Lush is revamping its distribution strategy in North America, starting with a wholesale partnership.
The beauty company, which was said to reach $1 billion in sales last year, has inaugurated a wholesale partnership with Ulta Beauty, a first of its kind for the brand. That also comes as it preps more than 30 new brick-and-mortar retail locations.
“In the U.S., we have over 200 brick-and-mortar doors. We obviously want to expand, but we can’t possibly expand our reach much beyond that just by ourselves,” said Carrie Harambasic, Lush North America’s head of business development. “That’s where Ulta comes in. We spent the past year thinking about collaborations and expanding our reach and we knew we couldn’t do it alone.”
Bolstering the brand’s awareness has taken on a new imperative in recent years, especially as Lush swore off Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat in late 2021. “That two-year anniversary will be on Black Friday,” Hambasic said. “We’ve left that means of communication, so we’re thinking about how we can continue to reach new audiences without using those platforms.”
Ulta’s digital capabilities were part of Lush’s rationale for teaming with the retailer. “Ulta had approached us about doing an online partnership and we found that we couldn’t choose a better partner,” Hambasic continued. “Their amount of digital reach is fantastic. That piece gets us into places that we would never expect to show up in.”
The assortment currently includes Ulta-exclusive discovery sets across bath, skin care and hair care. They range in price from $18 to $46.
Ulta will also start carrying holiday gift sets from Lush, which have proven to be a big category for the brand. “We’re known for our Halloween collection especially in the U.S.,” Hambasic said. “We’ve got all of our brick-and-mortar openings as well as exclusive holiday ranges, and we’ve got spa.”
The Ulta launch is coupled with the brand’s new spa openings in New York and Vancouver. “We merged our global business a few years ago, and there are aspects of that global business we just haven’t brought here [to the U.S.] yet,” Hambasic said. “Some of that is additional levels of creativity, like spas and certain concept shops.”
The New York spa, for example, includes facial and scalp treatments, as well as a bath treatment.