Pure Beauty

From Barbie to Super Mario: Why Lush’s brand collaborations have been so successful

By Amanda Pauley | Published: 14-Aug-2023

The UK beauty brand has reported phenomenal retail sales from its licensed partnerships this year and has more in the pipeline. We find out the secret to its cross-collaboration success

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No one is doing exclusive collaborations at the moment quite like British beauty retailer Lush

The UK cosmetics maker has made limited edition licensed product partnerships a core part of its retail strategy over the past year, and is now reaping the rewards. 

It has dropped eight high-profile cross-collaborations so far with some of the biggest names in gaming, TV, toys and entertainment.

Lush’s limited edition bathing range inspired by Nintendo's popular Super Mario Bros gaming franchise, for example, has earned the company £10m.

The brand sold 250,000 items of the range’s hero product Question Block Bath Bomb, which contains a hidden collectable flower-shaped power-up soap inside.

Its exclusive Lush x SpongeBob collection – a licensed partnership with TV network Paramount – has been another huge success. 

Launched on 29 June, the limited edition packaging-free bath and body care collection inspired by Nickelodeon cartoon show SpongeBob SquarePants hit £1.3m sales in its first week.

More than 66,000 items were sold in that seven-day period and the retailer’s website reported a 19% increase in visitors.

Inside Lush's London-based Barbie pop-up in collaboration with Mattel

Inside Lush's London-based Barbie pop-up in collaboration with Mattel

Lush’s partnership strategy is now only going from strength-to-strength, with a Mattel-approved Lush X Barbie product range and pop-up having just launched. 

Tapping into Barbiemania, day one sales for the bathing collection on the retailer’s app came in at £138,000 – the biggest sales day reported in its app history. 

“20% to 30% of all collaboration [sales] are new customers, which is one reason to do them,” says Melody Morton, Lush Concepts Creative Director. 

Our biggest challenge is how do we navigate these collaborations and make sure we do not make the wrong decision – Melody Morton, Lush Concepts Creative Director

“But having a massive retail presence has always been a primary focus of the whole business.

“We have got 900-plus stores globally – a big physical footprint – and we are very passionate about driving people into shops.” 

Two more big-name collaborations are expected

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