“We are pretty recession-proof,” understated Lush North America’s Chief Operating Officer Andy McNevin. “The economy’s been soft in the US and Canada, but we’re still posting double-digit growth.”
A Very Merry Christmas
In fact, North American sales soared from $169 million in fiscal to 2014 to $300 million in 2015, and company executives expect sales to top $400 million in fiscal 2016. What exactly is the draw? McNevin maintains the company’s fresh ingredients, novel product line and devotion to sustainability, is what has consumers clamoring for more—especially this holiday season.
“Sales will rise 44% for Christmas,” McNevin predicted.
To achieve that aggressive projection, Lush’s 15,000 employees around the world expect to churn out and then sell out more than 200 new products between now and the first quarter of 2016. The new product blitz came from the lead up to the opening of Lush Oxford Street, a three-story, 9000-foot retail space and spa in London. But no matter how many products it introduces, all company creations are made in-house and all facilities are within a couple of days drive to retail stores.
“The freshness of our products enables us to get these new products to market quickly,” explained CEO Mark Wolverton, Lush North America. “This innovation and agility is what sets us apart in the market.”
Customer allegiance to the brand makes it unique as well. Lush has never had a traditional advertising plan. Instead, the company has always relied on word of mouth.
“We did social media before there was social media,” noted Wolverton.
Room to Grow
But now, digital plays a big role in getting the word out. The company has more than 250,000 followers on Twitter, nearly a one million likes on Facebook and 1.7 million followers on Instagram. No wonder why the company’s global digital sales have risen from $43 million in 2012 to $80 million in 2015. North American digital sales are expected to grow 50% in fiscal 2016 to $44 million, according Lush’s projections.
With millions of Lush fans around the world and growing every day, Wolverton is confident that there’s plenty of room for the company to grow in the global cosmetics industry.
“Look, the market is a $320 billion industry,” he told Happi. “L’Oréal has a 12% share; we have less than a half of 1% of the market.”
To boost its share of the market, Lush is entering new categories in the coming months, with new offerings in oral care, color cosmetics and hair care.
But even as it expands in new markets, with new and bigger stores and new products—not to mention more employees, and down the road, more manufacturing facilities (Lush currently operates seven manufacturing sites around the world including two in Canada)—the Lush team is determined to remain true to the causes it supports and the commitment to create 100% vegetarian products that also happen to be more than 80% vegan. Products are never tested on animals either. Now company executives are looking into a fleet of delivery trucks that are petrol-free.
Lush supports a diverse collection of causes including gay rights, shark protection and polyethylene bead bans. But instead of being viewed as an anomaly in the beauty business, Wolverton said more multinationals should follow Lush’s lead and develop products that have a limited impact on the world’s resources.
“Why are companies selling $100 products that are really just $95 worth of packaging?” he asked.
Lush is the complete package, Wolverton insists, for consumers who are trying to look their best and keep the world looking good as well.