Aimee O'Donnell Saunders

In the Kingston Market Place, in the autumn of 1999, Aimee O’Donnell Saunders became hooked on the idea of LUSH, on cosmetics made FRESH, out of beautiful, active ingredients. The products have been a part of her life (and bathroom) ever since. As luck would have it, Aimee got a temporary job at the Powell Street shop in San Francisco in November 2004. Another toss of the LUSH dice found her keeping that job well beyond the holidays as she’s still around! Aimee’s enjoyed the opportunity to be a Product Trainer for North America for over 7 years, travel extensively, and work with LUSH folk in a plethora of projects. She is known for ever-changing hairstyles, favoring bold patterns and bright colors, and rowdy cheering at baseball games. You can find her in San Francisco most days - just follow the scent of Furze perfume.

Jul 07.19

Powell Street Debuts Eco-Inspired Design

LUSH Life >> Community

Since opening in 2002, we've been making the block between Geary and O’Farrell streets the most pleasantly fragrant corridor on the Powell Street Cable Car line. 

Riders of the iconic San Francisco trolleys are regularly treated to bubble salutes from staff outside and the shop has been a destination for legions of visitors coming to San Francisco each year. Located near the Market Street parade routes, Powell Street celebrates all of the San Francisco holidays - from Chinese New Year, St. Patrick’s Day, Pride, Halloween, and Giants’ home games. It’s a place abuzz with activity and the hustle of a unique urban downtown. 

When we were searching for the perfect spot to expand into the US from our North American beginnings in Canada, we found it in a historical building with a unique location. And the rest is history. Within the past decade our business has blossomed to over 200 shop locations across Canada and the US. Powell Street will always hold special prestige with their status as our first US shop, but now they have a new claim to fame. 

After more than a year of planning and extensive renovations, our flagship shop in San Francisco has just reopened. Not only does it hold the honor of being our first shop in the US, but now it's also the greenest shop. “It’s our eco-inspired shop,” says our Environmental Officer, Shama Alexander, who designed and sourced material for the shop along with our Design and Woodshop teams. The significance of doing it in San Francisco, birthplace to so much innovation and conscious thought was a natural choice in many ways. “LUSH wanted to construct our first eco-inspired shop in a special location,” said Shama. “Powell Street is our flagship store in the US, the start of our brand across the border. Being a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, I have always known my hometown to lead great social and environmental movements.” While you’ll find environmentally conscious design and materials like our Knot-Wrap service and our aprons made from recycled tablecloths in all of our shops, Powell Street is our very first shop in North America to be outfitted this fully with deliberate, responsibly-sourced design.

The best word to describe the redesign is one borrowed from some of its new elements:  reclaimed. Upon entering through the front doors, the immediate impression is just how cozy it feels. Shop Designer Lisa Mattarollo says the goal for the space was, “to feel inviting, welcoming and comforting. The new concept design is focused around the consultation table, which gives the space an old English feel of a heart-to-heart chat around a kitchen table.  We want the customer to feel welcomed into the space to receive their personal consultation.”

A big piece of the warmth in the new design is the repurposed wood used. It comes from a barn in Woodburn, Oregon. Originally built in 1937, it has richness and warmth imparted from being in the elements for decades. The barn wood just happens to be as old as the Golden Gate Bridge, also finished in ’37. In our LUSH Woodshop, the barn sections became newly fashioned tabletops, shelving, planter boxes and even blocks for testers. Chairs were sourced second-hand in Vancouver and hand painted at the LUSH Design studio.

We went quite a bit further than just using reclaimed wood. Eco-conscious upgrades can be found from the ceilings to the floor. The entire shop is now lit with LED lighting, and flooring tiles were installed that are made with 58% post-consumer recycled content. At the sink where customers can try out our products and the staff can prep for a demonstration, the glass backsplash was chosen over ceramic tiles, for its use of 70% recycled material. San Francisco has always led the effort toward recycling and composting, and now our shop is equipped with stations for both with easy access for customers and staff to readily make use of. Even our walls live up to our ethics: we chose non-toxic paint and wood stains free of both VOC (volatile organic compounds) and petroleum, and of course not tested on animals. The storefront outside was also freshly updated and treated with zero-VOC stains. An added benefit it that it’s also ultra-low odor, so even though it’s freshly painted throughout - all you can smell is LUSH. It’s the best of both worlds.

Aside from these choices, the new design creates a better flow for the staff and customers, while adding much needed shop storage for all of our products. These are welcome changes for the vibrant LUSH staff employed at Powell Street. Chelsea Stieg, the shop manager beams while reporting on her shop’s first few days back open: “Powell Street is a very special shop, and an extremely human shop. The amount of love, pride and personality is evident the moment you walk through the doors. The most exciting part for me is seeing old friends and their reaction to the new store, and being able to bring that passion to new customers as well. I'm so proud to have been able to do this with the amazing team we have at the shop.”

For over a decade, our Powell Street shop has welcomed SF locals and visitors from all across the globe to the world of LUSH. Droves of people have discovered LUSH here, or have paid us a visit while vacationing nearby. Many more dedicated locals routinely pick up their Fresh Face Masks and other favorites, and we’re excited to see our customers’ reactions to our changes. Many have been a part of our history over these years, too. 

It wouldn't be LUSH if we didn't throw a party to celebrate. Join us on Saturday July 20 from 12noon until 5pm. LUSH Compounders will be here to show off their skills and make fresh products. Experience a complimentary face treatment at our new consultation table, while enjoying vegan treats to eat. We’re delighted to celebrate the day with Charity Pot Partners, The Beagle Freedom Project who will be in-store too. There's a lot to see and explore with us on Saturday, please come down and join us!

Above all, we’re toasting our very first US shop being refreshed and revitalized with the very greenest design. We’ve truly come full-circle, but arrived somewhere new.  

Visit LUSH on Powell Street: 240 Powell St; San Francisco, CA 94102-2206

Phone: (415) 693-9633 or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LUSHPowellSt

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