Lush beginnings

Gabbi Loedolff on her busy role with Lush Cosmetics and family life


Mum to Finn, age six and Harper, age three, Gabbi Loedolff speaks to Time Out Kids about her busy role with Lush Cosmetics and why family always comes first.

Tell us about your role with Lush?
I help manage the packaging buying team and work on a range of projects alongside this, although I started by working on raw materials – oils and butters in particular. There are 5 of us that oversee all the packaging and print items, from handmade papers to 100% post consumer recycled bottles to labels and knot wraps. My main focus is finding community projects to work with and looking for new, exciting, sustainable materials to incorporate into our packaging. I also work as part of a small team managing our Sustainable Lush Fund, dedicated to developing truly environmentally, economically and socially sustainable supply chains.

How is family life different as a result of being part of this huge company?
I had been working for Lush for quite a while before I had my children and it has always felt a bit like my extended family. I feel lucky that I have been given a series of opportunities since having children that have allowed me to feel challenged and be developed, whilst giving me the flexibility to maintain a work-life balance. We have a large number of working mothers at every level of the business, which is great to see.

How do you juggle motherhood and work?
As best I can, as with any other working parent! On weekends, we discuss what we would like to do as a family. Be it baking, going to the cinema, playing in the garden. I make a point of not looking at my emails during the boys’ waking hours so that I am not distracted while we spend time together. My partner travels quite a bit for work as well, so we always ensure that we are not away at the same time if at all possible. He also has flexibility in his working day, so we make sure one of us is around to put the boys to bed.

Tell us about an average family day
The boys are up by 6am and they wake up with huge appetites. We have breakfast together and have a general chat and play before our au pair takes over at 8am – she gets them ready for school and nursery. I’m in the office for 9am most days and try to get home by 6pm to have dinner with them. Then it’s bath time (quite a lengthy process with lots of bubbles and making models out of FUN). Once they are in their pajamas they choose a story each followed by as many songs as we can muster before lights out at 8pm. If I have been away on a trip, I will try to work from home a bit more so that I cut down the travel time to and from the office and can drop them at school myself.

What are your favourite Lush products?
Ultrabland facial cleanser is an all time favourite. It is incredibly gentle and yet very effective at removing every bit of makeup and grime at the end of a long day, whether I’ve been running around London or traveling along dirt roads in some far off location. Also Seanick solid shampoo (great for traveling) and King of Skin as a body lotion – you can use it in the shower or on dry skin anytime. When it comes to the boys, they absolutely adore FUN. We simply cannot have a bath without me making them each a figurine before they hop in.

What kind of feedback have you had from other mothers who use Lush products?
If they are quite new to Lush, I usually introduce them to products for the kids first. Every one of Finn’s friends got FUN last Christmas and the response was great. They really love the transparency of the ingredients we use and the fact that the products are handmade. Once I’ve explained the ethics and stories behind it, they are even more excited. I think often people don’t realise the more ethical side of the company and how beautiful and gentle the products are, so I really enjoy talking to them about it.

How does Lush give back in terms of helping children and families?
In my opinion, one of the biggest ways we give back to kids and families is through our buying practices. We look to work directly with growers and producers where possible so that the financial benefit goes directly to them and their families. A lot of the projects we support benefit women in particular. One example is our canvas bags that are handmade by the re-wrap cooperative in India. The co-op members are all female and often sole income earners for their families. Our Shea butter is produced by hand by the 400 women of the Ojoba Collective in Ghana and having been out to visit them in January this year, one of the most powerful messages I brought back was the difference this is making to these women and their families. Before, they often had to travel south looking for work in the dry season, leaving their families behind. Now, they have a steady income and are able to send their children to school.
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