Life In The 'LUSH' Lane: A Chat With The Team That Brought The Cosmetics Brand Into Malaysia
October 8, 2018 | BY Kathlyn D'Souza
As the long-awaited and much-loved brand LUSH officially opens its store in Malaysia, fans (otherwise known as Lushies) swarm its Pavilion boutique for some of the best masks, scrubs, lotions and bath bombs. We get together with its LUSH Malaysia director Harvinder Harchand, its global PR Karen Huxley and 'All Things To Everyone' Steve Brackstone for a quick chat mere hours before its grand launch.
Hi Harvinder, tell us about yourself.
"I was a flight attendant for Malaysia Airlines for 12 years and simultaneously studied accountancy degree, before delving into the retail line for another 11 years. Once I – well, once I had enough of working hours, I’d say – I decided to do my Master’s. It was in 2016 that I started talking to LUSH, so it took us approximately 2 years to have this brand finally come to Malaysia."
What made you want to bring LUSH into Malaysia?
"Where I was working previously, we did approach LUSH because I thought the brand was very good. But things didn't fall through. So when I was on a break from my Master’s, I thought: why don’t I talk to Steve again? He was lovely to accommodate me.We talked and sent business plans across. After that, he invited me to Thailand to come and see the store, and then the founders came in January. Things took off in 2017, and now, here we are!"
Watch how the store began preparing for its opening below:
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Describe your relationship with LUSH.
"Actually, I love the brand for what its core beliefs and ethical values are, and how it presents itself. And I like the idea of going into the store and the retail staff do not summon you to buy, but instead, they teach you a lot about the brand, and do a lot of demos on your skin for you. That’s very rarely found. In any other shopping environment, it’s more of a ‘this is what we have, and this is what we don’t have’ kind of thing.
"But LUSH is so different. The staff take you on a tour. I also love the campaigns that they do; it’s very go-green, and aims at saving our planet. I have been in that mode all the time since I was young because my father always used to do charity. I felt that it just resonated well."
I also love the campaigns that they do; it’s very go-green, and aims at saving our planet.
Now, Steve and Karen, if you were stuck in a lift with someone who has never heard of Lush before, what would you say to them to get them interested?
Steve: "If I had the products with me at the time, I would probably go for a live demo and explain what that product is, and the ingredients that go into it.
The answers to many questions are all in the products – the answer to life’s questions are in the products!"
Karen: "I would also like to add, that I would ask them what they are passionate about and what they care about. There’s always something that we have as a brand that will resonate with every person.
"There’s a shop full of products which have a story behind them – from where we sourced the ingredients from, to the projects we work with around the world, the communities we work with, about how we don’t test on animals and the levels we go to find alternative tests. Whatever you’re passionate about, whether it is animal welfare, or human rights or saving the planet, or effective product … there is something for everybody.
"Our customers come in, and we want to find out what they care about, as there is always something in our store that we can show and tell them. There are effective products, but there are so many layers to it. The shop is just the tip of the iceberg!"
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Just over 40% of our products are naked packaging. This New hair shampoo Bar, a full stimulating infusion of peppermint and cinnamon oil that stimulates healthy hair growth. The eco-friendly bar is equivalent to three 250g bottles of liquid shampoo and can last up to 100 washes! #lushmalaysia #lushpavilionkl #BeCrueltyFree #newshampoobar #solid #naked #noplastic #solidshampoo
Whatever you’re passionate about, whether it is animal welfare, or human rights or saving the planet, or effective product … there is something for everybody.
What are your top three favourite products from the store?
Harvinder: "I think it depends on how you would want to feel for the day. I do try all their masks. If I feel a bit too exhausted and I want to be bit less wrinkly, I’d use the Rosy Cheeks face masks, which work very well. But sometimes, I feel like it’s not what I want because I get too oily, so I’m going to want to use a mask that’s mattifying. So, it depends on how I would want to feel.
"Sometimes I have bad hair days, so if it gets too flat I might want to use the Jersey Bounce shampoo. But one of our best creations is the ‘Toothy Tabs’, because it’s easy to carry and convenient. Also our shampoo bars because it’s so handy and it’ll last you a long time. I think that’s very innovative, and saves on plastic waste."
Steve: "I would agree with the shampoo bars – definitely. Naked products, no packaging, and you get so many washes out of it – at least 80! I also like the bath bombs because they’re fun, and again come with no packaging. It contains bicarbonate soda and citric acid mixed together, which will soften the water and is really kind for the skin. Lots of different colours, do bath arts, etc.
"The other one is probably Catastrophe Cosmetics face mask, which contain fresh fruits, which is really good for my skin. That just makes me feel revitalised."
Karen: "I would say the Knot-Wraps. We have gift boxes in the store, but we have these beautiful scarves – made of recycled plastic bottles! You get something really beautiful made out of plastic waste. That's very lovely.
"Also, I like the solid soaps, because it’s underrated and versatile. People have this notion that liquid soaps are more hygienic because it’s in a pump, but in actual fact, it is not! Solid soap is an alkali so bacteria does not grow on it. We hand-pour ours and use a palm-free base – we’re a vegetarian company so we don’t want to use animal fat – but still don’t want to take part in deforestation. So, we use grapeseed, sunflower and coconut oil. I also love our scrubs – one called Scrubee. It contains natural exfoliants and softening butters."
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