Here on the iPlayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00v2bw3/Peter_Jones_Meets…_Series_1_Episode_1/ Peter Jones talks to Mark and Mo Constantine about Lush.
Interesting to see Mark say that the products have a 12 month life cycle and have to be made and sold quickly, when we know things sit around for months.
Interesting to see them talk about environmental principles given they’re having a private swimming pool built. Weird to see them talking about reducing packaging to reduce waste when they still have the shower jellies.
Hilarious to see them talk about how caring they are towards their staff. They asked staff what it was like to work for Lush – as Mark and Mo were standing there. Are you really going to say “I hate it, they’d awful” as the high heid yins stand right next to you? Are you really going to say “their employment practices are well dodgy” knowing it’ll be broadcast on telly and you’ll be sacked for it? And as for the wish lists – that’s just to give them something to sound good in the media and to partly compensate for the appalling salaries with something “unique” – for the favoured few.
Mo – teaching Peter Jones how to make ballistics without wearing gloves.
Mark – I’m not good on detail. Is that why he hasn’t listened to years of customer complaints about faulty products?
Mark and Mo’s seriously green credentials? Really? As they import fruit and veg from around the world to make cosmetics?
How they use their money? They’re sitting there telling Peter Jones they either use it themselves or they give it to other people to do good works with. Mark once told someone on a factory visit that he uses the profits from Lush to ferry fish and chips to his parents. Fair enough, he can use his own money however he wants, but they aren’t addressing basic things like a living wage for their staff. Shouldn’t adequately rewarding the staff who made you rich come first? No mention either of the £40 million loan they’ve just had from Barclays.
Mark – I’m driven by what my customers like but not by what they want. How does that even make sense? Is he implying customers want things they don’t like and like things they don’t want? I suppose he might mean he will make more of what sells and stops selling things that don’t sell even if some customers clamour for it, but even that doesn’t really make sense as obviously people want the things they buy (until they get them home and realise they’re shit).
Cosmetics to Go lost £1 every time they sent out an order, used up £9 million and didn’t make any profit, and eventually went bust. Mo felt “somewhere between raped and robbed” – nothing hyperbolic there, given that limited companies protect the company directors from personal insolvency, and the collapse was entirely due to their lack of business knowledge.
Mark saying all the ideas come from them, although many come from other founders, other staff, and plenty from the forum users.
Mark saying “we try hard to present an honest face” – well, I think the Smell of Bullshit posts in this blog make it clear how much of that is a facade rather than an honest face. If you watched Peter Jones Meets.. knowing nothing about the company, it’s easy to be fooled. But knowing what I do, knowing what employees have told me, seeing what’s happened on the forum and experiencing the deteriorating in quality of the products myself – well, it doesn’t fool me.