It’s a Pot Party! LUSH and One Million Trees in One Day

Not that kind of pot party! It’s a Lush Charity Pot Party to benefit the charity, One Million Trees in One Day, a three-day event in each of Ireland’s LUSH shops in which allll the money made from the sales of their Charity Pot, minus VAT, will go towards funding the reforestation of Ireland.

The Charity Pot is the cornerstone of Lush’s policy of lending a helping hand to charities and grassroots organisations that seek to do good in our communities. One Million Trees in One Day is a cross-border initiative whose goal is to plant that number of young, native trees in both the Republic and the North, to give our ecosystem a boost and help us increase our natural resources.

So head over to a Lush near you and grab a pot. The initiative runs from Friday the 27th to Sunday the 29th, and the addresses of the five shops are below, following a re-post of an interview I did with Gabbi Loedoff last year.

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‘Our hope is that we can create a model that shows a different way to do business,’ says Gabbi Loedolff, a buyer for the SLush Fund initiative. Having started working for the brand as a sales advisor and then manager of Lush‘s busiest London shop, she moved over to working on Lush’s wish list of projects — and somehow found the time to study Anthropology.

She describes her current role as ‘a bit of a dream job: working closely with different communities around the world to understand their needs and potential and help them create truly environmentally, socially and economically sustainable projects.”
GABBI
Now with a new self-preserving formula, the little pot is still doing a lot of good: minus the VAT that goes to the government, the rest of the money made on the hand and body lotion goes to help grassroots causes whose focus is making the world better for people, animals and the environment. Over £7 million has been raised since 2007. In a word: wow. Gabbi spoke to us about how what she does contributes to the Charity Pot and about how one person can in fact make a difference.

Gabbi, can we get some background on you, and your previous work?
I grew up in South Africa and I started working for LUSH in 2001, whilst on a gap year before starting a new university degree. My initial plan was to travel around Europe, but as often happens, I ran out of money and decided to get a temporary job to save some additional funds. I applied to an advert in a newspaper, which led to a job at LUSH and, well, here we are in 2014!

It was during this time that I got the amazing opportunity to manage our charitable SELF-PRESERVED CHARITY POTgiving and launch the Charity Pot in its initial form, so this is a project that is very, very close to my heart. After doing our charitable giving, I did more retail projects before moving into the buying team in 2011. This was near the start of the SLush Fund (Sustainable Lush Fund) and I was fortunate enough to be involved from the early days: creating application procedures, choosing projects to support and actually visiting the groups on the ground.

I remember cornering Mark Constantine, the founder, back in my early days with LUSH to quiz him as to how we were supporting the actual producers of our ingredients, on the ground, and here I am, working on this very same question on a daily basis!

Which SLush Fund ingredient are you the buyer for, and what projects you call your own?
At the moment, I buy all cocoa and product packaging for LUSH, but have been involved with various other materials over the last few years. The way the SLush Fund is set up, I get to be involved with all the projects even if I do not directly buy the material at the end.

One of the projects I am most closely involved with is the cocoa butter from Comunidad de Paz San Jose de Apartado, a Colombian Peace community. We first came across the Peace community through our colleague Paulo Mellet, the man behind the SLush Fund. He told us about this amazing group, working to live a self-sufficient life of peace in an area riddled with conflict, and the challenges they faced.

It just so happened that they grow cocoa, which they struggle to sell on the local market, and we use 100s of tonnes of cocoa butter a year. We had been talking for a while about how to ensure full traceability on our cocoa and this seemed the perfect opportunity to not only support an amazing group of people but also explore a new way of buying cocoa. What better way to support people, as a cosmetics company, than trade based on truly fair prices? We agreed to buy a 25 tonne shipment, which we had sent to Europe to be processed into cocoa butter and cocoa powder.

The relationship with the Peace community has continued to grow and thrive and to date we have bought about 7 shipments of beans from them.

How do you find new vendors?
Most of our partnerships to date have been people that have come recommended to us through the networks we work with. Some of the SLush funding has been to existing suppliers, like the Ojoba Collective that produce our shea butter, while others are completely new relationships.

When we are exploring supporting a new project, we have an application process which includes a detailed but straightforward application form. This application covers the aims, the proposed environmental, social and economic outcomes of the project, the background of the people behind it and we do reference checks too. The budgets need to be quite detailed — we have a limited amount of money and like to ensure that it is being used as efficiently as possible.

Can you talk about a day-in-the-life of someone who is producing a product you’re working with?
The Ojoba Collective in the Bongo Soe region of Ghana consists of around 400 women. It’s a very, very dry region and work is scarce. Before starting the cooperative, many of the women had to leave their families to travel south to try to find work. When we first started working with the group, they had about 40 members. Now, more than 400 women are part of the collective.

