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6 Quick Questions with Rowena Bird, Co Founder of Lush Cosmetics (part 2)

by Female Startup Club
April 5th 2022

Today we are learning from Rowena Bird, Co-Founder of Lush Cosmetics. A business that started 27 years ago in Poole, the UK.

Since 1995, Lush has been a trailblazer in the cosmetics indus... More

I can be a bit of a fan girl when it comes to other female podcasters in the business space and I am so sure you're going to know the woman who I'm shouting about today. It's Jenna, co host of the gold digger podcast that's brought to you by the hubspot podcast network. The gold digger podcast helps you discover your dream career with productivity tips, social strategies, business hacks, inspirational stories and so much more. But if you don't know her yet, you should head over and immediately download the episode called Sales 101, a lesson in selling for people who hate it. Listen to the gold digger podcast wherever you get your podcasts Welcome Back! Here are the six quick questions. Mhm Question number one is what's your why? Why are you doing what you're doing? I do it because we are going to leave the world lusher than we found it. And that to me is so important. I mean I don't have Children, but I do have nieces and nephews who are now starting to have Children and I do worry about the state of the planet and what we're doing to it.

And if we can make any difference, then that's a good thing. So my why is that? We are making a difference. And that's really important. Beautiful Question #2 is what's been your favorite marketing moment so far doing the sort of campaigns that we do? I think when their theatrical, you know like Alice hanging herself from fish hooks in our window to highlight the shark finning and how nonsense that is. Bill bailey wearing bright orange pants to highlight Guantanamo bay and people incarcerated there. That shouldn't have been and all our staff going naked, but for an apron to highlight the fact that we're not using packaging. I didn't, Oh, they did that. I mean we got chased down the street by police types put some pants on, but they stood out there completely naked but for their aprons. And it's to highlight the fact that, you know, many of our products, I think we're around 75% of our products so our naked And so even though our packaging has been 100% recycled since 2014 and people are saying now in 2022 again, Oh, we're going 100% recycled.

What took you so long? We've been doing it since 2014. So yeah, and bringing back the packaging, we will take the packaging back from you because the recycling rates are shocking. You know, you think when you put something in the recycle bin that's being recycled, it's actually not. It's a low percentage, but if you bring your recycling back to us, our lush parts 100% get recycled and reused. So, you know, our green hub is incredibly busy making sure that we're could turning any waste into something positive. Very cool. Question # three, What is your go to business resource. If it goes to a book or a podcast or a newsletter. Do you know what? I'm not really very good at that? I do like a ted talk, but I think I am, I'm not a big one for reading dry books. I like travel books, but I do like listening to people. So I love it when somebody that, you know in my team or that I'm working with tells me stuff, go straight in. So we have leadership meetings and everybody joins in and tells you things that they've heard or learned it and it's straight in there.

So people telling me things is where I learned from. I don't very rarely watch the news. Don't read newspapers. I just can't bear the sadness of it all. I'm, but I'm aware of things going on from people around me and that's how I absorb things. I feel the same, especially if you're like a high empath person. It's very hard to read a headline that's so awful. Sticks in my brain upsets me all day and I'm the same and you can't let that happen because then you can get weighed down by it and then you can't all the good things that you should be doing to make a difference around you. They shouldn't be allowed to affect you, but you, but it's important that you're aware of it because you have to know whether you're going to do something about that and what you can and find a way to do something so that you know, you know that you're making a difference there. Yeah, having an impact question number four. How do you win the day? What are your am or PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and motivated and productive?

Well I'm very lucky that I live on the beach, so live right next to a beach and, and I love picking up litter because I can't bear litter. I mean if you looked in my room now it's pretty much a mess. So you think, well, I don't know how you can say that ruin the birds. You live surrounded voice, but I don't like litter on the floor and I'm really passionate about littering the sea and plastics. So every morning I get up and now it's a quarter past six and I'm so glad that I got up early this morning before the rain started. But I walked the beach every day. That gives me time to wake up, ground myself, pick up anything that's on the beach that shouldn't be there. And so that's how I start my day. And then through the rest of the day I sort of smile a lot and try and do things that make me happy and pleased and yeah, give me some purpose for the day. I like to feel like I've achieved something. Well you do if you start your day like that every day, that's amazing. Gosh, Question # five is what's been your worst money mistake in the business?

