Lush Cosmetics prepares to reopen expanded Robson Street store

Company famous for natural, handmade cosmetics first opened 20 years ago in Vancouver

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Lush Robson Street giant sink
The colours of a bath bomb illuminate the store's giant sink.

Vancouver-based natural beauty brand Lush Cosmetics will celebrate 20 years on Robson Street when it reopens its expanded flagship store August 24, 2017.

The Robson Street store has nearly doubled in size to 2,340 sq ft., and is one of the first Lush locations in North America to be revamped to the new standard, something the company plans to do with 30 more locations this year.

Chief Operating Officer Andy McNevin says it all represents a shift for Lush’s retail strategy.

“We are going to focus on investing in creating better customer experiences in the stores that we have — refitting and adding elements, or moving to a larger store,” he says.

At a time when many retailers are closing or reducing the number of brick-and-mortar locations in favour of online sales, Lush is making a big bet on destination retail.

A large sink for experiencing products like Lush’s famous bath bombs and jellies is located at the entrance to the Robson Street store. Skincare is a focal point of the revamped space, and there are several “consultation stations” located throughout. Lush says skincare products accounted for 37 per cent of the Robson Street location’s sales — a much higher percentage than elsewhere.

The store features vintage lighting fixtures and furniture throughout. Lush has its own woodworking shop in Vancouver, and manufactured almost all of the store’s displays and fixtures from reclaimed wood sourced from the Pacific Northwest. In fact, all of the furniture seen in Lush stores across North America is made locally in Vancouver.

The Robson Street location was one of the company’s first shops to open in North America, and has helped generate more than 1,000 local jobs in retail and manufacturing since 1996.

“We are very proud to be here in Vancouver,” says McNevin. “It’s always been a very special store to us, not just because we run the business from Vancouver, but because Robson has always been a very prominent retail destination. Having a store here has really helped us with global awareness.”

Many of Lush’s products are made locally at their manufacturing facility in south Vancouver as well as in Toronto, and the company uses local suppliers extensively. Lush has purchased many local, natural products including 30 metric tonnes of B.C. honey and 5,000 litres of B.C. seaweed.

The company has donated $2.8 million to community organizations in B.C. over the past 10 years and is a vocal opponent of the trophy hunting of grizzly bears in B.C. The company collected 78,000 signatures on a petition opposing the hunt and delivered it to the previous BC Liberal government earlier this year. A trophy hunting ban was recently announced by the new BC NDP government and will take effect November 30, 2017.

Lush was founded in Poole, U.K. and has 250 locations in North America. There are 900 stores worldwide. All products are vegetarian, around 85 per cent are vegan, and products are never tested on animals.

Neon sign
Neon sign “The Art of Bathing” at Lush’s Robson Street flagship store.
Lush Mouthcare
Oral care, including lip scrubs, tablet toothpaste, mouthwash and tooth powders.
Lush bath bombs
Bath bombs of various colours, shapes and scents are on offer at the new store.
Lush skincare
Skin care section at Lush’s new flagship store.
Lush soap deli
The “soap deli” where you can buy soap by weight, similar to an actual deli.
Shower products area
Shower products and a sink to try before you buy.
Vintage freight lights
These green vintage lights were also sourced from the decommissioned freight ship.
Vintage lights from freight ship
The store showcases vintage fixtures, such as these lights from a decommissioned freight ship.
Lush large sink
A large sink for experiencing bath bombs and other products is located at the front of the store.
Storefront
The new store is almost double the size and is located at 1020 Robson Street.