The Interview: Lush head of retail Kasey Swithenbank on the expansion and elevation of its store estate - Indoors Beauty

The Interview: Lush head of retail Kasey Swithenbank on the expansion and elevation of its store estate

The Interview: Lush head of retail Kasey Swithenbank on the expansion and elevation of its store estate

When Lush was based in 1995, the model’s mission was to create beauty merchandise that had been pure and efficient. Almost 30 years on, the model has over 850 shops worldwide and an orchestrated vary of nearly 400 merchandise. It has just lately appointed a Head of Retail, Kasey Swithenbank, who began her profession as a Sales Associate in the Cardiff store earlier than shifting by means of the ranks to Supervisor and Shop Manager and then becoming a member of the UK and Ireland retail crew in 2017. While finding out, Swithenbank had deliberate to show non secular research however in her remaining yr of college, her buddy gifted her Lush’s Pink Peppermint Foot Cream and she fell in love with the model. She began her retail journey and the relaxation was historical past. As the model returns to Covent Garden in London after 10 years away (its new store has simply opened), TheTrade.magnificence spoke to Swithenbank about why bricks and mortar shops are necessary, how it’s making ready for Christmas and the way it will elevate shoppers’ procuring experiences in 2024.

What are your tasks as Head of Retail?

I lead the crew that recruits and develops Lush’s UK and Ireland Managers. I guarantee our store workers are arrange for achievement with product and model information and that store managers get the help they should handle their companies efficiently. I additionally collaborate with groups to make sure the buyer is at the coronary heart of all our resolution making. This entails spending time on store flooring with managers, groups and clients, strategising on retail initiatives, collaborating with our manufacturing groups on forecasting product gross sales, and scoping out new areas so as to add to our bodily retail portfolio.

What makes Lush stand out from different skincare and bodycare manufacturers on the market?

Our dedication not solely to sustainable cosmetics but in addition to constructing a sustainable enterprise. We take accountability for our personal waste and we’ve got our personal closed loop recycling system in Dorset, so we need not purchase new packaging any extra. We’re additionally evolving packaging-free variations of our favorite merchandise. Last yr, we celebrated 15 years of Charity Pot – a product which has helped elevate £65 million for over 13,700 grassroots charities throughout the globe. When clients store at Lush, they know they’re paying for the best, ethically sourced components. We delight ourselves on creating moderately priced, joyful, prime quality merchandise and giving again to the communities we care about.

Relaxed seating in Birmingham New Street

Why are bricks and mortar shops so necessary to Lush?

Roughly 70% of Lush’s gross sales come from our retail shops. We know clients love coming to our outlets – they see Lush as a vacation spot on the excessive road and in procuring centres, so we imagine it’s our accountability to point out individuals an excellent time and make lasting recollections for them. We place a lot emphasis on our outlets as a result of they’re the good setting for creating hubs inside every local people. For the previous 15 years we’ve been promoting a hand and physique lotion known as Charity Pot the place all the funds (minus the VAT) go on to small grass roots charities. We can’t replicate that neighborhood spirit on-line, our store groups know their areas greatest and know what’s going to be most helpful for his or her communities. Our enthusiastic store groups are additionally greatest positioned to speak our core model values to our clients.

How is the model making ready for Christmas commerce? 

We’re recruiting for over 1,000 seasonal workers and final week our ballistics crew broke the report for many bathtub bombs ever made in in the future – 207,911! We’ve been operating some beautiful, interactive inside coaching to remind our store and help groups about all the tales and folks that make our merchandise so fantastic – from the communities that develop our natural, Fair Trade components whereas rewilding their environment, to the influence our charitable donations have on grassroots organisations throughout the globe.

Bath Bombs in Broughton

How has Lush stored up with shopper demand throughout what has been a tough few years for retail?

We realized to adapt rapidly throughout the pandemic. We launched a Click & Collect service in all of our outlets and always reviewed when it will be protected sufficient to reintroduce extra companies.

When outlets reopened and we weren’t in a position to present hands-on product demos, we discovered new methods by means of tech advances akin to Lush Lens. The characteristic is out there in 30 nations and 20 totally different languages. During the previous few years we experimented with new activations akin to internet hosting our common ‘Snow Fairy’ pop up tour. We additionally launched many B2B collaborations with manufacturers we all know our clients love together with Barbie and SpongeBob and all of our outlets often host occasions with and for his or her native communities.

How has Lush’s strategy to customer support modified over the previous few years?

During the pandemic particularly, we noticed our store groups and clients transfer away from a hands-on retail expertise. However, we’ve undoubtedly seen our expertise revert again to what we’re recognized for – a fingers on service the place workers create significant connections with their clients. Having stated that, we additionally know that extra of our clients are involved in how expertise performs an element of their expertise, so we’ve elevated capabilities throughout our portfolio to permit for ‘click on and gather’ orders and clients can use ‘Lush Lens’ in the event that they need to see the product in motion earlier than they purchase. Our tech groups are working on the introduction of handheld, ‘roaming’ tills to permit for faster transactions to happen wherever in our outlets.

A vibrant show at Liverpool ONE

What are some of the issues manufacturers ought to consider when elevating shoppers’ procuring experiences?

I believe manufacturers throughout the retail business have a chance to raise buyer experiences by guaranteeing the workers on their store flooring are educated about the merchandise they’re promoting as a result of their store shows are a real illustration of their model. This is what excites and delights shoppers, so manufacturers have to go above and past to make individuals’s day by means of real interactions.

Will innovation proceed to be an element of the Lush clients’ procuring expertise? If so, then how?

Absolutely! It’s half of who we’re as a model. We are an employee-owned enterprise so listening to our workers in addition to our clients permits us to repeatedly innovate. As an instance, we’ve just lately launched our co-create venture which sees workers members from throughout the globe pitching and creating new merchandise. This led to the launch of our new Día de Los Muertos vary and I’m proud to say Angelica from our retail crew performed an enormous half in creating some of these merchandise! Over the final yr, we have actually shone a lightweight on our values by bringing the Lush manufacturing facility to our store flooring. Our outlets often host product making workshops the place our clients can create their very own Lush product to take dwelling. Reach out to your native Lush store to search out out once they’re internet hosting their subsequent event!

The Lush Spa in Oxford

What do you make of retail experiences as an entire? And what are your predictions for the future of retail?

If retailers need to stand the check of time, then they’re going to have to begin seeing their bodily shops as reminiscence makers for his or her clients. Think again to while you had been an adolescent going looking for the first time, there was at all times that one store promoting garments or equipment that assured your customized. There are occasions in our lives which can be monumental and retail will at all times play a giant half in these moments.

What’s subsequent for Lush?

We have returned to Covent Garden after 10 years away. The store opened on 3 November and it guarantees to be a hub of pleasure over the Christmas interval. The magical Lush spa shall be added to the store in the New Year and is ready to open in spring 2024. We even have some actually thrilling new developments coming, together with our new anchor store and spa on Buchanan Street in Glasgow! – the store shall be getting an unique new spa therapy with a Scottish theme, which everybody may be very enthusiastic about. As nicely as increasing Lush Lens, we’ve been focusing on in-person experiences – quite a bit of which have coincided with our collaborations (our Asteroid City slushie pop-up and Barbie house) and we’re wanting ahead to 2 very festive pop-ups that are coming to London and Liverpool very quickly!

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