REVIEW: Danger! Cosmetics To Go: A cosmetic company on the edge. The story before LUSH....

Want to take a trip down LUSH memory lane? Read more to find out the history behind the iconic British company.

So let me take you down memory lane. Back to 1977 in fact, when a beautician called Liz Weir and a hair doctor called Mark Constantine, were working at a salon together in Poole, Dorset (coincidentally, the same hair salon my Mum's hairdresser started at!). Together, now in the 1980s, Mark and Mo Mark started to experiment making their own cosmetics in their spare bedroom. This led them to set up what they named: ‘Herbal Hair and Beauty Clinic’ in 29 High Street in Poole (later this will become the first ever LUSH shop, my little home for what seemed years! Attached is a little photo, for those who like pictures to their stories!). This innovative clinic offered treatments to customers of Poole and all over Dorset, using only natural, herbal products that Mark and Mo themselves had invented. Creations such as the infamous LUSH products we all know and love such as bath ballistics, patented solid shampoo bars and pourable soap.

During this same period another natural beauty company was about to become a global phenomenon: Anita Roddick’s ‘The Body Shop'. Mark then decided to take some of his products to Anika herself, to see if she would like to sell them. Anika was captured by the creativity and originality of the products Mark and Mo had invented and this soon led to Mark supplying 'The Body Shop' with their fresh, handmade cosmetics. Those classic Body Shop we all know and love, like the Cocoa Butter Hand and Body Lotion to the Ice Blue Shampoo and Peppermint Foot Lotion, these lovely beauty wonders were all dreamt up by Mark and Mo.

After a while however, Mark and Mo decided to end their partnership with Anita Roddick and this led them to setting up their very own company: 'Cosmetics To Go' on 29th February 1988. CTG, as it is often know, was a mail order business, which sold Mark and Mo's inventive and unusual range of beauty products. So many wonderful, iconic products, and just far to many to reel off without leaving something wonderful out. But to name a few, Mark and Mo launched the Khufu range for men, featuring Egyptian inspired face-care products. They also perfected fresh face-masks, Botanomancy, which listed every single product ingredient. They too launched a range called 'Baby Revels', which at the time, was the only cruelty and chemical-free baby range available. And then just simple but very much loved products as simple as a shower gel, like 'Happy Hippy' started life back in the CTG days and still remains a huge favourite today in the LUSH range.

Excitedly for Mark and Mo, 'Cosmetics To Go' soon become a phenomenal success. Thousands of orders were being placed every single day. So, what could possibly go wrong? Well, in July 1993 'Cosmetics To Go' announced a summer sale that was far too popular for its own good. Lots of extra people were ordering, but money was pouring out of the company and operations were cracking at the seams. The company increased the number of phone lines from eight to 12 and then 24 but it was still not enough to cope with the demand, and coupled with a systems crash, a devastating loss of data, and an inability to fulfill customer orders, 'Cosmetics To Go' sadly went into administration on 17th January 1994.

Thankfully it wasn’t too long before Mark and Mo, and the other founders picked themselves up again, dusted themselves off and all cobbled together what they could from the remains of the business left at 29 High Street in Poole. They had just about enough to make a fresh batch of soap and sell it to a handful of loyal customers. And loyal customers they were; because when news had spread that the doors of the Poole shop had reopened, people got really excited that they might be able to get their hands on their favourite products again. Money was now tight, but the founders managed to club together enough money to mail out a small catalogue to their old customers and ask them for their help to name the company. You will of course all know this name was 'LUSH'.

And here the story goes from strength to strength. With lessons learnt things were on the up, and in 1995 LUSH had enough financial backing to open a second and third shop in Covent Garden and the King’s Road in London. It was the King’s Road shop turned LUSH into an instant worldwide success after many massive A-list celebrities, like Madonna and Julia Roberts were spotted picking up the unique handmade, beauty products.

Now if you've reached here in this post, I love you, I really do! I really wanted to explain this wonderful story because LUSH is a huge part of my life. My hometown is the land of LUSH and wherever you go you cannot escape it. Whether that be someone who works for the factories which are spread around the connabation or someone who knows someone who knows someone somehow involved in the LUSH story! I worked at the very first LUSH shop, that iconic 29 High Street throughout my student years and have such cherished memories. For me this book is such a joy because I feel so happy to have been apart of this truly unique company and also because it is something that truly as I said represents my hometown and one of their biggest successes.

This book told so wonderfully tells the story of the meteoric rise and devastating fall of the dynamic cosmetics brand that has truly revolutionised  the cosmetic industry, and enchanted customers all over the world. Mira Manga, both an ex-LUSH worker and a true Lushie documents this so perfectly and was a wonderful choice for an author. The book has a true lesson that runs throughout: never give up. Never ever. If you are a business owner like me, or if you want to start to make a living from your dreams like Mark and Mo, then always, always take that one more step of courage, and for them, that was LUSH. Now, do I need to explain how much of a success that has become? Just sniff it out on your local high street ;).

If you want to buy this book and immerse yourself in a little trip down LUSH memory lane click here.


1 comment:

  1. I love this and the never give up part ever! I want to buy this book now :) xx


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