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Freakin Ethics, How Do Those Work?!

JurdQuik
Bathing Master

The ASOS collab and impending partnership. The oopsy-accidentally-gave-to-an-anti-trans-organization. The anti-union efforts. The um...not paying employees in Australia. All of it. Lush has some major issues, and I have been mulling my relationship with Lush as a brand lately. This isn't going to be a Lush-bashing post-rather, I am trying to sort out my feelings and be practical and realistic.

 

There is no ethical consumption under capitalism, period. So as much as we want to tell ourselves that buying from Lush makes us more ethical consumers, the reality is that companies-any and all of them-are only going to be as ethically-minded as their profitability allows. When sales suffer and push comes to shove-making money is the priority.  Lush has a carefully curated image that we've all willingly bought into, in no small part because it allows us to feel better about our consumption. And we will make the excuses, believe you me. I've made them myself and we've all heard them. Mention SLS in any Lush forum-go ahead and see how quickly those Lush talking points about chemicals, how "it's a misunderstood chemical", and the necessary evil of preservatives get trotted out.

 

I think we have such a reaction to these clearly unethical things happening/coming to light because we feel it robs us of some of our own attempt at being more ethical (and it does). However, if we really wanted to be more ethical consumers we would buy a single plastic bottle of Dr. Bronners and refill it out of large jugs at the local health food store. If we really cared about our footprint, we wouldn't be subscribing to a Kitchen Box shipped all the way from the UK (I live in the US). If we really wanted to root for and support the "little guy" we would be buying products from any of the like...hundreds of individual and small producers of 100% natural bath and beauty products out there (I can't emphasize enough how many alternatives we actually have-or how absurd it is that Lush behaves as if that is not the case). 

 

But we adore Lush. That one bath bomb that makes the worst day you've had in months better. That one shampoo bar that is the only thing that actually works for your hair. That one moisturizer that makes your skin come alive. The scents, the colors, the AeStHeTiC...we love it all. And you know what? That's okay. None of us are going to live a completely pure life as a consumer. Do you have a cell phone? Do you drive a car? Do you wear nail polish? Have you ordered anything from Amazon? Then you're already going to Hell...you might as well smell like Lush on the way there. In order to preserve our sanity, we should all probably just stop using "ethics" as a selling point of this company-because it is clearly a diminishing priority for them. Rather, I propose we view it more along the lines of purchasing the eco-friendly cleaning product or organic option at your Big-Box Store of choice. It's more akin to picking the more expensive, but local, option at the grocery store that also wastes dozens of pounds of food every night out of their deli case and shelves instead of donating it. 

 

I guess I am saying, keep loving Lush as long as your own moral compass allows you to, and think of it more as the "slightly lesser of evils by technical comparison" rather than "the products that make me a good person for buying them." We all want to save the world, I get it. We can still vote with our dollars and give feedback to the companies we do decide to buy from. But Lush ain't in the saving-the-world business. They're in the "business" business, and ASOS' money is just as green as yours. 

1 Accepted Solution

Broon
Bath Submerger

Well said. When Lush first appeared on my high street I bought my daily essentials there. This had to stop when the prices got too much for me. It became more of a luxury. I have been an on and off customer for over 2 decades, I've seen retro websites, kitchens and campaigns that were less than 'well received' to say the least. As much as I loved Lush all those years ago, things are not the same. It became a comfort thing for me, a now and then indulgence with a clean conscience as far as animal testing. I don't feel the need to try everything and I don't get particularly excited when something new 'drops', more often than not its replacing something I loved in the first place. At the end of the day it's a business and I doubt they give a flying toss what any of us think about how that business is done. Plenty consumers out there don't give a toss either, and that's what business relies on. 

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7 Replies 7

Metamorphabubbl
Ickle Lushie Bot

I don't have anything constructive to add except to say that this is the best quote of all time, love it.

 

"you're already going to Hell...you might as well smell like Lush on the way there. "

Broon
Bath Submerger

Well said. When Lush first appeared on my high street I bought my daily essentials there. This had to stop when the prices got too much for me. It became more of a luxury. I have been an on and off customer for over 2 decades, I've seen retro websites, kitchens and campaigns that were less than 'well received' to say the least. As much as I loved Lush all those years ago, things are not the same. It became a comfort thing for me, a now and then indulgence with a clean conscience as far as animal testing. I don't feel the need to try everything and I don't get particularly excited when something new 'drops', more often than not its replacing something I loved in the first place. At the end of the day it's a business and I doubt they give a flying toss what any of us think about how that business is done. Plenty consumers out there don't give a toss either, and that's what business relies on. 

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I couldn't agree more, Broon-especially with those last 2 lines. I replaced all of my bath/shower products with Lush and went HAM on the brand over the last few years. But the cost, which I've justified in every way possible, is becoming harder to justify with as many alternatives as there are. It is definitely becoming more of an occasional treat for me than an essential restock. Particularly when, as you mentioned, they are usually just getting rid of products I love when they drop new ones (*stares Lord of Misrulingly*).  

penguin89
Bath Submerger

I guess my issue is that I understand they are a business, I understand there are better alternatives. But I make that decision consciously because I love the products.

 

But with the Asos bomb it was snuck into the subscription box and I had no choice about whether or not to give Asos my money.

 

I own a phone and other electronics so I'm not perfect but I also try and buy eco friendly options where possible (I'm not perfect but why make it worse)?

I hear you penguin89-none of us are perfect and sometimes the only sense of contribution to the "good fight" we get to have is spending our money with businesses that we think are doing the right thing. In fairness, to piggyback off your post regarding this same topic, it looks like ASOS is trying. Clearly Lush is also trying, and in more ways than say...Bath and Body Works, Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever, ETC. And we, by purchasing with companies like Lush, believe WE are trying (whether or not all of us trying is going to be enough to save the world is another question, and in truth there are certainly players in that equation capable of doing more than trying-hint-the ones producing).

 

Having the ASOS collab plopped in the box and catching the ethically-minded of us unawares was definitely shifty, but I'm not sure how much of our money actually went to this. I would imagine this is more likely one of two things: a soft-launch of sorts to generate buzz for and promote the upcoming full-scale collab, or (and this is something I have mentioned elsewhere on here that I loathe) a bit of market research to see how people respond to the product/collab and get feedback before the proper launch. Either way-a wee bit of sneaky snake behavior for sure and I am not paying $70US to be your market research, though....I guess I am.

 

The whole thing reminds me of when another brand I really adore, Saje, did a diffuser collab with Poosh. I was incredibly irritated to see a brand so focused on "wellness and mindfulness" partner with a Kardashian-but at least they didn't just add Poosh collab stuff into my order without me knowing-which is sort of your point here. That we didn't sign up to the LushxASOS Kitchen Box and don't expect to see random brands added in there. I did get to watch, to my immense pleasure, that collab product sit on their shelves and stretch far, far into the dregs of clearance.

 

I hope Lush get the message I've seen in a few places regarding this misguided collaboration-we don't like it, we don't support it, and it alienates your target demographic. 

You just articulated my feelings a lot better than I did. I don't think Asos are completely evil they seem to be trying and the links in my main post indicate they aren't all bad (they seem to well on animal rights but seem to be a bit iffy on pollution and workers rights). 

 

A big issue with Lush is communication, what are they trying to achieve? Have they sold out? By dropping this in the boxes with no further context they leave themselves open to speculation which may actually be worse than the truth. They've given us a whole week to speculate the worst because they are going to say anything at all.

 

You're bang-on. There are a lot of things Lush does well-I would not say that communication is one of them haha.