This month we caught up with Lush’s Fresh Manager Tracey Miles to talk about her role at Lush in New Zealand, her favourite products and what lead her to the Lush Fresh Kitchen.
Tell us a bit about your role at Lush?
I am the Manager for the Fresh Kitchen in New Zealand, we make and supply nine New Zealand stores with twenty one fresh, handmade products. These include fresh face masks that you find on the ice when you visit our stores, five hand rolled cleansers, a foot mask and a hair mask.
My role involves fulfilling the store orders, ordering raw materials from New Zealand, Australia and the UK, finding new suppliers in New Zealand, attending Lush events to demonstrate how to make products and creating online content like our “How It’s Made” videos. I also manage a small but very dedicated team who make and pot our products.
What does a normal day look like for you?
I spend my day in the kitchen working with the team; hand labelling pots and lids, potting products, packing and sending stock to stores. Sometimes I’ll also hand make and pot the products myself when staff members are away.
What’s your favourite Lush product / product line? (Mine is Snow Fairy!)
My favourite product is Cup O’Coffee face mask which has freshly brewed coffee infusion and coffee grounds to stimulate and exfoliate, Agave syrup to moisturise. Perfect as a morning perk up in the shower, and I love scrubbing it all over my body. I’m a little biased though, as we make it in New Zealand! My favourite range is our hair care range, the solid shampoo bars and solid Henna blocks are ingenious.
What do you love to do in your spare time when you aren’t at Lush?
I’m currently training for a half marathon so I’m spending a lot of time training. I’m passionate about food and eating, so I spend a lot of my time cooking for people, going to markets and trying out new places.
I make pop culture and feminist cross stitch for friends, and am currently working on creating an Instagram page so I can make pieces for others. I like tramping when the weather is fine, movie theatres when it is wet. I love anything that involves me with a coffee in one hand and a book in the other.
What are the highlights of your job?
Being able to hand make, pot, label, pack and send products to the stores, knowing that someone is going to buy it, take it home and love it; that is my favourite part of my job.
Having a face sticker is most definitely a highlight because being able to put your ‘face sticker of approval’ on each product is really rewarding. As I work in the kitchen, I still get to smell as amazing as if I worked in the stores again, just without the glitter!
Any challenges / difficult parts?
Most of our challenges are caused by supply issues, which will mean that we cannot make certain products for New Zealand. This could be because of customs holding up our raw materials or supply issues for UK sourced ingredients. If there are storms such as what we have recently seen in New Zealand, fruit and vegetables that we use in our products become harder to find.
If you were to tip out your hand bag / beauty bag – what would we find?
You would find a lot of supermarket receipts and pens! I’ll always have on me: Lush’s lipstick in Boss, Eye’s Right mascara and a Knot Wrap, Benefit’s Gimme Brow eyebrow gel and 24 Hour brow setter gel, bobby pins, and a book.
At the moment I’m carrying around the latest National Geographic and “Half The Sky: Turning Oppression in Opportunity for Women Worldwide” by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn.
If you took a look back at your schooling years, did you do any activities or subjects that have led you to this career path?
Throughout high school and university I worked in hospitality, mostly in kitchens. After university I kept working in kitchens and after that I realised that a desk job wasn’t for me. In 2010 I studied Culinary Arts at Weltec in Wellington and I worked as a chef until I moved to Auckland in 2014 when I started working for LUSH. I worked in various stores before moving to New Zealand Fresh Kitchen in 2017.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Never underestimate the importance of investing in yourself. I’ve been known to invest more time and energy in the people around me, and find I have nothing left for myself; so I make sure to remember this advice often.