I’ve been a fan of Poole based company ‘Lush’ for a very long time, since it first started actually. I grew up on the South Coast of England, in a town called Ferndown and my brother was born in Poole Hospital. I still remember the day back in 1992 when we received our first products from the company, and even as a kid, I was very excited. Now, many years on, I’ve grown up, and so has Lush, yet it remains a part of my life, and if anyone ever comes to visit me in Georgia, I always have two requests for them: 1) to bring me a pot of Cadburys Hot Chocolate, and 2) anything from Lush! Although I have to admit that I don’t own a bath anymore and in the winter the shower is a pretty cold place to be, but smelling those Lush products still makes me feel that I have a little luxury in my life.
My favourite ever product from Lush is the very delicious chocolate face mask, which is so yummy that it is hard not to want to eat it, because it just smells divine, but I have a lot of other favourite products too: the pink, squidgy, seaweed face pack, and the ginger massage bars which leave your skin glowing, and the gloopy blue shower gel that seems to defy science and leaves you feeling all invigorated and ready for the day ahead. Ahhh, happy memories. I even introduced Lush to friends and family in Latvia, and on every visit, received requests for products, and when I first came to Georgia I gave Lush as gifts from my home country. And life in Georgia, without Lush is really rather dull now…..unless I get those very special care packages delivered.
For those of you who have never heard of Lush, they make fresh, handmade cosmetics, not so much make up, but things like soap, facial masks, bath bombs, shower gels, and lovely lip balm. They have a really amazing ethos. They are sooooo much more than a cosmetics company, and to call them such seems like an insult. I’ll let the brand speak for itself:
But even though I have always been a huge fan, and at Christmas time, and on visits back to the UK I religiously pop into a store and pick up a copy of the ‘Lush Times’, I really had very little idea of all the charitable work that they do. Until this morning, when I discovered that a childhood friend of mine, is actually a Lush Employee, and suggested that I look to Lush as they may be able to help me with my NGO plans here in Georgia. I have no idea whether they can help us or not, but no matter what, I really want to share with you the amazing work that they do, as I can’t believe that I have never known about this side of the company.
They actually do so many great things, that it is impossible to know where to start….but I’ll do my best.
Charity Donations of Products
Whilst they don’t give things like goody bag fillers for fundraising events, each branch of Lush does have the opportunity to donate a special gift to any local charity that it wants to support. I say charity, but I don’t think you need to be a charity as such, more of a good cause, but I do know that Lush prefer to support organisations which would usually struggle to get funding, especially for less popular causes, and for smaller organisations. This gift can then be used for auction or raffle purposes as a way of helping to raise money.
Throughout the year, every branch of Lush is happy to hold Charity ‘parties’ for local good causes within their area. The branch is approached by the organisation (again I use the word ‘charity’ loosely) and they hold a special evening to help that cause to raise money. I won’t go into too much detail, because Lush really cover everything on their website, and if you go to your local branch, then they can tell you everything you need to know. If we weren’t in Georgia, then this is definitely something I would consider doing as it looks to be a fantastic and fun way of raising awareness, support for your cause, funds for your cause, and promoting the beautiful products of Lush.
However, it is something I plan to tell ‘The Coxless Rowers’ about, because I know they have two amazing charities to support during their South Pacific Ocean row next year (I hope to be joining them too if I can pass the psychological profiling, fitness tests, team selection, etc). Since they will be a team of all women, I think Lush fits the team perfectly, although Lush do have a rather nice of selection of products for men too.
Donations to Non-Fundraising Events
This is the thing which excites me the most about Lush, and is the thing which I hope to apply for through Oceans Project Georgia, and really fits my NGO’s ethos and design. I love the idea of products not being wasted, and doing good for others, not through money as such, but through ‘donations in kind’. Since Lush products are handmade, there are often products which are not quite of the standard to be sold in the Lush shops. Maybe they are not pretty enough, or not the right size or shape, but beyond their looks, they are in every way still a high quality Lush product. Many companies would just dispose of these items in the bin, but Lush have taken things a step further, and turned the situation around to benefit others. So, they make these ‘seconds’ available to any organisation who can use them for good. Homeless charities, hospitals (for patients to use), women’s refuges, and so on. I’m actually going to suggest to Lush and to Sally Kettle (Ocean Rower) who is a big supporter of Shelter Box, that they consider making these off cuts or seconds a part of the Shelter Boxes which get sent to areas around the world affected by natural disasters and other events, where people lose their homes, such as tsunamis or earthquakes. Lush already have many branches around the world, and such products could easily be distributed to nearby disasters. Shelter Box basically provides everything a family needs to survive, in one plastic box. This includes a tent, stove, and so on. As a former student of Public Health Medicine, I know that the gift of soap is a potentially life saving one, and could help to prevent many of the secondary causes of death and disease following a hazard or disaster.
I also plan to now apply to Lush to see if we could be the recipients of some of these ‘seconds’ as this would be something that Oceans Project Georgia would really like to distribute to some of the local orphanages, and also organisations set up to help street children and Roman living on the street in Georgia. There is also a large population of people who live on around 45gel per month, and though people do buy soap and such products, they can be expensive, especially good quality ones, and if people can use their money for other things, then every penny helps.
We would also like to distribute these products to needy people and organisations whilst on our expeditions with Earthwatch over the summer as this would really benefit our young people and help them to feel that they are doing good for others. Volunteering is still a fairly new concept in Georgia, but is a part of our International Award, and also good for personal development, especially for young people from more affluent families who have never needed for anything.
In Kind Direct
Through Lush, I also just discovered another charity, called ‘In Kind Direct’ (http://www.inkinddirect.org/), which unsurprisingly, was set up by Prince Charles.
“In Kind Direct redistributes surplus goods from manufacturers and retailers to UK charities working at home and abroad.
In Kind Direct was founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 1996 and is one of The Prince’s Charities, which is the largest multi-cause enterprise in the United Kingdom.
Since foundation in 1996, we have redistributed £117 million in value of goods from over 850 companies. Over 5,200 voluntary and community organisations have received products via In Kind Direct, helping millions of people in need”.
Here is a video about them:
We are still awaiting our Bank Account to be set up here in Georgia, and we need a few other papers as though we have registered, we still need our AGM. Once we have done this, we will definitely be signing up to this charity, as it will really help us to get donations of all the others bits and bobs that we need, now, and longer term.
Charity Pot Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/charitypot?sk=wall We will definitely be contacting Lush about our charitable work here in Georgia, and you can also suggest charities to them too, information is all on the page. Then anyone who buys one of their cocoa butter ‘charity pots’ is making a donation to Lush’s charity pot, which is then donated to different causes around the world.
“If you are passionate about a charity or any other organisation that aims to make a positive difference in the world, please let us know about it. You can email the details to us on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find out about the kind of organisations we support on our Guidelines.”
And Finally…the Lush Grant
As if everything else were not enough, Lush has gone one step further, and put up a grant of up to £10,000. They support lots of different organisations, and again, all of the information is on there website.
In Short, I’m well impressed with Lush, and even though I loved their products anyway, I think I love and respect them even more now that I know how much good the company is doing around the world, and I’m happy to share that with everyone, and to say that Oceans Project Georgia encourages everyone to buy their products from Lush.
Happy Days xxxx