I went to work today (at the SU shop) but there were a lot of people working at the same time so I volunteered not to work resulting in my first day off since being back in Norwich. So I decided to write a post about my experience with Lush as a customer and as a sales assistant, I hope I can help anyone who’s interested in making purchases in Lush or just to have a good read! A quick disclaimer is that I love my job at Lush because it’s my first ever job, as a temporary and permanent contract and I do see myself as bit of a of a workaholic because I can’t sit down and not do anything for long periods. It is strange to say since Lush is retail, but there are also many benefits on top of it.
To start off, Lush is a cosmetics company that takes pride in making fresh handmade products and is against animal testing. That being said, all of the products are vegetarian and about 80% are vegan – the 20% dominantly contain honey since it is a notorious ingredient for great skin but there are always a vegan alternative. I am not a vegetarian, but ever since I have been working at Lush, I have become more self-aware of my diet as well as buying products that are tested on animals. However, I am still guilty for buying products from brands that do test on animals, but I hope in the near future that I find better alternatives and greater quality products. There are many websites who list brands that are cruelty free, as well as Buzzfeed posts if you want a bitesize chunk 🙂 Now onto my experience as a customer.
Believe it or not, but I have only been a Lush customer since last summer and I didn’t buy my first product (Cup of Coffee, 100g/£6.75) until the day of my interview (had I waited, then I would have used my staff discount…). I started developing acne and reaching the end of my teens, it was panic mode because none of the skincare products at the drugstore were helping (I didn’t buy any high end until the end of the summer) so I looked at more natural products and who better than Lush to provide it. I used a few testers and that is how I decided I really enjoyed Cup of Coffee, but I haven’t repurchased since I found better products within the brand. Here are three of my favourite products:
- Angels on Bare Skin (100g/£6.95): Known as the best selling product of Lush, I can totally see why – hands down my favourite face product. I have just finished my third pot and it is amazing. It is suitable for all skin types, with ingredients such as kaolin to absorb the excess oil, lavender and rose to calm your skin and the almonds to brighten and tone. If you’re allergic to nuts, apparently almonds is a seed and not a nut, so this is also suitable for you people!
- American Cream (500g/£14.95): I bought the biggest bottle in store because I wasn’t kept on straight after the Christmas period so I had to stock up. My hair feels so good after switching to this conditioner because it’s thick enough for my hair but doesn’t dry it out – and it smells lush.
- Salted Coconut (100g/£7.95): I bought this when I received my job after my colleague showed this to me in store, it is a great exfoliant for your hands with the sea salt and the scent of coconut is quite strong, especially if you like the smell. Ever since I’ve been using it a couple of times a week, my hands feel so fabulous.
I have way more products than the ones I have mentioned but I just had to narrow them down. If you want a post on my Lush recommendations, then please let me know! Obviously, there are products that won’t work for everyone since there have been a few that didn’t work for me, but I can explain in simpler terms what key ingredients could benefit you the most. With bath bombs, I am still trying out all of the bath bombs available in store so I don’t have a personal favourite but my favourite bubble bar is Brightside (£4.95) because of its orange zestiness (I can make a new word why not). That being said, I will go onto my experience as a Lush employee.
Before I go in-depth on my experience and advice, I have to clear some of the most frequent comments I receive almost every shift.
- I am not annoyed with the smell, I am used to it and it hasn’t made me nose-deaf but rather my smell sense has improved.
- While the Body Shop is presented as a cruelty free company, their parent company is L’Oreal who are notorious for animal testing so their credibility is questioned.
- The bath bombs aren’t made in store, they are made at a lovely factory at Lush’s home, Poole.
- Some of the products are pricey, but it is basic economics. The cost of selling a product has to be in proportionate to the cost of making it, and since Lush uses a lot of natural ingredients than chemicals, making a product can be pricey. On top of that, all workers from stores to farmers are ensured a fair pay.
- Yes, we do need a bigger store. The store that I work in is literally a corner shop and in the last years or so, the company has exploded in popularity so there’s not enough space on the shop floor.
Onto my experience! I have anxiety (hard to tell what degree it is) and the small space makes the shop look either very quiet or very busy so you should capitalise on a busy shop to show off your customer service right? Well, I zone out a bit because I start to feel claustrophobic and the panic starts to kick in so I would rather fill or stay behind the tills so I don’t speak to everyone. But, I conquer because there are really nice customers and there are some who are, meh. Since Lush feels like a happy place with happy sales assistants and happy customers, it is difficult to just leave customers since the attention is always on them than our own tasks. I’ll give an example which I think everyone of the retail world has faced.
One of the key training that we receive is approaching customers and make conversation with them by helping them find what they’re looking for. Half of them do accept the offer or approach me for help, whilst the other half decline or just ignore me completely. But within the other half, there are those who politely decline because they are just browsing, and then there are those who just bluntly say no – I know it can be unintentional, but I feel like they forget that it’s my job to help them as well as show products they’re unsure of. But at the same time, it can feel like a slap in the face since they want to know what products would suit them but don’t want help – we’ll be helping each other out if you just ask!!! I understand that there are some who just want to figure things out themselves without the pressure of choosing things there and then but by just steering you in the right direction is enough.
As mentioned with the rising popularity of Lush, there are dedicated pages and groups to the brand where everyone discusses their favourite products and whatnot. But one thing that does irk me is how sales assistants (and especially temporary staff) are criticised for their lack of knowledge of certain products when they are being paid to learn about the products and the company history. It’s like the saying of respecting the retail staff because you don’t want to be the hot topic in the staffroom (there have been a few people guilty of that) – these sales assistants are providing you a service but by disrespecting them, they also have the authority to not serve you. That in itself, is the biggest lesson I have learned whilst working at Lush because it’s made me more aware of being a customer in other stores.
A final point about my experience as a Lush employee is that we are by no means, dermatologists. When looking at skincare, we do skin consultations but we are not qualified to tell you that you need to use a particular product, it goes down to what you want to do. For example, if you’re looking for a moisturiser, I will try my best to find and even try a moisturiser that would suit you best. Same with toners or cleansers or face masks – the great thing is that you are allowed to take a free sample to see how the product is like in your own time than in store so don’t hesitate to ask!!! There is no guarantee that it will work for you if it works for someone else but some products like Dream Cream (240g/£12.50) are seen as a universal product (everyone who have used Dream Cream swear by it). Another great thing about the skincare section is that most of them are in black pots and when you have 5 clean black pots, you can trade them in for a free fresh face mask worth £6.75!
There you have it: a super long post about my Lush experience as a customer and as a sales assistant. In summary, my best advice I can give you when shopping at Lush in store are:
- Don’t be afraid to speak to any of the sales assistant, we don’t intend to look intimidating and it is our job to help, after all.
- If you want to see how a product works, don’t hesitate to ask! Same goes with samples to try out.
- If you know what to buy, we will show you where to find it on the shop floor (though I do appreciate those who come into store with a list)
- If you ask for a product and they’re sold out, it’s not the end of the world since there’s a weekly delivery so just come into store on delivery day 🙂
I hope you enjoy this post, apologies if it is very waffle-y and you don’t have the information you wanted from my title but like I said, I am happy to do a follow up with product recommendations or the important ingredients that have crucial benefits. Until next time, have a lovely day.