The women will finish their chores at home before coming to the processing site. Here they wash the shea nuts before laying them in the sun to dry. The nuts are roasted and ground before the real work begins: they beat the shea liquid, from the nuts that have been ground, until a creamy butter separates from the liquids. This butter is then filtered and boxed up ready to ship out.

The profits are shared equally amongst all the women — even those who have been unable to contribute during a period due to poor health or those that have become too old to work.

They attend literacy classes and have just started a shea tree nursery with support from the SLush Fund. By creating their own shea nursery, they are securing a source of Shea nuts for the future.

How do you see this sort of initiative growing over the next few years?
Our hope is that the projects we have already started will all become financially independent — generating enough income to run themselves without further support — and that we can continue to start new projects around the world. The absolute ideal for us would be to end up in a situation where all our materials are not only sustainable, but regenerative too. Our North American team have started their own SLush project, which is very exciting. For the projects themselves, my feeling is that they will continue to grow and that the amount of people benefiting from the work they do will increase.

It can often feel that, as one person, it can’t be possible to make a difference in the world — can you share some inspiring thoughts or a story that would encourage folks to keep the faith?
I am regularly amazed by just how much of a difference one person can make, and how wide their reach can be. One example is our friend Paulo Mellet, who sadly recently passed away. A dedicated activist and believer in permaculture, it was his inspiration and vision that brought about the SLush Fund. As a company, we were already working hard on sustainable and transparent supply chains, but under his guidance and through his vision, we have taken this so much further.

Another great example is a gentleman called Paul Yeboah from Ghana. He started the Ghana Permaculture Institute demonstration site on a small piece of degraded land. He now has a thriving site that offers permaculture training, grows mushrooms, processes moringa seeds into oil and also very visually illustrates to the local community how you can regenerate soil without using pesticides or fertilisers. They offer a micro financing scheme to women to enable them to start their own businesses.

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Lush Charity Pot: €16.85/£12.95/$22.95 (240g)

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Lush Cork – 96 Oliver Plunkett St, Cork 

Lush Henry Street – 33 Henry Street, Dublin 1, Ireland

Lush Grafton Street – 116 Grafton Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

Lush Belfast – 12-14 Castle Lane, Town Centre, Belfast, BT1 5DA

Lush Newry – Unit 20, The Quays Shopping Centre, Albert Basin, Newry BT35 8QS

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Festive ’14: The Body Shop

BODY SHOP
Love the packaging and equally love the contents: The Body Shop have put together an assortment of vanilla brulée scented goodies, including the trend-setting body butter. This is Joy; you could equally choose Love (frosted cranberry) or Peace (glazed apple).

And what’s with the schoolbook vibe?

Bring harmony to the world with this inspiring Schoolbook of Joy. Proudly made by our Community Fair Trade supplier in Nepal, and full of some of the world’s finest ethically sourced ingredients, this gift has been hand-crafted in book-shaped packaging in honour of our Children in Education initiative with War Child.

I love the gifts that give and give!

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€23: includes body butter 50ml; shower gel 60ml; lip balm 20ml; heart soap 25g

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Good All Round: Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Keep a Child Alive

I’ve been meaning to write about Kiehl’s blue bottle 0001truly spectac Midnight Recovery Concentrate, and I’m glad I waited, because it’s gotten even better: the brand are joining forces with Alicia Keys’ charity Keep a Child Alive. Founded in 2003, the organization provides care and support for children and families who have been effected by the HIV virus.

During the month of February, buying one bottle of Midnight Recovery Concentrate helps Keep a Child Alive provide one month of HIV care, medicines, and love to a child living with HIV.

72% of children who need HIV treatment are not receiving it. “Keep a Child Alive is working towards a world where everyone can lead fulfilling lives, regardless of their HIV status,” says Keys. “Supportive partners like Kiehl’s are part of our extended family. They share our passion for bringing dignified treatment, care and support to children and families affected by HIV. Every action, big or small can make a difference and take us one step closer in making health care a human right.”

It’s not just about the meds and the doctors: the charity also sees to the following:
> Transportation to clinics
> Healthy meals that often are the primary meal of the day
> Fun activities for children to help them live positively and deal with the challenges of life with HIV
> Essential skills training for women so they can financially support their children going forward.

“Kiehl’s has a longstanding heritage of working to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic with our work beginning in the 1980’s, when it was taboo to even talk about the disease. Just in the past 10 years, we have raised more than $2,500,000 for the cause,” saysCheryl Vitali, Kiehl’s Worldwide General Manager.

Studies have shown that half of children who have HIV die by the age of two, which just makes my heart break — and that 80% die before age five. And that 16 million babbas have been orphaned by the disease.

