If I'm going to be honest, I'll say that while I was both intrigued and excited by the idea of Lush's first 'Superstore', I was equally terrified. As someone who calls herself a collector and has a tendency to do everything in double measures, I didn't know whether it was a dream or a nightmare to be presented with not 1, not 10, not even 100, but over 200 new Lush products to buy, try and review. This trip would definitely make or break me...and I wasn't sure that I really wanted to find out which it would be.
My first dilemma was deciding what time I should head down to the store. Lush had stated that the doors would be open from 11am, but I had no idea what was an acceptable time to queue outside a cosmetics shop to buy surplus supplies of shower gel and bath bombs - I'd had no previous experience, you see. As it happened, my decision to get there just before 9am proved to be spot on. While there were a small handful of fans when I arrived (enough to stop me looking like the craziest person there), there weren't enough to buy up all of the Lord Of Misrule Shower Gel before I got there so I was happy.
Over the next two hours, the 'buzz' of the new store increased ten-fold - manifesting itself as a snake of eager Lush fans - all armed with empty bags and talk of the products they were hoping to snag for themselves. As Lush TV interviewed excitable queuers and lonesome hopefuls cemented friendships with other like-minded folk, the feeling was both positive but restrained - the civility of which comforted me for I knew that there wasn't going to be a repeat of Black Friday here today.
At 11am, Mark and Mo Constantine opened the doors and untied the makeshift knot-wrap ribbon, and I found myself in a store that surpassed even my wildest dreams. Boasting three stories, this superstore was garnished with colour and furness - a stunning array of products that showcased the very magic and beauty that make Lush such an important and wonderful company today.
While you would expect a store with so many products to be crowded and 'messy', the layout and design only served to showcase each section in all of its glory. Furthermore, the shape construction supported the high-level of customers and staff without making you feel like a fly in a spider's web - Wholefoods should definitely seek advice from these guys.
On the ground floor, you were treated to an impressive selection of products for the feet, hair and face - all displayed so that it was easy to find what you were looking for. This level also featured Lush's new make-up range - a stunning array of coloured blocks, powders and bottles that triumphed over any other cosmetic counter that I have ever come across. Next to this was mounds of new lip balms and toothy tabs, revamped lip tints and various other 'Pic 'n' Mix products. Behind this was probably the most popular section of the entire shop - the shower section, which featured a colourful display of shower gels, jellies, showders and solid smoothies.
The back was lined with a long and very overflowing counter of new Lush soaps - stacks of colourful blocks that promised scents for any occasion and every preference. Once you'd decided which products you wanted, a Lush employee was on hand to cut a piece to the required size and wrap it with a big smile.
Upstairs was solely bath bombs, bubble bars and solid bath oils - the latter section looking like you'd stumbled upon a sweet shop of glittery proportions. It was on this layer that I was overcome with excitement when I discovered a table dedicated to new FUN bars - a display that would definitely win most colourful as well as most playful to boot.
While it doesn't need to be said that every person in the store today was there for the products, it was the atmosphere that really made the experience a phenomenal one. Mark Constantine was the perfect host - greeting and talking to fans and demonstrating that his love for this company is as strong as ever. Not once did it seem that he was simply there 'to show face' - his passion and enthusiasm Lush is what inspired such dedication from fans such as myself. Thanking me for being there and supporting his company, I really felt like he meant it.
During my time in the shop, I had so many employees, in-house photographers and members of the Lush Kitchen approach me to chat about my experience in the store. They all seem genuinely interested and many of them were keen to express their love and appreciation for my blog, which was so uplifting and humbling.
Approaching the counter with what seemed like half a shop in my basket, I was initially worried that I was going to ruin the server's already busy morning. However, I was greeted with the same excitement and fervour that everyone else in the store seemed to possess and this only served to make the experience even more pleasant. "I've been waiting for this day for a long time" she chimed when I asked her about how she was feeling, "I'm riding the wave of excitement that you guys are creating, it's magical". I couldn't help but smile.
As the checkout chick waved goodbye and slipped a free large slice of soap into my bag with a cheeky wink, I could think of only one thing: this store is not just about the limited edition products or the impressive amount of space they have to fill; it's about bringing to life the excitement that Lush first started out with; it's about pushing the boundaries of what can and cannot be achieved in the way of cosmetics; it's about celebrating what Lush have achieved by giving it back to the consumer.
This superstore is a marvel - a feat that the creators of Lush should be proud of and one that I hope will inspire future projects and opportunities. Although I had gone into the store as a consumer, I definitely felt like I left it as a valuable member of a rather large and extended family.