Before the creation of Lush as we know it, there was Constantine & Weir and Cosmetics To Go.
Mark Constantine and Liz Weir first met in the early ‘70s while working at a beauty salon in the tiny seaside town of Poole, England. Mark was a trichologist (an expert in the science of the hair and scalp) and Liz was a beauty therapist. Both were interested in natural beauty products, so decided to create a business of their own.
The duo developed a small operation called Constatine & Weir making hair products for local herbalists and salons, including The Body Shop. Later, with the help of Mo Constantine, Rowena Bird and Helen Ambrosen, they’d concoct small batches of products made from their own recipes—and as The Body Shop gained popularity in the ‘80s, owner Anita Roddick bought the best-selling formulas and parted ways, leaving Constatine & Weir free to start a new venture.
Cosmetics to Go
Now free to run amok with creativity, the Constantine & Weir crew founded a new company, Cosmetics To Go. CTG exploded onto the cosmetics scene in a burst of colorful catalogs and never-before-seen items such as bath bombs, solid shampoo bars and massage bars. The founders were able to experiment and play with ingredients, innovate and focus on issues close to their hearts, like fighting against animal testing. They developed a buying policy that ensured that no supplier tested on animals and funded work that highlighted alternatives to animal testing.
Unfortunately, this halcyon period came to an abrupt end. After six short years, they’d blazed through all their money and found themselves bankrupt.
A fresh start
The arrival of Lush following the devastating loss of CTG was a humble one. The first shop was simply designed, and naked products did away with frivolous packaging—most money for this new business went into keeping things simple and sourcing fresh, quality ingredients. In fact, the Lush shops you see today aren’t much different than the very first Lush shop in Poole.
Fast forward to 1995, when Mark Wolverton and Karen Delaney-Wolverton discovered these unique shops during a trip to London. They fell in love with the philosophy behind the brand where cosmetics were made using the freshest ingredients, not tested on animals and sold fresh to customers. They worked with the founders and, in 1996, opened the very first Lush shop in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Today, there are more than 250 shops across North America all supported by head offices, factory and distribution facilities in Vancouver and Toronto.