My first experience of Lush was just about 10 years ago, when I saw the bright colours of the merchandising, the display of the boxing hares with the words “fight animal testing” and of course that unforgettable smell. The fact that I had been a vegetarian the majority of my life and having lived in South Africa for the first 14 years, where products like this were reasonably rare and high priced, not to mention the fact that I was predominantly covered in dirt and chillin’ with animals as a kid so bathing and cosmetics wasn’t high on my priorities list. I only learned what my mothers concealer stick was after I had moved to England and someone was using one before a games lesson in year 9. As if the shock of emigration wasn’t enough, I had to find out concealer wasn’t a lip balm? So many things were learnt in the coming years and the Internet, bloggersphere and High Street became my jungle.
As my earnings increased after leaving school and managing to work and study full time, my interests and cultural experiences increased as did the yearning for more. For the past 6/7 years, I’d been a Barista and as much as I love coffee and the amount of opportunities the industry offered, my learning and understanding of running a business became stale.
I was made redundant 3 days before Christmas as a Barista working from a sweet little setup from the back of a Piaggio Ape in a small town called Rugby. The job had perks and was enjoyable, I got to experiment with incorporating more of a creative aspect into the everyday workings of the business and learned what true OCD is. It opened doors for networking and opportunities for future business. But it wasn’t something that was going to last, and I eventually got bored and frustrated. I had become too comfortable with being uncomfortable and if not for being let go, I’d hate to see where my head would have been now. However it taught me so much that I will never forget and I’m thankful for that. So on Christmas Eve, feeling slightly lost and confused, I still needed to grab a couple of Christmas presents and something to perk myself up too. Because I’m just not good at shopping with a deadline, even if it is an annual thing, I’m just not great, okay?
Amy, my best friend and I drove to Coventry and as soon as we arrived we went straight to Lush. The store was super busy and had a positive energy as soon as you entered the store. I picked my things whilst being consulted by a couple of the staff members with Amy also being talked through the appropriate products for her. The conversations were friendly yet casual and honest with fantastic product knowledge and easily one of my favourite experiences when shopping for others as well as myself. We went over to purchase our choices excitedly and the items were wrapped up whilst they were still having a friendly chat and a few laughs over casual Christmas and retail banter. Overall we left happy with the whole experience and continued discussing it all the way to the car. By the time we arrived, we had both agreed that we couldn’t wait to use the products and that it would be amazing to work there because of the abundance of positivity that left with us from the whole atmosphere created by the staff and the products combined.
Shortly after the New Year, I got myself a waitressing job that another friend Bex told me about, just for a few months to see me through until I would find the right job that would fit around my personal business goals with the Birmingham Film Festival and Sneakerclub UK. Plus one that would benefit me in a positive way (ways even I wasn’t totally sure about but I felt like I would know when I saw it), whilst also paying the bills. After having had the experiences with working for companies with ethical principles that didn’t particularly match my beliefs, I restricted myself somewhat in where I would be willing to work and continued my search for that job. I went for a couple of interviews at other places that I thought would interest me and fit that category. Only to turn them down when it got to crunch time. All this time, my subconscious was still toying with the idea of working for Lush. I continued looking online for any available vacancies at Lush, however the only available roles were out of my “realistic zone” so I continued on my search.
Then, after running out of my Tea Tree Water I lasted a week without it and nearly had a nervous breakdown, consulted the website for anything else that I’d like and definitely wanted a bath bomb for my new fancy bath in my new flat. So convinced Amy that another Lush trip was due. We again, drove there, reminiscing about our most recent experience that previous Christmas Eve. We wondered over my eyes zoned in on a poster in the window. I was in gleeful disbelief, immediately got my phone out and took a photo and showed Amy. Then proceeded to have the exact same experience as before. Had a cheeky mention of the job role and told them I would be applying as soon as I got home and then left feeling totally and ridiculously excited to type up my cover letter and amend my CV. That evening, I did just that and sent off my application proudly. Then continued to wait for a response.
