Ah! Ah! So I took a lot of criticism for writing this post (see the not so friendly comments) and that's ok because I am a big girl!
But guess what? It looks like Lush took on my advice after all!
I returned to the store last week and they have made a lot of changes:
1. aisles are wider - the middle aisle is no longer a double display but a single one, so you can browse without bumping into other customers and feeling touched every second
2. the salad bar display is gone!!!!!
3. They built a counter where they now have large bowls for customers to experience the products and the bowls are emptied after each use! No more disgusting sudsy water in buckets left on the ground.
So there, the customer is always right and I am not taking back anything I said about my original experience, very obviously, if those things I mentioned in my letter were not a problem, they would not have changed them in the first place.
As for the staff, I noticed the sales "ladies" yes, ladies, were no longer inexperienced teenagers either!
That proves to show that when you complain, companies listen! Thank you Lush, I may actually consider purchasing from you moving forward.
Below is my original post:
I am usually not one to complain but this time around, I just feel compelled to do so.
There is this brand of handmade soaps and creams called LUSH. It's been pretty big for the past few years and everyone on the internet, in particular Youtube, has been raving about it.
More particularly, LUSH promises original exotic experiences in bath taking by selling huge "bath bombs" in various intriguing scents such as Geo Phizz, a volcanic clay and pine sore muscle smoother, homemade soaps with equally exotic recipes which you purchase by the pound (or the slice). Further, they also make all manner of creams, shampoos, face masks, all with natural ingredients such as avocado, lettuce or papaya, packaged in black plastic tubs adorned with chalk like handwriting. From a marketing point of view I have to say that Lush is pretty clever!
I have always been intrigued by the brand and some of their products but never really wanted to purchase online without first experiencing their product in a store. I was thus very happy to find out our nearby mall has a Lush store...So, guess where I went tonight!
Here are some pictures I found online to show you a visual as to what I was expecting to see:
|Shower and Body products|
As a side note, I need to add a bit about the mall: 20 minutes away from home is the Short Hills Mall. It's one of those uber high end mall where cars are on display at all times and I am not talking Chevy or Ford here...they display Porshes, Bentleys, etc. There is even a Tesla store where they sell a $300K car with a dashboard that is nothing more than a giant ipad! Are you kidding me?
|Lush store in Short Hills Mall|
LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics8365 Ontario Street - Unit 120Vancouver, British ColumbiaCanada V5X 3E8
To whom this may concern,
I had heard so much about your products that I could not wait to locate a store and actually visit one. Needless to say I was jumping with joy when I found one nearby, at the Short-Hills Mall in New Jersey. I went in the hope of loading up with some amazing soaps and perhaps a bath bomb or two. Though I do not take baths, I thought I could spend my Friday night relaxing (for once) and enjoy a bit of an exotic experience.
Well, unfortunately, this was a terrible experience for me.
I walked into a very crowded store where teenagers gathered and constantly touched products. There were at least 3 sales persons in attendance, none with clear skin (a bad sign for a cosmetics company). The first one immediately jumped on me and asked what I was looking for, I politely responded that I was familiar with the brand but just wanted to browse for now. I guess she must have forgotten my answer because less than 3 minutes later she came back, in manner of furniture sales rep and started commenting on the soap I was holding, letting me know they cut them "like cheese". I think I had figured that out already when I lifted the first huge 4 lb. block of some weird concoction that looked like nougat. Eventually I had to ask her to stay away because, at that point, I was really not enjoying my visit.
I moved on and looked at the displays. The set up itself was extremely crowded and nothing like the pictures I saw online. If anything the Short Hills store is no bigger than a UPS drop off station. It is so tiny, yet packed, that one cannot browse a single display without having someone brush your behind with their purse, or worse, their own behind! it was also difficult to make a distinction between the various soaps and again, everyone passing by was picking a product up and taking a good whiff. I even witnessed a girl a bit too eager with her smelling experience as she wiped her nose afterwards, having touched the soap with her nostrils. Nice!
