Lush – the purveyors of delicious smelling, fresh, handmade cosmetics - now do in-store parties. And if you are the parent of a tween (or a teen or an adult), it may prove to be a winner as their next birthday party.
It needs to be stated upfront that this is not a cheap party, but you can see where the money goes, and as far as the party guests were concerned, it was 'the best party ever.' Why? They got to go shopping as part of their party, but from my perspective, it was also because they got to learn new things – the kids didn't realise it, but their evening was peppered with science, maths, art and design and more. I'm sure Lush didn't plan on their parties being so academic, but it was great to see the kids being so thoughtful.
There are three types of parties at Lush. They are marketed as being suitable for everything from hens parties to kids parties, or for groups of friends who are just interested in having a unique experience. Each party includes a minimum of $20 for each person to spend in-store on the night. There is the sixty minute 'Happy Hour' for $35pp, the ninety-minute 'Fun and Games' for $40pp or the ninety minute 'Beauty School' for $70 (and includes $50 worth of products).
They also offer separate product making kits – bath bombs and face masks - but these aren't available at the one hour party, which is why I found myself with six squealing 11-year-olds on a Friday night at the Fun and Games party.
That's the other thing – the parties are only available after the store closes from its normal trading hours – and each store will be different – in WA for example, parties at the suburban Lush stores are only available Friday nights from 5.30pm. That's only four per month – and they do book out quickly, so be organised. You have to call your local store to find out when they do parties.
You are allowed to bring grazing food and a birthday cake, but I found the kids were too busy and excited to eat anything more than some cut up fruit and lollies. In keeping with the ethos of the stores, all food must be vegetarian, even vegan if possible. Luckily Cheezels are vegetarian.
The party is simple enough – and every store probably has its own repertoire of games based on the age and number of guests, so yours might be different – but for my six tweenie girls, they played a series of increasingly difficult (and funny) games involving passing a bath bomb without the use of their hands, and then in pairs, used scarves to design and model an outfit.
We had elected to make a bath bomb on top of the party package so at least 20 minutes was dedicated to this. At an extra cost of $85, I was pleasantly surprised to find that each girl made three each (and I got to make one too). Even better, was seeing them dressed in face masks and gloves (they looked like mad scientists) and the silence as they were told about the various components of the bath bomb, how it worked, how it would react, each of them fascinated and not realising it was actually a science lesson.
While each girl made their bath bomb, the others variously waited in line or checked out the various products. By this stage they had found out they would each be able to spend $20 – and it seemed like the most important decision of their lives – and also an excellent maths lesson with the kids borrowing and lending between them so everyone got what they want.
The hour and a half went so quickly, and everyone left with a huge goody bag with their shopping, their three bath bombs, and a couple of free samples. Overall, it cost $325 for six people (and this didn't include food) but $205 of this went on products, the other $120 went towards two great hosts for the ninety-minute party, which is no more than any other type of hosted party.
Admittedly it is a huge layout for a kids' party and not for everyone, but from my perspective, it was an absolute winner in terms of being so easy and the kids loving it.