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Some of LUSH’s most successful product launches over the last few years, including the wildly innovative FUN, have been down to Jack Constantine, the son of Mark who started the company way back when. The LUSH family represents a rare quality in the cosmetics industry, weaving together passion, ethics, innovation, technology and excitement, they are a company I’ve always had a special place for. So, I was lucky to get an exclusive interview with Jack which I think you’re really going to enjoy…
From Constantine & Weir, to Cosmetics To Go and then LUSH, you’ve grown up in a world of weird and wonderful cosmetics with a particularly inspiring and hugely successful, entrepreneurial mother and father. What are some of your most vivid memories of this growing up?
“I have a lot of memories of the different businesses throughout my childhood, because my parents raised us while they worked, so we spent most of our time in the workplace. I would spend time under various desks and board tables drawing pictures and playing whilst dad was having meetings and making serious decisions. I remember one meeting in the Cosmetics To Go days when I was about 6 and I was drawing under the meeting table at the graphic design studio whilst everyone above was working on the next edition of the vividly colourful and customer oriented catalogue. They had just invented the shampoo bar, and were struggling with a name for the range, so I chirped up from under the table “why don’t you call it ‘I Not A Soap I A Shampoo Bar’?” – so they did.”
What does your role at LUSH involve? What sort of things do you get up to?
“Lush is a very unique working environment. No one has a job title or job description, and there is barely a hierarchy (but plenty of anarchy) so my role at Lush varies, and involves lots of different things depending on the day of the week! the most predominant areas I contribute to is product development and our digital/online business. Dad believes in a very serendipitous approach to developing staff’s skills and talents – which basically means juggling staff around based on their passions, and talents to different areas of the business when applicable. It’s a great way to build a lot of base skills, which you can that adapt and use as you progress. I started in the graphic design department of the business – probably some subconscious connection to drawing under the table when I was 6!”
Does Mark keep a tight rein or are you allowed to be as free as your mind will let you and does this ever lead to arguments?
“Dad is definitely the Captain of the ship, but within that we all get a lot of free reign to develop and build the business – just don’t touch the steering wheel…”
With your wife Rachel, four children, five cats and a dog – how do they inspire you to create new, innovative and exciting product technology for LUSH?
“Children are always inspiring. They always have such a fresh and unusual perspective on everyday life that makes you smile to the core. I often try to make products for my wife in a romantic gesture – but normally end up giving her a bespoke bath bomb that hasn’t been tested, and she ends up with purple skin or such like. I often get excited about coming home and showing my family some new concoction I’ve been working on. The seed in my mind at the moment is to create the ultimate romantic bath product for my wife, so we’ll see how that goes!”
What has been your favourite creation to date?
“My favourite creation is Dragon’s Egg bath bomb because it was my first invention, and it started of as this ‘everlasting gobstopper’ bath bomb that weighed about 1kg, and just kept fizzing and fizzing with different layers! I felt like Willy Wonka! it was great fun, and definitely my favourite moment in the lab.”
Can you talk us through your daily skincare regime, what are your favourite products and have you got any top tips?
“I’m all about mum’s new product invention FUN at the moment! It’s so simple, and so multipurpose I use the green (lime) FUN everyday to wash my hair, my face, my body and it’s very softening with talc and cornstarch in there. I love shaving with the minty Dirty Shaving Cream, it wakes me up in the morning. I sometimes use Angels on Bare Skin cleanser because I’m prone to black heads. I use R&B hair moisturiser on my hair to tame the frizz on my curls. If it’s bitterly cold, then I use Ultrabalm on my lips in these winter months.”
There’s a huge, flash flood about to hit a LUSH store, you’re inside and you only have time to grab three products. Which do you choose and why?
“Dirty Body Spray, because if I’m going to have to run I need to smell good; lots of Green FUN; and finally… R&B hair moisturiser. Also, if a flash flood hit a LUSH store, that would be the fizziest and best smelling flash flood ever!”
We can’t let you go without trying to get hold of an exclusive, what do we have to look forward to in 2013?
“I really couldn’t tell you. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that when it comes to product development, it normally takes 3 months from lab to shop floor, so we haven’t started on 2013 products yet really! I’ve got some big ideas for our bath range though…”
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