Lush is a remarkable British cosmetics business with a global brand. Launched in 1994 by six cofounders, the company is centred around helping people feel better about themselves, others, and the world around them. It walks the talk when it comes to valuing people and the world in which it operates: a staunch believer in ethical buying, it supports charities and actively campaigns on issues it believes in, from animal testing to the environment.
In 2013, Method in partnership with Lush, embarked on a programme of work that included the creation of Lush.co.uk into an editorially-led, fully responsive e-commerce platform; the redesign of Lush Times, the Lush consumer magazine and catalogue; and the creation of a new service, Lush Kitchen, where customers can buy the freshest, limited edition products that are sent the day they are made.
The Lush story is rich and inspirational, yet they are often overlooked or dismissed as a “soap shop”. The truth is remarkable: this quintessential British brand is unique in its groundbreaking and visionary approach to how it invents, ethically sources and creates fresh beauty products by hand. This handmade approach is the polar opposite to the mass-produced beauty businesses that influence how we buy cosmetics today.
As pioneers in the industry and with the aim of revolutionising it through digital, Lush approached Method to challenge how a beauty brand connects with its customers. Method led a bottom-up brand transformation programme to craft and design how its story should be told.
Together, we wanted to show the business in action: why fresh really does matter, why Lush products are effective, and how the company cares. We needed to tell these stories in an engaging entertaining ‘Lush’ way, retaining the fun British energy whilst adding a slightly more sophisticated tone to the communication to reflect its core values.
ApproachA new website
In collaboration with Lush and technical partner i-KOS, Method designed and programme-managed the development of the first beta-release of Lush.co.uk - a fully responsive eCommerce website that blends brand storytelling with product.
Digital is highly influential on how customers buy beauty products, but the best part is being able to touch and feel the products. Method wanted to capture that sensory experience, and inspire customers by showing the story behind each product. We used prototypes to show Lush how it could be online and then worked together in three-week design and development sprints, building and refining as we went. A digital style guide was also created to show the brand in application.An editorial voice
Method also created a new editorial voice for Lush Times - a quarterly print publication that is available in shops and via the website. We created a ‘window into Lush’ concept to guide design decisions. The final output was a design system that has the flexibility to blend editorial with product, connects print with digital, and can scale internationally. We then worked alongside the print team to implement the system and make sure Lush could own the process for future editions.A new service
The centrepiece of Method ‘window into Lush’ concept was a new service to create and deliver exclusive fresh cosmetics, whilst sharing the cosmetic making process. Lush Kitchen is a small batch production kitchen that hand-makes limited editions of fresh cosmetics daily for customers to buy online. Customers get a ‘behind the scenes’ view and have the chance to be part of the experience. We selected a name that represented the proposition, defined the brand and service strategy, designed the customer experience, and delivered the service as part of the beta release of Lush.co.uk.
On 31st March 2014, the brand transformation programme came together with the official launch of Lush.co.uk, Lush Times and Lush Kitchen.
The website and Lush Kitchen received a standing ovation from staff and customers have been overwhelmingly positive. The core brand messages, such as why fresh matters, are already resonating with the public:
“The new @LushLtd magazine is very insightful! Great to understand parabens and how they work. #WhatsInsideCounts”
Industry press has praised the work with stories in Marketing Week, Creative Review, as well as Econsultancy who celebrated the site for its use of responsive design.
Commercial success has also followed. Since launch, the site has attracted new audiences and sales are up 20% YOY. Lush Kitchen is already contributing to total digital sales by an average of 10%.
In the future, there will be further website refinements and new features. An international roll out is scheduled through 2014, with Brazil and Japan to launch first.
2014 UX Awards: SILVER for Best Multichannel Experience
2014 Lovie Awards: BRONZE, Website / Retail and Shopping
2014 Interactive Media Awards, Best in Class e-commerce and Best in Class Beauty+Cosmetics