Mark Constantine, a trained trichologist (one who studies the health of hair and scalp) and Liz Weir, a beauty therapist, met in a hair and beauty salon in Poole, England. A few years later, they decided to branch out and start their own business selling natural hair and beauty products. They set to work in their homes creating products with fresh, natural ingredients for the hair and skin.
In the early 80s, Mark read about Anita Roddick who had just started The Body Shop. He thought she sounded like-minded, so called her and offered her some of his products. She put in an order for £1,200 to start with, and from there Mark and Liz developed phenomenal products for The Body Shop and became the company's biggest supplier for over a decade. It was at this point The Body Shop decided to buy their product formulas.
The Body Shop's purchase of their product formulas forbade Mark and Liz from opening another retail shop for five years, so they setup a mail order cosmetics company called Cosmetics-To-Go. They lavished all their money and attention on it, and it was a very successful although complicated venture that ended up burning out. The company went into administration and sold to someone from Poole, who took the product formulas and the Cosmetics-To-Go name.
Mark and Liz, along with Mo Constantine, Helen Ambrosen, Rowena Bird and Paul Greaves from Cosmetics-To-Go, spent what little money they had left on fresh fruits and vegetables at the market. In a little shop in Poole, they hand made products upstairs that were being sold downstairs. They had previously been paying another company to come up with the fragrances for their products, but found out the perfumes weren't always pure, so Mark decided he would create the perfumes himself. A competition was launched for customers to give the company a new name. One customer suggested LUSH, which is defined as being fresh, green, verdant and drunken women and we thought it fitted us very well.
On a trip to England, Canadians Mark and Karen Wolverton came across the fragrant, colorful shop that is LUSH and immediately knew they wanted to bring it to North America. In 1996 the first international LUSH was opened in Vancouver, with a cosmetic kitchen (factory) nearby. In 2003 the first American store opened in San Francisco. We now have over 210 shops in North America, all supplied by the two cosmetic kitchens in Canada.
In 2007 we launched Charity Pot, a hand and body lotion that softens skin and warms hearts. 100% of the purchase price (every single penny minus taxes) goes into our Charity Pot fund, which is donated to environmental, humanitarian and animal rights charities. In the first five years, we donated two million dollars to charities through the Charity Pot program.
Where we can, we make products into solid form so we can ditch the packaging and preservatives; almost half of our products are naked. When we do use packaging, we want it to be environmentally-friendly. We pushed our suppliers to source 100% recycled pots and bottles, so we could avoid virgin plastic, reduce energy on bottle production and save bottles from landfills. In 2008 we made the switch to 100% PCR bottles.
The annual LUSH Prize is designed to reward individuals working in the field of cruelty-free scientific research, awareness-raising and lobbying to help bring an end to animal testing. The annual £250,000 prize fund was awarded to scientists, campaigners, lobbyists, training specialists and young researchers working to replace animal testing with methods that are both more humane and more effective.