Midnight Recovery Concentrate is one of my top ten night treatments. Since the skin is all relaxed and breathing in the dreamtime, I feel it’s the best time to ‘do’ skincare. This is a dry oil that slowly soaks in, so give yourself a bit of time before you start the zeds. I don’t mind that it takes its time, as it encourages me to massage it in, which is soothing for the muscles of the face, and really gets those lymphs draining. {Maybe, or maybe that is just wishful thinking.}

I inevitably wake up the next morning with a fresh new face. Seriously: I used it just the other night and kind of shocked myself when I caught sight of myself in the mirror the next morning. Because there is always something testing, I had to think twice before I remembered I’d indulged in my MRC.

It’s €42.00 for 30mls, and the brand are donating 100% of the proceeds to the charity.

Do this!

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Kiehl’s, 35 Wicklow Street, D2, and at various department stores and centres

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Green Angel and Barnardos: Win/Win

Typing too quickly, that title came out ‘Win/Wine’ — which is not exactly wrong.

I’ve been off the Green Angel frequency in the last while, and am looking forward to giving some of their new products a go. In the meanwhile, here’s some infoGREEN ANGEL event about their fundraising fashion show in conjunction with Barnardos, at the Ballsbridge Hotel on 22 March.

{Click on the image to enlarge.}

The company use a lot of seaweed, which I love love love. I’ve gotten me paws on some Seaweed Cleansing Lotion with Cucumber and Sage Extracts, which I am gasping to pry out of its package and take it for a spin {TWSS!} There’s also some Seaweed & Aloe Eye Gel that I’ll be happy to test, as well. Sure, I’ll try anything! {She also said that.}

Do support the initiative above, and make a day of it: go and get a blow dry, and/or your makeup done, and then take your bad self out and show it all off.

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The Green Angel website is under construction; email them at shop@greenangel.com for stockist information.

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Who Says There’s No Good News?

Back in April {April? Holy God, anyone remember April? Not me} I met with Paul Drumgoole to avail of the services of Zeba Hairdressing and to chat with him about the fundraising event he and wife/co-owner Angie were running in aid of Temple Street Children’s University Hospital.

Take a look at that big, fat cheque!

Pictured at the presentation of the cheque to Mr. Michael Earley of Temple Street Children’s Hospital is Zeba Hairdressing co-owners Paul and Angie Dromgoole with their sons Christian and Dean. Zeba Hairdressing raised over €8,600 through its recent ‘Treat Yourself and Help the Children’ fundraising event. All proceeds raised are being put towards the Cleft Lip & Palate Unit at Temple Street Children’s Hospital where Paul and Angie’s son Christian, who has a cleft palate, has received ongoing treatment and support.

That’s just great. Well done to everyone who participated. And My hair is still looking pretty fab. Oh, crap, mid-April, that was like six or seven weeks ago. No wonder the roots are starting to show…

Speaking of Hair: Zeba Salon Fundraising Event

When am I not speaking about hair?

I had an amazing session at Zeba Hairdressing in South William Street, and it wasn’t all about me getting a beautiful cut and new highlights — although, of course, I have to be able to say with conviction that the services provided are top notch, right? Well, they are, and what’s more, the stylists and colourists at the salon are not only good with their hands, they are good with their hearts.

On Sunday, 15 April, Zeba are hosting a ‘Treat Yourself and Help the Children’ fundraising day in aid of Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, with proceeds going to the Cleft Lip & Palate Department. Owners Paul and Angie Drumgoole have a particular attachment to this department, as it has provided necessary, and exemplary, care for their youngest son Christian, who was born with a cleft palate.

All proceeds from the day go to the hospital, and all staff at work during the 11 am to 5pm time slot are working for free.

Treatments on offer are:
>A cut and blowdry for €50
>Colour, cut and blowdry for just €100
>Highlights and a cut and blowdry for €150
>Nail treatments in the salon on the day for €10.

And you get a  L’Oreal goody bag to take home with you. Bonus!

The salon is top-grade, and amongst the many pleasures — expert colour consultation with Laura, thorough discussion with Paul as to exactly how much hair was going to end up on the floor, and how to get more bang for my highlighting buck — the seats at the sinks are massage chairs, and oh! if only I was sitting here now, blogging away, in a massage chair… I would be asleep and would never publish this a’tall.

Paul speaks quite movingly about how Temple Street have been there for Christian every step of the way, and it is really quite exceptional that his staff are donating their talents gratis. The vibe in the place was very buzzy the day I went in, and it wasn’t just from busy-ness: it was clear, from the warm reception through the great attention paid during my session, that the people that work there not only like working there, but they like each other, too.

There’s more info at zeba.ie — check out the raffle prizes! Hampers of haircare products! Jewellery! A Trocadero restaurant voucher! How much better can this actually get?

To make an appointment, ring Zeba on (01) 671 6444. Pictured: a gorgeous result.