I recently had the opportunity to tour the LUSH factory in Toronto and get a behind-the-scenes look at how the brand develops and manufactures its more than 450 ethically sourced products. To say I was impressed is a massive understatement. Picture walking through Willy Wonka’s candy factory, but all the candy is deliciously scented beauty products.
My visit fell during the brand’s holiday production, which is when more than 130 new products are added to the existing lineup. Everywhere you look there are Santa soaps, penguin bubble bars and snow angel bath melts. It’s magical.
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When I arrived at the facility, I was greeted by the most down-to-earth team and handed an apron and a pair of steel toe caps to put on over my shoes. As I walked from room to room (it kind of felt like a giant kitchen and was just as clean as one), there were people everywhere stirring pots, manning machinery, affixing labels and assembling products. Believe it or not, LUSH hires 1,200 seasonal employees just for holiday product manufacturing!
Pictured above is the glitter room (yes, there’s an entire room just for glitter), in which I learned that the brand only uses plastic-free glitter in its products. “Only nice things should go down the drain,” said Lyora MacRae, my tour guide and LUSH’s people & culture business partner. Just another “awe” moment where the brand’s commitment to sustainability was confirmed right in front of me.
Continuing on to the “Bubbles” department, which is where the brand’s famed bath bombs and bubble bars get made (it’s making 20 million bath bombs just this year!), I was blown away by the intricate processes set in place to create each one. Molds are stuffed by hand by a team of people working around a large table in a fun, efficient manner. Each color and accessory, whether it’s the nose on the penguin or the eyes on the snowman, etc, is perfectly placed. There is music playing in certain areas and the vibe is cheerful but incredibly focused.
Each person I spoke to had such pride in their work and seemed to really care about the products and all the principles the brand stands for (think freshness, minimal waste, handmade goods, ingredient transparency, no animal testing, and more).
Never Mind The Ballistics Bath Bombs ($8) during production
The Christmas Penguin Bubble Bars ($7.50) during production
At the end of the day, I got to try my hand at making my own bath bomb, and it was not nearly as easy as they make it look! I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at the factory, and although I was already a huge fan of LUSH before my tour, my respect for the brand, its people and its culture grew immensely.
Making my own Shoot For The Stars Bath Bomb ($7)
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