Then the bath bombs! I understand the concept of the big buckets to display items as though a French Market, but how many bath bombs need to be on display at one time, for all to touch? I really thought that one or two for folks to experience would be enough, it would have been nice to see the rest individually wrapped. (note: I am not germophobic, I just don't care to bathe in other people's body oils and salad dressing residue). Like everyone else, I picked this one up, smelled it, put it back, picked the next one, put it back, and it went on until I reached the "salad bar." And that experience in itself was the breaking point for me!
There you have a salad bar set up with bowls on ice and kale all around, I get the idea as the bowls are samples of various freshly made masks, all looking ready for spoon picking. However, seeing stale, oxidized creams with wilted fruit and vegetables around them really did not make me want to smell, touch, test, let alone purchase any of them. One of your lettuce masks looked like spoiled guacamole with black oxidation all around the edges of its swirls, next to it was a slice of papaya that had seen better days. I kid you not, I have seen take out fast food Chinese restaurants with better looking displays than that! So for me to see this and to think one single bath bomb can cost up to $8 a piece, I felt as though taken for a fool!
I understand your brand is targeting a younger generation that thrives on fluorescent colors and variety. But I felt that your store was too small for the amount of stuff on display, unhygienic when considering the hoards of teenage girls marching into it and touching everything. I was not impressed at all, as a matter of fact I was very disappointed because I was looking forward to the experience and really wanted to leave with a little bag and a few items. Unfortunately, I left empty handed and turned off!
I would like to add that all the creams for testing looked gross and it would not cost the sales girls any thing to go around each one and smooth out the contents or wipe away the rims and lids once in a while. Also, the entire idea of buckets filled with soapy water for all to experience was also very gross to me, they all looked like dirty laundry water left to the side. What does it take for your staff to regularly empty them?
Obviously this is a rant. I am sorry to say I was totally disgusted with the product displays and that turned me away from making any purchase. I have no experience with another Lush store, so I am not sure whether this is an issue with your Short Hills venture, which by the way is as high end as you can get, or if this is pretty much how you do business. But I can tell you that when one comes out of your store, the last thing they want to do is check out the neighboring Chanel or Louis Vuitton ...I just wanted to leave the mall all together, and so I did!
Here are some suggestions, they really are my preference but I can't imagine to be alone on this one:
What's for sale should be wrapped in crystalline paper or to the very least cellophane wrap. Instead of huge blocks of soaps for people to pick up and smell to test, how about slivers of soap in bowls so that people can just pick a tiny amount, crush it in between their finger to release the fragrance and move on! I like the salad bar idea, but the fridge for the items to purchase was hidden underneath it. If you want to give a sense of freshness to your products I know I would want to see the fridge right away (not kind of figure it out on my own). So a fridge at eye level with oodles of jars inside and your sample bar in front of it would probably yield better results. Water experience should feel like spa experience. If someone wants to see the stuff fizz or wash their hands, how about a sink like Bed,Bath and Body Work? The whole idea of large sudsy buckets of bluish goo is not a seller to me! It would help if the staff was above the age of 18 and somewhat put together too. To me, they were just hanging out alongside the other teenage girls in your tiny aisles. I understand you cannot discriminate but not everyone wants to be serviced by someone who says "OMG" and "That is SOOO Awesome!" every three minutes! (I am not going to comment on the obvious generational gap here, to be honest it kind of slapped me in the face!)
So, that was my bad experience and subsequent bad review. As mentioned above, I left empty handed and am truly sorry for it as I was very much looking forward to discovering your products.
I thank you for your time.
Sophia S., NJ.
I will keep you posted on any response from LUSH.
Thanks for reading and sharing my blog.
You can find me on FACEBOOK and Youtube (mygreatchallenge)
Sophia (who will stick with Yves Rocher), in NJ!