My current daily shower routine begins with Trichomania, then a dash of Miranda and Jungle. It’s the only way I can wake up, and when I don’t have Lush I pine for it… I’m hooked. And as I have some of my best ideas in the shower too, I realised that Lush is one of the only majorly successful businesses I genuinely admire. Now brand loyalty for me has always seemed like a total myth. I’m not loyal to my bank, my supermarket or any other big corporation – despite the cards in my purse which suggest otherwise. And yet as a business owner, loyalty is something I’d love to inspire from my customers. So I began to wonder if I could make my wedding business a little more, you know, Lush.
How Lush is your wedding business?
Lush is really worthy of our respect and admiration. They’re ethical and honest, creative and friendly. And their products are just beautiful. They also innovate all the time. Supertramp? Oh, yes pleeease… But how can I be more like them?
1. The success factor
Lush is indisputably a successful brand. With a turnover of millions, founders Mark and Mo aren’t short of spendybuttons – although as I’ve said before, success is just earning what you need to be happy. It might be £15k a year; it might be £150k.
Me: I think I score ok when I think of my own brands’ success. I earn enough to do the things I love. I’d like to earn enough to not work in the evenings, but there’s time. I give myself 4/5.
Lush isn’t owned by a massive multinational corporation like L’Oreal (nice one, Body Shop… not) and stands on its own two feet. It means they have a voice: in February they stood up to Amazon who were describing rival products as “lush” by creating a new shower gel which they named Christopher North with the tagline “rich, thick and full of it”. You can’t say what you think when someone owns you.
Me: I choose who I work with and feature on the blog; I say no to big brand sponsors if I don’t like them and I don’t suck up to anyone. I say what I think. My calligraphy business is wholly mine – and maybe I’m a bit of a control freak but for independence I give myself 5/5.
3. Ethical business
Lush actively campaign, as a business, against animal testing and for genuinely fair trade. Their ethics are inscrutable. They use recycled everything. Their gas and electric come from Ecotricity. They support real fair trade.
Me: Now I try quite hard but I could do better. I’m totally against animal testing and careful with the products I buy, I look for the fair trade logo on my cocoa, and I recycle – most of the time. Oh and my laptop is powered by Ecotricity – they’re awesome. 3/5 for me!
Golden eggs, Lust, Space Girl… the names are creative; the products are colourful and always changing. Lush diversify: in the last few years they’ve launched Lush spas, Gorilla perfumes, and dozens of new products – as well as bringing back old ones with Retro and the Lush Kitchen. Creativity stimulates a business as well as keeping customers hungry for more.
Me: I don’t put aside enough time for creativity, but luckily my customers ask for weird and wonderful things so I do get to invent things sometimes. My best creative outlet is photo shoots and collaborations, which I’ve loved doing this year. 3/5
5. Customer friendliness
Here’s one no business can afford to neglect, large or small. And it’s easy. Be helpful, friendly and responsive. Go a step further – and this is more than offering freebies, it’s about a personal touch. The first time I bought Lush henna the online shop had a comments form, and I put “wish me luck with the henna, it’s my first time!” When the henna arrived there was a little note from the guy who’d packed it for me: “Good luck with the henna!” That was about 10 years ago.
Me: I like to think I give good customer experience – I’m friendly in all my communications; I pack every order like it’s a present so it’s exciting to receive; I make sure I give a really personal service. I could do more to follow up and check my customers are happy… so 4/5
Can I make my wedding business a little Lushier?
Writing this has given me some ideas and things I can improve on, and I’ve learned a little about my business style today. I’d love to know which businesses inspire you and why, and how you compare to them. Is there something your favourite brand does which you think you can do too? Tell me! Get in touch at www.facebook.com/EnglishWedding