Product: Cosmetics, Beauty Supply & Perfume
Geographic Scope: LUSH operates more than 900 shops in 50 countries worldwide, as well as an e-commerce site and catalog.
Revenue: $50-$100 Million (USD) per year
Employees: 1,001 – 5,000 employees
Business Structure: Privately-Owned
Rivals to Target: The Body Shop, Sephora, BOMB Cosmetics
Analysis: I had never heard of LUSH's Charity Pot until Forbes writer Helaina Hovitz wrote about it. We're both lucky we found it.
The concept is simple. When you buy a Charity Pot body lotion all the money from the sale goes to the nonprofit featured on the lid. Since 2007, the promotion has raised nearly millions for hundreds of nonprofits.
Most of those nonprofits are animal welfare, environmental conservation, and humanitarian causes with annual revenues below $500,000. This program a full-time effort for LUSH. Three staff people manage the program year-round.
I love the Charity Pot program for several reasons.
1. LUSH gives 100% of the retail sale to the nonprofit. Percentage of sales programs have become a lightening rod for cause marketing controversy with people complaining about how much is going to the cause. Like LUSH, more companies should designate a product from which 100% will benefit a charity.
2. LUSH is supporting small nonprofits. These organizations often sit on the sidelines of cause marketing and watch the dollars flow to big charities like American Cancer Society, The Salvation Army and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. More companies should make giving to small nonprofits a priority.
3. LUSH is impact focused. “We find these groups when they need a lift up, and ideally, after a year, we hope to get them in a position where they don’t need us anymore,” LUSH explained to Helaina. They also support their nonprofit partners with volunteering.
Want to join the Charity Pot program? You can learn about the process here.
The natural cosmetics firm is a UK-based manufacturer and retailer of environmentally-friendly natural cosmetics and fragrances (including many vegan-friendly products). Most of LUSH's products are handmade from natural (and edible) ingredients and carry an expiration date.
LUSH was founded in 1994 by Mark Constantine and his wife Mo, who opened the first store in Poole, England the following year. It is still run by Mark Constantine, who once worked with cosmetics behemoth The Body Shop.
LUSH is a privately owned company with a small number of shares available on an invitation basis only. The company's growth is based mainly upon partnerships. There are two different types of partnership. The general partners own and operate the business and assume liability for the partnership, while the limited partners serve as investors only; they have no control over the company and are not subject to the same liabilities as the general partners. LUSH is structured in the latter way, namely a limited partnership.
The company also owned the B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful brand, which had outlets in Poole, Leeds, Covent Garden and Oxford Street, England. LUSH announced in 2009 that B would cease trading, saying "the company has NOT gone bust or bankrupt and there are no administrators involved, we are simply unable to make a profit. LUSH will be absorbing the business in order to retain the assets."
LUSH produces creams, soaps, shampoos, shower gels, lotions, moisturizers, scrubs, masks and other cosmetics for the face, hair, and body using only vegetarian or vegan recipes. Solid shampoos as well as "Toothy Tabs" which are solid toothpaste tablets are also available for purchase online and in a retail store. LUSH is also known for their bath bombs which are solid bars of sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, essential oils and natural butters that fizz out and can produce an array of colors.
As of July 2012, LUSH began selling their "Emotional Brilliance" makeup collection, which includes liquid lipsticks, liquid eyeliners, and cream shadows. LUSH also launched their first mascara, Eyes Right, under the "Emotional Brilliance" line.
LUSH products are 100% vegetarian, and often contain fruits and vegetables such as grapefruit juice, vanilla beans, avocado butter, rosemary oil, fresh papaya and coconut. However, some products contain lanolin, milk, eggs, honey, and beeswax. Parabens are used to preserve a number of the products.
LUSH products are made in factories around the world including Poole, Dorset, Toronto, Canada, Dusseldorf, Germany and Vancouver, Canada, LUSH marks its trademark black tub products with stickers of the actual creators of the product being sold, a unique trademark stamped on their recyclable polypropylene plastic black pots. The company also offers customers a way to recycle used black pots by bringing empty ones back to the store for a free Fresh Face Mask for every five returned. Most LUSH products are to be stored at room temperature, with the exception of their Fresh Face Masks, which require refrigeration due to the absence of preservatives and the main ingredients being fruits and vegetables.
Stores do not typically sell products older than four or five months and most products have a shelf life of approximately 14 months, depending on the particular item.
- Fresh handmade cosmetics
- Fighting animal testing
- Ethical buying
- 100% vegetarian
- Naked packaging
This progressive millennial is ethnically-diverse with a love for her urban atmosphere. As the quintessential fashionista, she is a single, young professional who spends her $100K annual salary shopping for beauty supplies, fragrances, fine jewelry, clothing and shoes. She loves to entertain and prefers to avoid outdoor activity.
