Lush Franchise – Does it really franchise?
Over the years, Lush has managed to build one of the UK’s most popular and recognisable brands. Here, we take a look at whether Lush offers franchising opportunities and what other cosmetics franchise opportunities are available.
Lush Franchise UK
Lush cosmetics like to do things differently. With their unique “no advertising” policy, emphasis on employees performing “random acts of kindness” by offering freebies and distinctive vegetarian and vegan approach, they’re a one-of-a-kind business that many investors would love to get involved with.
The company has built a large and loyal following that often engages with the business in ways that go beyond the traditional business-customer relationship. For instance, customers provide the business with a considerable amount of online content that’s often used to populate Lush’s social media profiles, blog and website.
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The strong bond between the business and its customers has ensured that Lush has been able to minimise certain expenditures that often prove costly for a company of this type. This is most obviously demonstrated in Lush’s refusal to pay for traditional advertising exposure, such as television spots, print advertisements or celebrity endorsements). Alongside creating user-generated content, it has also run some attention-grabbing, in-store campaigns that are notable for their political subject matter.
The Lush Target Market
The UK cosmetics industry is worth approximately £4.6 billion and boasts an annual growth rate of around 4.5 percent. Growth figures as impressive as this demonstrate just how healthy the sector is, particularly considering that many other types of retailer are struggling. There are around 1,400 businesses in the cosmetics sector, which employ roughly 36,600 people.
Lush’s principal target market has been established as young women between the ages of 18 and 45 that live in densely populated areas and have a reasonable amount of disposable income. However, the company’s ethical viewpoints also ensure it appeals to anyone interested in environmental protection and contemporary social issues.
A Brief History of Lush
The Lush story began with two individuals, Mark Constantine and Elizabeth Weir, who were suppliers for The Body Shop. When it decided it wanted to bring its product manufacturing in-house, it paid them £11 million for their recipes. Inspired by the success of The Body Shop, they set out to launch their own cosmetics business with the money. Their mail-order cosmetics business was successful at times but eventually ended up in administration.
However, from the ashes arose a new venture. Constantine, Weir and a number of associates began making and selling their own cosmetics and bath products, with a focus on natural ingredients, from a small shop in Poole. The business started to take off and, after a naming competition in 1995, the company was christened “Lush.” Since then, it has emerged as one of the UK’s most recognisable brands and a major global export.
Is Lush a franchise?
Those hoping to open their own Lush franchise may be disappointed to discover that the business is not a franchise and has no plans to adopt a franchise model in the future. The business has always been a privately-owned company and does not intend to alter the way in which it facilitates expansion in the future. This makes an investment in the business particularly tricky. While individuals are encouraged to inform Lush of any territories they believe are ideally suited to a new store, they will not be able to open, own or operate that store themselves.
How much is a Lush franchise?
As Lush is not a franchise, there is no financial information available. However, we do know that the business now comprises more than 900 stores, of which approximately 500 are in the UK. It also reported a turnover of £525 million (excluding joint ventures, associates, licensees and franchisees) in the year leading up to June 2018, an increase from £498 million in the previous year.
However, in the same period Lush experienced a decline in overall revenue, from £932 million to £928 million. This is thought to be due to a lack of interested customers in North America, the closure of a factory and five stores in Brazil and the introduction of the Living Wage across the business.
Alternative Franchise Opportunities
Although it may be disappointing to hear that Lush does not currently offer franchise opportunities, would-be business owners shouldn’t be put off. There are a range of alternatives to Lush if you’re determined to break into the cosmetics industry. Let’s take a look at some of the best cosmetics business opportunities.
Guinot supplies and manufactures a range of beauty products. With a focus on high-quality skincare products, the business also offers in-store beauty treatments and consultations. The business was established in 1972 and, since then, has set up more than 210 franchise locations across the world. It is also a member of the British Franchise Association (BFA), so you can be sure that it adheres to strict ethical standards.
To start your own Guinot business, you’ll need to make an investment of between £85,000 and £125,000. The franchise will make sure you are fully equipped to get your business off to a fantastic start by providing a comprehensive training programme that includes two days of shadowing existing Guinot team members at a specified salon. You’ll also be given access to ongoing support through a series of refresher seminars and a dedicated mobile phone app.
The most promising franchise competitor to Lush may not yet have arrived in the UK marketplace. Stenders is a Latvia-based franchise that offers bath and body care cosmetics that appeal to a similar market to Lush products. With a presence in China, Japan, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia, Stenders is currently looking for the right individual to operate a master franchise in the UK.
Adopting a similar approach to Lush, the company emphasises its ethical values and has embraced a natural, garden-style aesthetic that is likely to prove popular amongst UK consumers. Its strong franchising structure also bodes well for expansion into the UK market. Stenders is not currently part of Point Franchise’s portfolio, but you can visit its website to find out more.
Bear in mind...
Unless you have your heart set on starting a cosmetics company, you shouldn’t disregard the possibility of starting a business in the wider beauty industry. These businesses may not always utilise the standard retail store structure, which means there are plenty of options when it comes to choosing your new venture.
Healthy Feet only launched its franchise model in September 2018, but within four months it had developed a team of four franchisees providing customers across the UK with the brand’s quality foot care treatments. The business was first introduced in 2011 as a mobile foot clinic that helped young and old clients. It has proven popular among people with diabetes, arthritis and mobility issues, as well as people who simply enjoy receiving foot treatments.
To become a franchisee, you’ll need to make a total investment of just £6,995. In return, you’ll be given an exclusive territory around your own home and help with marketing. You’ll also receive training to earn a Foot Health Practitioner qualification, the majority of which can be studied online.
Once you gain your certificate, you will have all the skills you need to start your business. The good news is that you can manage it and organise appointments around your existing commitments. Also, Healthy Feet states that you will be able to build up a customer base of clients that book appointments every six weeks, so once the word it out, you should have a consistent workload.
Rush Hair & Beauty
This franchise operates a chain of 70 hair salons in the UK that welcome more than 16,000 customers every week. The average Rush customer returns every six weeks and spends around £70 in every appointment. Rush has developed partnerships with big brands, such as L’Oréal and ghd, to bring its customers the very best products for their hair.
Rush has over 20 years of experience in the haircare sector and its artistic team has garnered 14 hairdressing awards. This makes it a fantastic beauty franchise to invest in. To do so, you’ll need to make a total investment of around £160,000 and find a site of more than 800 square feet in a busy street or shopping centre. Once you’ve done this, you’ll get the chance to enrol onto the business’ initial training programme, which will give you all the skills you need to launch a successful hair salon.
Or start your own cosmetics franchise
Finally, if you can’t find an appealing alternative to Lush, why don’t you go out and build it yourself? Starting your own business is a long and challenging process but is typically remarkably rewarding. You’ll need to begin by establishing your own cosmetics company with a strong brand and a business model that can be replicated in various locations, but if you’ve got the vision, it’s an achievable dream.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©
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