Mark Constantine, managing director and co-founder of UK based handmade cosmetics company Lush, has revealed further details about the scale of technological innovation used to make new Lush bath products.
Speaking at Jobshop UK directors’ lunch, Constantine mentioned that 3D printers will be used to make and mold some of the design team’s latest “blue sky” ideas in a new £13 million research & development facility in Dorset.
Clip showing The Experimenter bath bomb from Lush dissolving in water. Via LUSH on YouTube
Lush was first launched by Constantine and his business partner Liz Weir in 1994. With a shared passion for natural beauty products, Constantine and Weir started out providing products for The Body Shop. From there the pair branched out, starting their own mail-order cosmetics company. and then launching a small store in Poole, in Dorset.
The company now has stores all across the UK and some parts of North America. The Lush online store accommodates customers around the world and, in 2014, the company reported an annual revenue of £282.5 million.
Next layer soap design
Some of Lush designers’ latest ideas were teased at the company’s Creative Showcase in London earlier this year. 3D printers and laser cutters were part of the display, used to make intricate bath melts, and etch the surface of sweet-smelling soap.
A 3D printer exhibited at the show had a large syringe in the place of a print head – the kind you might find in kitchen for adding a liquid filling to the center of a cake.
Bath melt butter, made from organic shea and cocoa, is extruded through this syringe to make a circular button. Eventually the button becomes a ball, which can then be melted in warm water to “soothe and hydrate your skin.”
Supply meets demand
The idea with such innovations is that Lush designers can respond quickly to trends and customer demand. As Constantine explains in a report by the Bournemouth Echo, “What we’re up to in there is putting in all our innovation and new things – so it gives us the facilities, it adds another one fifth to our space in Poole and gives us the facilities to work on new things.”
“Someone can invent something and we can make it within six to 12 weeks.”
The UK base also means that the facility is on hand to supply new products to its flagship stores located in London and Liverpool.
The future of cosmetics?
3D printers are finding increasing adoption in a commercial setting due to the ability to provide custom-made products at a low cost. Great efforts are ensuing across manufacturing to bring customers closer to the products they desire and provide a competitive and more satisfactory service.
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Featured image shows a display of Lush bath melts and bath bombs. Photo by Kirstie Barresi