The challenge is set… How to make an advent calendar without the wasteful packaging. The answer? Use recycled materials. Tick. Pack it with full-sized, exclusive products to pamper and play with. Tick. Make it bold and beautiful so it can be kept forever. Double tick.
Picture the scene. It’s 1st December, which means one thing: it’s time to begin the official countdown to Christmas with the advent calendar you’ve been waiting for. After you’ve unfurled the ribbon and opened the doors to the deluxe treasure chest that sits before you, a familiar scent surrounds you. Lush Christmas. You can barely contain your euphoria for the products that await you, and the prospect of being able to reuse the beautiful box afterwards fills you with elation.
Sure to surprise and delight, this gift, made for keeps, ups the ante. Only 500 have been made - each handcrafted, each box numbered by hand in our signature Lush font. And it’s not just the 24 glorious goodies that will wow the lucky recipient. The creative and intricate details of how it’s made are something to write home about too.
The conception of the gift began with its design. The gift designers are never a team to do things by halves, so when it came to finally innovating a bespoke Lush advent calendar, they wanted to ensure that the box would be for life, not just for Christmas.
“We’ve wanted to create a Lush advent calendar for a long time, but we’ve always found that the boxes we needed to create would end up being so over-packaged, that it wasn’t justifiable in terms of the environmental impact,'' says Emma Caswell from the gift design team.
But staff and customers alike have been asking for it, and the gifts team wanted to deliver. They had an idea that would give the people what they wanted, without leaving piles of packaging that would eventually head to landfill.
“This year we thought that if we were going to create an advent calendar, we should focus on making it as reusable as possible so that it would be used again and again throughout the year and would become something the customer wanted to keep out on display,” Emma says.
Bold, bright swirls and ripples of vibrant colour emblazoned on every panel means that every time you look at the box, it’s like you’re seeing it for the first time. Not only are the scents that emanate from the drawers striking, but the enticing patterns also make their own statement.
This is a box for keeping. The vintage print samples that inspired the design of the box, typical of the Art Deco style period, are by E. A. Seguy, a French designer. Emma played with the idea of contrasting patterns working together. Using colour and shape, she and her team worked to create a collection of prints that would stand-out on different sides of the box and work cohesively as an overall design.
“A selection of designs work together on individual panels, and together they make it a really quirky piece that’s also luxurious. We then worked hard to match the ribbon colour to the dark blue in the design,” Emma explains.
But the tricky part wasn’t over yet. After the design was printed, sent for lamination and foiling, there was still the matter of constructing the box. Putting together a beauty advent calendar with three drawers, 24 separate compartments, then adding the bespoke design prints to their chosen panels, isn’t an easy feat.
Noel Greenwood, managing director of the box making company that specialises in handmade presentation packaging, and was entrusted to handmake limited edition gift 29, shared just a few of the intricacies that the team, made up of about 14 pairs of hands, faced:
“While none of the processes used in the making of this box are unique, the combination is. We’ve never made a three-drawer box of this size with closing doors before.”
Ensuring the drawers operate successfully and the doors close in the right way, are just some of the finer details that have to be considered. But Noel was confident that, with a dedicated team of experienced box-makers at hand, they would be up for the challenge.
“The main technical issue lies in the internal construction. Unlike the 29 gift we made once before, this box has more compartments, and therefore, more internal structure. Having said that, it’s not unusual for us to try something new. We’re always willing to try something different.”
The boxes then head back to the Lush factory to be filled with exclusive body, bath, and makeup products - among many more - for you to enjoy. And once you’ve counted your way down to Christmas, you can enjoy reusing this one of a kind box for years to come.