That week I had been having problems with my iPad/iPhone storage and Internet. Struggling to send and receive emails, iMessages, texts, really anything based around communication. Plus in my flat, I only get signal at the window in my lounge. So I was having a tiny excess build up of anxiety brought on by being excited/nervous and also frustrated with my devices. The day of the application deadline, I started to worry as I hadn’t heard anything. I finally managed to sort out my iCloud storage and low and behold I had received an invite to a group interview at 10AM that morning. I was devastated, because it was what I had feared most. I had not received the email on time and I was halfway through the interview, but 20 miles away sat in shock on my sofa. Wondering wether or not I was going to go into a catatonic state or full on body sobbing I made a quick decision after doing a bit of both for five minutes. I immediately called and and after a few unsuccessful attempts I finally got hold of Davey, the manager and explained everything. He was super cool and understanding and arranged another interview for Saturday and I couldn’t wait!
That Saturday I hopped on the train after a delay (Sod’s law), arriving ten minutes later and practically ran to the store. Arrived and shortly after introducing myself to a few new and familiar faces, I went upstairs into the Lush scented cloud and sat comfortably in my chair across from Davey and Paige and proceeded on with the interview. Looking back, I’m not 100% sure I remember it. I tend to not dwell on interviews after completing them for long. I just know I had a great time and about 20 minutes after I left, I had a call back inviting me to a trial shift that afternoon. I was so nervous but also excited, because I knew that that showed in my interview, it magnified in my head x100. So I went home, got some paperwork and got back on the train after a coffee and had a read through of the Lush Times (the Bible of Lush products).
Once I arrived back and found myself feeling slightly stressed (which comes with the territory of using experience from previous jobs and attempting to make it translate well into what I was doing at the time) although I was mostly confident in my actions and decisions. After completing a few different tasks and scenarios, we went back upstairs and I was told that I would hear back after Tuesday and regardless of the outcome, they would be happy to give feedback regarding the interview. Then they surprised me with a gift set, which was a really kind gesture! I was super surprised by that. I then set off home with my gift set and my hopes to get the job increased by 110%, excited to use the products and even more excited to find out if I had got the job.
So on the following Tuesday, I had just started work at my waitressing job and I got the call I had been waiting for. Davey started it off with “I’d like to give you some feedback regarding the interview”. My heart sunk, but I somehow managed to cover my premature disappointment and responded something along the line of “okay cool” and he eventually told me that I got the job and I can’t even remember my reaction. It was pure joy. And I handed in my resignation at my little part time transition job later that evening after my shift.
Lush as a business, had me hooked me from the start. From the atmosphere in store created by the knowledgable and friendly staff who know their products and are really trying to give you a fantastic experience overall if you let them. Then I float toward the products and packaging design, boasting a grand selection of incredible fresh vegan and vegetarian products to suit all needs. For me the most important bit, their ethics as a company and the campaigns they fight for, all of which are in depth and transparent with their business. Their ideas of business are highly commendable and should be looked at as an inspiration for all companies in my opinion. And I feel I have the knowledge and experience based on 10 years of working within a selection of companies in multiple industries.
Lush campaigns have mostly aligned with the campaigns I support and have been supporting for my entire life. I am their fan and loyal ambassador, through and through. The fact that I now work in one of their stores, is an amazing opportunity and I’m so happy to be there and get up and go to work in such a creative business with such a fantastic team who all show support for one another and are filled with an incredible amount of energy, you can’t help but feel positive being there. It’s only been 3 days so obviously there is still a lot of training and a lot of work involved that I don’t even know about yet, but I get a great vibe that makes me want to be a better person and business owner/leader now and continuing into the future. And this is the perfect addition to my ongoing experience. And look forward to the experiences!
That was super long and I’m sorry if I waffled. But I am apparently quite over editing this as it should of been posted almost 2 days ago now. I’ve been very good at doing all my other things on my to do list as a form of avoiding finishing and posting this post. I even booked in the doctor and went to about 3 meetings. Any way expect another post soon!