Mark Constantine: The Willy Wonka of the Beauty Industry

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN046
Case Length : 24 Pages
Period : 2002-2006
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
Industry : Beauty care / Cosmetics
Countries : UK, Europe, USA

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"We're far more challenged by our customers than we ever are by our competitors."1

- Mark Constantine, Managing Director and Co-founder,
Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, in 2005.

"Constantine's learned the hard way what works, and what doesn't. He's been in the cosmetics industry for years, and was instrumental in making The Body Shop such a success in the 1980s."2

- Charles Orton-Jones, Deputy Editor of Real Business,3 in 2005.

"... whether he knows it or not, Constantine has stumbled upon a solution to what Harvard professor Clayton Christensen famously called the "innovator's dilemma," in which companies become so devoted to their successes that they over-look disruptive innovations: He's doing the disrupting himself. Otherwise, he might miss the next hot thing that the invariably fickle cosmetics customer craves."4

- Lucas Conley of Fast Company,5 in 2005.

Constantine and the Cosmetic Factory

In October 2006, Mark Constantine (Constantine), the co-founder of Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics (Lush), a UK-based producer and marketer of ethical beauty products, received the "Trail-blazer" award from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)6 Europe for the contribution made by Lush toward environment- and animal-friendly products and for the company's campaigns against animal testing.7

Constantine was one of the pioneers who championed the cause against animal testing in the cosmetics and beauty care industry. He is also admired as an innovative entrepreneur, with Lush having more than 400 stores worldwide.

Leadership and Entrepreneurship Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Case Studies

In the 1970s, Constantine started his first venture Constantine and Weir Plc. (C&W), which produced and supplied bath and beauty products to a number of retailers. It grew to become the primary supplier of beauty products to The Body Shop International Plc.8 (Body Shop).

In the early 1990s, Body Shop bought out the rights to Constantine's formulas as it wanted to shift production in-house and expand the supplier base. Constantine invested the proceeds of the sale in a new venture Cosmetics to Go (CTG), a mail order catalogue of beauty products. However, this venture was a failure.

In 1994, when CTG went bankrupt, Constantine and his team started selling handmade cosmetics at car boot sales. The team experimented with products such as fruits and vegetables that were rarely used in the manufacture of cosmetics at that time. The products were sold fresh with an expiry date.

Mark Constantine: The Willy Wonka of the Beauty Industry - Next Page>>

1]  Lucas Conley, "How Lush Cleans Up,", July 2005.

2] Charles Orton-Jones, "Feature: I'll Have What Mark Constantine is Having,", July 2005.

3] Real Business is a magazine intended for entrepreneurs who wanted to grow their business. It was launched in 1996.

4] Lucas Conley, "Rinse and Repeat,", July, 2005.

5] Fast Company is a monthly business magazine on innovation, digital media, technology, change management, leadership, design and social responsibility. It was launched in 1995.

6] People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) based in Norfolk, Virginia, USA, is the largest animal rights organization in the world. (Source:

7] "Lush CEO Wins PETA Europe's 'Trail-blazer' Award,", October 24, 2006.

8] The Body Shop International Plc. is a British chain of cosmetics stores founded by Anita and Gordon Roddick in 1976. The company is based in Littlehampton, West Sussex, UK, and its stores are located across the world. In December 2006, it became part of French cosmetic group, L'Oréal SA. When Constantine first met Roddick, Body Shop was at a formative stage with only one store.


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