I don't know. I mean it's sort of not mistakes out of their challenges really. I mean, you know, you can change the shop fit and think, well that wasn't the smartest move. Yeah, I think it's coming from our previous business. It would be not having a financial no, you're not having the financial. Know how thinking that you can sort it out yourself. I think always have a good finance person with you don't let them rule over you, but let them give you all the information about how your finances are so that you can make an informed decision. And I think that's the most important thing and that is definitely something we have suffered from, from not having good finance and now we have excellent finance. So it's yeah, it's really, really important because it's having cash in the bank. That means that you can continue. So yeah. And don't get yourself into big debt either with the banks don't take all that money that they promise you because at some point they're going to want it back and when they want it back or be when ever market you're in is dipping and that's always when they want it.

And that's what clothes cosmetics to go. So, you know, although lush came out of that. So I can say, oh, that's all right. You know, something lovely came out of it. Not everybody is that fortunate. So don't take loads of money from where you don't have to and always have somebody who can give you expert advice on what's happening in your state of your finances so that you can make an informed decision. I love that. And question number six, what is just a crazy story in the business, good or bad that you can share with us feel like you've shared a lot of good ones already by the way, but maybe you'll have another one in the bank. I mean naming products is always funny, We've recently just redone our henna range because we do Hannah's and have you ever used a hana a long time ago? Yeah, so it looks like cow dung and it looks like and but we're really passionate about henna because it's it's very good to hear and we've written a book on hair dyes, everything which is just about to be released. So yeah, so don't be afraid to make a stand, but with the hyenas, this, I can remember naming it and it was like what are we going to call it?

And because of the whole cosmetic industry, a lot of it is seen as very french. So we called the Hannah's rouge noir maron all french color names and then we called it caca because it was because it looks like caca and we thought that was incredibly funny and I don't know why we, I mean it was obviously one of these and I can still picture us in the next room rolling around with stomachache laughing so much that the audacity of calling something french and and we had so many people write in to us and say, you know what Kaka means, don't you? And address it made, it actually does look like you've got counting on your hair, but also it was taking the Mick out of the shit hair dyes. It was like no shit hair shine is what the byline was because apologize are not great for you, they're not great and you know, traces of it are found in your urine within an hour. If you're putting it on your head, that cannot be good.

Whereas with a henna, it isn't. So it was just about like trying to get a message across in a sort of fun sort of way is sort of like, yeah, there's no ship hair shine, but we've called it Kaka and we've named it in french. So yeah, there's a naughty side here and sometimes the naughty side comes out and it's either understood or not understood. I think sometimes because we're a british company, the british humor doesn't always translate quite so well everywhere else. We make important at the end of the day isn't so important. I love it. I laughed. This was so amazing. Rowena what is the kind of key piece of advice that you can leave with us entrepreneurs who are earlier on in the journey if your passion and if your heart and your passion is not in it, don't do it. Don't do something just because you think you're going to make money out of it. You might and good luck to you. I hope you do. But if you've got a passion for it, you'll see it through the tough times and you'll make it survive because that will be all that's important to you.

Keep true to what you started out with with your ethics. Don't diminish those. Don't think I've now got too big to hold onto my ethics. You're never too big to hold on to your ethics. So keep anything that you started with in your heart, that means more to you. Keep that with you and expand on. It never decrease it. But always while the passion's there, stay with it when the passion isn't there? Move on. Thank you so much. This was amazing. You're very welcome. It's been lovely to speak to you, Dean and good luck with your business. Thank you. I've got the passion. I love this business brings me so much joy getting to talk to women like you highlight of my day. Thank you. Hey, it's done here. Thanks for listening to this episode of the female startup club podcast. If you're a fan of the show, I'd recommend checking out female startup club dot com where you can subscribe to our newsletter and learn more about our D. I. Y course the ads, N. B. A. I also truly appreciate each and every review that comes our way. It might seem like such a small thing, but reviews help other heirs find us.

So please do jump on and subscribe, rate and review the show. And finally, if you know someone who would benefit from hearing these inspiring stories, please do share it with them and empower the women in your network. See you soon. Mm hmm.

6 Quick Questions with Rowena Bird, Co Founder of Lush Cosmetics (part 2)
6 Quick Questions with Rowena Bird, Co Founder of Lush Cosmetics (part 2)
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