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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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Constantine and the Cosmetic Factory Contd...

The colors, shapes and aromas of the products made them seem almost edible. Minimal or no packaging was used.

When the products were moved into stores, the stores were designed to look like old-fashioned. delicatessens.9 In 1995, the first Lush store was formally launched in Poole, Dorset, UK.

With Lush, Constantine brought in a unique approach to the marketing of beauty products. Lush did not have a traditional marketing department, and relied on innovative products, in-store advertising, word-of-mouth advocacy, and public relations to promote the products.

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

With the increasing popularity, Lush grew to over 400 stores worldwide. Constantine had even unsuccessfully tried to acquire Body Shop in 2001.

The success of Lush prompted Constantine to launch another chain of beauty stores for expensive perfumes and makeup. This sister concern of Lush was named B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful (B Never). As of 2006, there were three B Never stores in the UK.

Some analysts felt that the there was a strange similarity between Constantine and the fictitious character Willy Wonka (Wonka) in British author Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.10 They felt that Constantine's unconventional product development philosophy coupled with his eccentric management style was very much similar to that of Wonka.

His snazzy shirts and cheerful disposition were also reminiscent of Wonka. Even Constantine's early childhood years were similar - if the fictional character had a traumatized childhood as he wasn't allowed to eat chocolates by his father, Constantine spent his childhood pining for his absent father. If the Freudian backdrop of Wonka led him to create impossible delicacies in his chocolate factory, Constantine had created a perfume to conjure up his absent father...

Excerpts >>

9]  A delicatessen is a shop that sells ready-to-eat food products (mainly salads and sandwiches).

10] Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) is a children's book based on the story of the adventures of young Charlie Bucket inside the chocolate factory of an eccentric candy manufacturer Willy Wonka (Wonka). The book was adapted into two movies, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). In the 2005 version, Wonka was the son of dentist who did not allow him to eat candies. When he becomes an adult, Wonka opens his own candy store and becomes an unparalleled genius in confectionery development with products such as ice cream that never melts, and small candy eggs that hatch chocolate birds. (Source:


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