Last week I wrote about my trip to LUSH Cosmetics’ new flagship store in downtown Toronto, which got a complete makeover just in time for the holidays season. I was given a thorough tour of the totally hipster-style store by the lovely Raegan Villeneuve, Floor Leader at LUSH Cosmetics Toronto Eaton Centre, and she agreed to sit down with me at one of their recycled chairs and chat about what it’s like working for LUSH.
Below are Raegan’s thoughts about the new store, staff education within the company, and the ridiculous number of bath bombs she’s used in the last year.
How long have you been working at LUSH, and why did you choose it?
“I’ve been working at LUSH since October 2011, and I chose it because I’ve used a couple of products in the past and I really enjoyed them. At the time I applied I actually didn’t know a lot about the company, but when I went in to hand in my résumé and when I was called back for future interviews it seemed like such a supportive and cool environment with a lot of really cool people working here, so that made me want to make the step of accepting the job offer, and then I’ve been working here ever since, so it’s been great.”
You really fell in love with them?
“Yeah, I definitely, absolutely fell in love with them.”
So then, which of the LUSH products is your favourite to use personally?
“My favourite is a foot mask called Volcano ($13.95, LUSH Cosmetics*). It’s made with peppermint and cinnamon so it’s really stimulating. Because I do work retail and I am on my feet a lot, the Volcano is really great for helping to sooth that a little bit, and then when I am going for walks and things like that I can use Volcano afterwards just to kind of soothe any foot pain and it’s also deodorizing as well. Not a lot of people have used it, but the people who have used it really love it.“
What is your day to day role at LUSH, and what do you do in the store?
“Because I am a Floor Leader, basically what I do is talk to staff; I help keep them focused and keep them organized. When I’m not floor leading I’m a Sales Associate, so I work with customers; I show them things, I answer questions… But when I’m floor leading I basically just make sure that everyone is taking their breaks and everyone is feeling good.”
Is it really about teamwork?
What is the best part of working at LUSH, then?
“The best part of working at LUSH, aside from having such great co-workers, is probably just being able to really believe in what I am showing people, and never feeling pressured to sell them things that aren’t right for them. So I feel like we’re really empowered to show someone alternatives to something they really like but can’t necessarily afford. I wanna show things to people that they’re going to love.”
And part of that is that you don’t work on commission, correct?
“Exactly, we don’t work on commission, and we really want people to leave feeling happy, and not sad or frustrated.”
How could you leave this place unhappy?! So what is something that most people wouldn’t know about LUSH at the store level?
“I feel like it might be the amount of training that we do as staff. We do on-floor training all the time; if there’s nobody in here we play games about product knowledge, we are always posting stuff on Facebook, just like “Oh man, I love this product and this is why.” And then also the training we do with trainers higher up in the company, and then even during staff meetings. I feel like we’re always training, always learning.“
What is the most exciting thing about the new Toronto Eaton Centre store, and what’s the biggest improvement?
“Well, I did love the last store because it felt like home, it was very cozy and we were there for so long, but I’m really excited about the amount of space we have in this store, I feel like it’s gonna make it a lot easier for customers to find what they’re needing, to take their time and look at stuff, to not feel like they’re being rushed. But also we have so much space to actually show people things, so we have places where you can sit down and show people products, where you can sit down and talk to people, and they can sit down and do their makeup if they want to at the Emotional Brilliance station. So there’s just so much space, which I think is really going to be beneficial for both us and the customers.”
What was the first item you ever used from LUSH?
“The first item I ever tried was actually a bath bomb, we don’t have it anymore but it’s called Golden Slumbers ($6.40, LUSH Cosmetics*). It was a lavender bath bomb, and I remember coming in after an exam in university and I was telling the person who sold it to me, “I’m so stressed, literally just give me anything that’s going to help me relax.” And they just passed me Golden Slumbers bath bomb, they told me about it and I took it home and it was literally the best thing. I still have one at home, we have it in the LUSH Spa gift ($69.95, LUSH Cosmetics*), which I bought in part because it has my favourite bath bomb in it.”
Speaking of bath bombs, could you estimate how many bath bombs you’ve used in the last year including demos?
*Prices true at time of writing.