Lush is a well-recognised handmade cosmetics brand across the world with its bright and flamboyant soaps, creams and bath bombs underlining its lively image.
The business is now entering the Middle East market, and Director Karly Bygrave took time to tell Business Review ME the rationale behind the move and why the region could prove to be a winner.
BR ME: Why is Lush investing in the Middle East?
KB: We like to be where people appreciate what we do. Middle Eastern customers quickly find our best products and are loyal to products that work.
We also love fragrance and there is a great appreciation for fragrance in the region. We want our customers to be able to find our products locally and as we only sell through Lush shops that means we have to put ourselves there.
How is the Lush brand received in the Middle East compared to Europe?
Very well. In some markets fashion and the latest thing carry more weight than effectiveness however in the region it is what works that is appreciated. The same cannot always be said of Europe.
How does the development of the brand in the region compare to other markets globally?
We are developing slowly and carefully in the Middle East. We would like to open more stores but availability of space in now becoming an issue.
In the Middle East the large trading groups have strong power with the landlords and can take a lot of space because they have an array of brands.
We on the other hand are only looking for single outlets for our own shops, which make it a little harder. We are very passionate about what we do and this passion makes us a great brand to have in your shopping mall so hopefully landlords will appreciate what we bring to the mix.
What is the scale of growth of the company in the region?
We are growing at around +40 percent like for like on a monthly basis and over the last four years have grown 800 percent.
Is maintaining ethical standards in the ME more challenging than other regions?
Not more challenging as each part of the world has its own particular challenges. We have a way of working that we are happy with and we work to stick to that wherever we are in the world. We like to show that business can be done ethically and are constantly working to improve what we do.
What made you decide to take this role as head of emerging markets?
I have been coming to the region for many years and I love the vibrancy of the region, the people, the colours, the smells and how it has developed. I can’t think of another part of the world that has developed so rapidly with such vision. The region is inspirational.
You don't have factories in every market, your products have a guarantee of freshness. How do you manage the logistics and how do you remain profitable with your current set up?
That is a constant challenge. We make our products in the UK and fly them into Dubai to maintain freshness. We have to work very hard on our supply chain logistics as well as our stock management to achieve the standard we set ourselves.
This is a great part of the world to do business. Customers are discerning, they know what they like. The sun shines all the time and you can always find a smile to cheer your day. What’s not to love about the region.