimed wood and other eco-sustainable materials, lending verisimilitude that informs the décor.
Any packaging used is created with 100% post-consumer recycled materials. Liquid products, such as shower gels, shampoos and conditioners are packaged in partnership with Ocean Legacy Foundation, a BC-based zero-waste solution foundation dedicated to collecting discarded plastic and recycling it for further use. Lush’s Marine Drive corporate headquarters in south Vancouver are now also used by Ocean Legacy to sort plastics collected and re-introduce them into manufacturing for Lush products.
Lush has long been known for its dedication to the community, even on a global basis. Examples of its community-building mindset include that testing is done on human volunteers instead of animals, launching initiatives to assist in the refugee crisis, and producing a limited-edition “GayIsOK” soap as a fundraiser for LGBTQI initiatives. In total, the brand has donated $2.8 million to 219 grassroots organizations in British Columbia alone that share its values. On the occasion of the flagship re-launch, Lush is hosting a community bike ride in August from Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the flagship, where customers can observe compounders making products on-site in a catered environment.
The privately-owned company sells shares on an invitation-only basis, helping ensure tight control over the company’s philosophy to remain cruelty-free. The brand’s passion to community engagement has helped Lush’s revenue grow from $200 million in fiscal 2013 to over $700 million in fiscal 2017. It is evident that the corporate ethos creates a virtuous cycle through community outreach and advocacy for animal rights and vulnerable groups.
Lush will open its renovated Robson Street flagship location on Thursday, August 24, 2017.
See below for more photos of the newly expanded Robson Street Lush flagship.