Quitting social media is hard, especially if you’re a multimillion-dollar cosmetics company with a huge following. But, that’s exactly what Lush Cosmetics has done in a move that will cost the company $13 million, but the CEO says it was worth it.

Lush shut down its Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat accounts globally on Friday, citing its concern about the harms of social media in the wake of Facebook whistleblower revelations.

A post shared by Lush Cosmetics North America (@lushcosmetics)

Lush Cosmetics is known for its colorful, luxurious bath bombs and handmade organic soaps. The company has developed a following for using vegetarian recipes, 85% of which are also vegan. The company operates stores in 49 countries globally, with most locations located in the US.

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Lush’s chief executive officer, Mark Constantine, says he knew vanishing from millions of customers’ screens would do damage. But the 69-year-old businessman chose to do something rare in the business world, siding with his morals over his company’s bottom line.

He was disturbed by leaked Facebook research that suggested its Instagram app made body image issues worse for teenage girls.

“I just thought ‘That’s their own research and they’re ignoring it and we are attracting people to their platform.’ We had no choice whatsoever. Lush attracts an awful lot of girls of that age.”

In an interview with the Guardian, Constantine revealed his company would likely lose £10 million ($13.3 million) by quitting Facebook. But he reiterated that he has been trying to run an ethical beauty empire since starting the Poole-based company in 1995.

“I’ve spent all my life avoiding putting harmful ingredients in my products. There is now overwhelming evidence we are being put at risk when using social media,” Constantine said in a statement. “I’m not willing to expose my customers to this harm, so it’s time to take it out of the mix.”

The company owns over 400 stores and had $580 million in sales last year. The cosmetics company survived the global pandemic, admittedly with some scars, but sales have rebounded and Constantine claims the company is financially ‘stronger than it has ever been’.

Lush made a similar statement in 2019. When the pandemic shuttered its stores, the company was forced back to social media to interact with shoppers. The CEO says he hopes this doesn’t happen again, or he will ‘be a laughing stock’.

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Sources: The Guardian, Business Insider

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