Sep 09.7

Fresh Handmade Designs: Happy people making happy shops

Handmade is more than just a part of our name; it's an important part of who we are and what we do.

Making things by hand goes beyond just the products at LUSH. Everything we do has a handmade touch. There are real people behind every aspect of our business including the tables and furniture made by hand for our shops, our handwritten signs, and even the writing on our walls.

Made By Hand with Love: Meet Rob

Meet Rob: Woodshop manager at LUSH

Just down the street from our factory in Vancouver, is our Woodshop. All of the furniture you see in each of our shops across North America is measured, cut, sanded, nailed, and put together here. How many cosmetic companies do you know of that design their own furniture, let alone have a Woodshop to create it? At the helm of it all is Rob Moreira, our Woodshop manager who has been with LUSH for over 16 years.

How many LUSH shops were there in North America when you started?

I think there were only 4 or 5 shops, all in the Vancouver area. We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 180 shops across North America now. With refits and relocations, I've helped build furniture for over 200 shops! It takes about a week on average to build all of the furniture for one shop. (That doesn't include the installation, that's another part of creating our shops).

Why do we make our shop furniture by hand instead of big machines or getting it from a factory?

Because we don't have any robots! Not many companies have their own woodshop, but by creating it ourselves we can build the exact furniture needed for each unique location. That is pretty amazing in itself. We do have some bigger machines that help us get a bit faster with production, but the furniture is hand made with love and care.

Tell us about some of the materials you work with.

We work with wood - usually with pine, but this year we've started to build with reclaimed wood, which is more sustainable, for some special store refits and our new spas. We also work with mirror, glass, lighting fixtures and steel.

LUSH Cosmetics: Handmade furniture made from reclaimed wood.

What's it like to visit and see your handiwork in our shops?

I get a feeling of accomplishment and it makes me proud of my team. There are nine people on the Woodshop team right now, and we have a lot of projects on the go. They work really hard to make it all happen.

What LUSH philosophy do you most relate to?

Happy people making happy furniture! We also consider the environmental impact of what we do. In addition to now using the reclaimed wood, 95% of the lumber we use for our furniture is FSC certified. FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is an international not-for-profit certification and labeling system that guarantees forest products come from responsibly managed forests and verified recycled sources.

Life without LUSH would be...?

Not good, not good at all. How dare you ask me that question!

The Writing's on the Wall: Meet Nadia

Meet Nadia: Merchandise and Design at LUSH Cosmetics

While she might not have a face sticker to make her famous, Nadia has certainly made her mark in our shops across North America. A 14 year veteran at LUSH, Nadia coordinates our shop openings, refits, and merchandising as part of our Design team. The writing on the wall in every shop, and our handwritten product signs - that's Nadia's handiwork.

What is it like to see your imprint in each of our shops?

It's amazing! I do have to say it's pretty awesome to have that moment alone at the end of the day, when I can sit back and look at the wall writing I did all day in a new shop...there's no product or anything in the shop except for the furniture. The writing varies depending on the size of the shop, but it generally takes 8-13 hours in one day. It's really exciting to see the transformation from start to end.

What does "handmade" mean to you, and how does it relate to LUSH?

Handmade means everything to me; it's what I DO. I personally work best with my hands, I like to get my hands dirty and get my feet wet so to speak. So let's just say, I'm not a desk job kind of person. I love hands on creativity. On a grand scale, the word "handmade" is one of largest pieces of the puzzle at LUSH, from the handmade product, to the handmade furniture, it touches every aspect of the business and that is truly special and really allows for that personal touch.

Each LUSH shop is personalized with a handmade touch.

What makes working and making things by hand so special?

I don't really know any other way! It really brings gratitude to your soul. It's like planting a seed and watching it grow...it's important find your own authentic creativity because it's a true representation of who you are, there's nothing more transparent then that!

As we grow as a business, we still continue to design, and build our shops individually, and by hand. Most companies would find a way to streamline or mechanize the process - why is it important that we continue to put our handmade touch in all that we do?

That's just it; we're NOT like most companies. From a moral point of view, human beings are extraordinary and can do anything...and the truth is, LUSH cares about people. In an old-school kind of way the handmade touch is our "edge" these days, and a machine can absolutely not provide that human touch which is why we are so special.

Vanessa Lamont

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