Sunday, 17 June 2012

Lush UK vs. USA - Store Review

I recently went away to California for roughly 2 weeks, and before I went I knew I wanted to go to Lush to do a bit of a comparison between the two stores and how I felt about them. I visit Lush pretty regularly and when I'm not there, I'm always on the website, so I see myself as having pretty good knowledge of the products available in the UK.

Before leaving I had a look at the US version of the website, just to see if it appeared as if they had any products which we didn't (and if this was true, I would not be amused, as the company began in the UK, not the US!). It appeared as though they had the same products, but a lot more to choose from in the Retro section, for example, the Red Rooster soap which I remember Lush having a few years ago, and loving the scent. In terms of the website, I like the UK version a lot better, as I find it easier to navigate, but I'll not go into great depth in a comparison of the websites (unless someone would like me to).

I visited two different Lush stores in the US, just to see if my experience was the same in both stores. The first one I visited was the Lush store in Fashion Valley Mall, San Diego, CA. On walking into the store, my first reaction was on how tiny the store is. It really was very small and quite hard to walk around. On walking in there is a table to your right and then some smaller table/stand things around the sides of that, there isn't really a lot of room for many people to be in the store. I've only been to Lush in Belfast, and the one in Glasgow, so I don't know if this is a common thing in other stores, but it really was so tiny! I had a look around and saw some customers being helped by the staff who seemed to have a good enough knowledge of the products from what I heard. The products didn't seem just as good to me in my mind, for example, the Creamy Candy Bubble Bar (I choose this one as it is one which I always buy for my mum as a present so I've seen them lots of times). In the UK, the bars all vary in size and aren't really a perfect shape. In the San Diego store, they all seemed to be the same size, and there was no parts crumbling off and they just seemed almost too solid. Now, I don't know if this is me just being weird, but I love how not perfect the ones in my Lush are, as I love going through them all to choose a good one, and I like to pick one that is a good size, and I love how it crumbles apart so easily, as that's how you're supposed to use them! These ones just seemed to not be the same. Another big thing I noticed was the prices. Everything is a lot more expensive in the US, which I noticed first on the website. Our shampoo bars cost £5 each, and in this store they were charging $10.95! The soaps were all very expensive too, and I'd say if I lived in the US, I probably wouldn't buy just so many of my products from there. I say this as a downside, but it also made me happy as I'm sick of the US getting everything cheaper than us! The biggest downfall of the store was the fact that during my time there, not one person approached me to ask if I needed any help. I had heard before I went that the sales staff were quite pushy there and I had been prepared to stand strong and not let them get me to buy anything, unless they had something new there. I was really shocked by this, all I got was a smile from the sales assistant at the checkout when I walked past, she didn't ask if I needed any help with anything. Every other store I went into while on my trip, the sales assistants were over immediately to ask if I needed any help, or welcomed me into the store as soon as I stepped in, so I know there wasn't something wrong with me!

Next I'm going to briefly review the second store I went into. I visited the Lush store in Santa Monica, down Third Street Promenade. I didn't spend as long in here as I knew from just looking around whether they had anything new. Once again, pretty small store, I'm starting to think maybe it's just a US thing, and Lush isn't as popular over there? (Although it seems to be quite popular with a lot of American YouTubers). I wasn't welcomed into the store, and there was no immediate coming over to me to ask if I needed any help, and if there was anything they could do for me. Once I realised that no one was going to ask me if I wanted help with anything, I just left, as there was no other point of me being there.

The Lush store I visit is the one in Belfast City Centre, and I usually buy a good few products at a time to do me through the month. The staff there are very helpful and always come over to me and ask if I need any help, and seem to have very good knowledge of the products that they are selling. There's been times I'm trying out something completely new and they'll tell me how to work it. They never try to push me to buy anything that I don't want to buy, and this is something I love about going in there. When purchasing at the till, if it's someone who didn't help me out, or if it's something they didn't speak to me about, they always ask me if I know how to use it properly, for example, the shampoo/conditioner bars, and they'll usually give me their opinion on it, and tell me if they've used it or not. The store is a nice size, with everything quite spread out, making it really easy to get around the store, even if it is busy. One time I wanted to get a new face mask, and although they were out of it, the girl was able to give me a sample of it from the little bowl they have sitting in the ice.

All in all, I was really disappointed with my experience of the two stores in the US. I don't know whether I just came at bad timings to both stores or if it's genuinely just not the same. The Lush store is one of my favourite stores to visit in general, and I always leave with something, and I love that I know the staff will help me with anything and are always really friendly. I'll probably be back at some point to San Diego as I have family over there, and if I'm over again, I'll maybe visit the stores again and see if much has changed.

Hope you all liked my review, and if there's anything else you want to know, feel free to ask!

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