Charitable Focus & Programs
LUSH believes it's their responsibility to advocate for the environment, animals and people in need. They are passionate about giving back to organizations locally and around the world, and they do so through their Charity Pot program, SLush Fund, FunD and their people.
In 2007, they invented a beautiful hand and body lotion called Charity Pot. 100% of the purchase price (every single penny minus the taxes) goes towards supporting humanitarian, environmental and animal rights causes locally and around the world.
Since its launch, Charity Pot has donated more than $10,000,000 to 850+ grassroots charities in 42 countries. In fact, their new Charity Pot has been reformulated to contain seven ingredients from SLush Fund projects around the world. Their SLush mandate is simple: 2% of the amount they spend on raw materials and packaging is used to invest in sustainable farming and community projects from scratch.
Apply for funding: firstname.lastname@example.org
Charity Pot isn’t the only LUSH product that’s made to give; they also created a moldable, multi-purpose soap called FUN. They're proud to say that 2.5% of the sales of each bar goes directly towards their LUSH FunD.
After the earthquake in 2011 caused a rupture at a nuclear plant and contaminated the area, it became too dangerous for children to play outside. The FunD allows us to offer funding and support to grassroots charities that work toward creating safe places for children to play in Japan.
The Power of Products & People
Sometimes, LUSH works with organizations to create limited edition LUSH products that go to helping those in need.
They’ve handmade LUSH goodies for the Vancouver Humane Society, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Freedom to Marry; and used 100% of sales (minus the taxes) to support their ongoing work. In August 2014, they partnered with the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week and Sharkwater filmmaker Rob Stewart to bring awareness to shark finning practices with a distinctive soap.
They also believe that charitable giving extends beyond monetary donations, which is why they strive to volunteer their time for charities that need hands-on support.
Their staff members frequently participate with Charity Pot partners at home and across the globe. In June 2014, their team of LUSHies lent a hand with Save the Rain in Tanzania, helping to build Rain Catchment Systems. Plus, in November 2012, they hosted ten LUSH customers on a volunteer trip to Gold Butte, Nevada to plant native species with their Charity Pot partners Friends of Nevada Wilderness.
Charitable Values (as written by LUSH)
- We believe in the true meaning of charity and authentic giving; helping those who need it most and supporting causes that they feel passionately about.
- We believe in building good relationships with their charity partners and finding ways to go beyond monetary giving to support their cause.
- We believe in the power of grassroots activism and in putting money into the hands of people who can make it go a long way.
- We believe in supporting the groups and causes that others don’t and making their program accessible to all.
- We believe being charitable is about what the donor can do for the charity; not what the charity can do for the donor.
- We believe in supporting projects that aim to tackle the root cause of the problem rather than treating the symptom. They focus on campaigning and education efforts to make societal change.
- We believe that it’s the hard work, dedication and results that matter, not how the group is registered.
- Finally, we believe in telling customers clearly how much of their money will be donated and to whom.
Notable Nonprofit Partners
850 grassroots organizations within the following cause sectors:
- Environmental Conservation
- Animal Welfare
Funding & Partnership Guidelines
Charity Pot funding goes to small, grassroots groups that have limited resources and often struggle to find funding. They support groups both in North America and around the world working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights.
Almost all the groups they fund have annual incomes of $500,000 or less and often are run entirely or predominantly by volunteers. They believe they can make the most impact by funding causes that are often overlooked by other funders, therefore they give priority to less popular issues which are more difficult to raise funds for. They're looking for organizations that push the boundaries and challenge mainstream opinion.
They support non-violent direct action groups because they feel it plays an important part in bringing about social change. Non-violent direct action includes protests and demonstrations, and other non-violent interventions.
As a campaigning company, they look for projects that create long-term systematic change and address the root cause of the problem, which aim to alter opinion and behavior through raising awareness of issues, activism, education and campaigning. For example, they campaign against Canadian tar sands and palm oil, and they also fund groups that campaign against environmental destruction caused by the production and consumption of other natural resources, as well as other environmental injustices. They also believe that while it’s vital to rescue and provide long-term care for animals, they’re also looking to support organizations that fight against the root causes of animal neglect and why animals need shelters in the first place.
They're looking for initiatives that are far reaching, rather than those that benefit than just a few individuals. They also look for projects that promote and implement viable, fair and sustainable solutions.
The majority of the projects they fund are in North America, however they care deeply about causes around the world and they often fund projects overseas. To qualify for funding, these initiatives should be run by local people, and applications from organizations based in North America working overseas will need to demonstrate how local people are involved in making decisions and implementing projects.
Their support ranges from a few hundred dollars to a maximum of $25,000 per project. They do not do blanket funding and require a detailed budget breakdown when submitting your application. They will review what percentage of annual funding is diverted to administration costs, staff salaries and fundraising.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this Prospect Research Profile has been provided by Catalist based upon curated information from hundreds of public sources. Catalist fact checkers and analysts have verified the information contained in this report, but is not held responsible for unknown inaccuracies or false claims by the company profiled.