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A Mail Order Story with MinaLima

Nothing feels better than the unboxing of your latest Lush haul - the anticipation when you get that knock on the door, you see that label, and you’re wondering if this is your recent online splurge or a gift from a loved one.

Enter MinaLima: the design duo making sure that unwrapping your gift adds to the thrill of finally getting your hands on your goodies. MinaLima was founded in 2010 by Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima after eight years working together on the graphic design elements of the Harry Potter film series.

Now, with a team of 15 and a gallery of their work in London, they are developing their own projects as well as helping to design our seasonal mail-order boxes. Mira explains: “We always have quite an organic way of working with Lush. We get a very open-ended brief and the common thread with everything we discuss is storytelling. We had a conversation about the element of reveal and discovery and going back to what the customer’s experience should be. It’s much more of an interesting process for us as designers if there is some sort of journey that you’ve got to describe to the customer.”

Suzie Hackney, from Lush gifts creative direction team, worked with MinaLima on the project. She recalls: “We talked about how the boxes are able to travel everywhere and continuing that message around Christmas. We were trying to increase the experience of the packaging for the customer. We wanted to make it beautiful with a nice sentiment”. That sentiment was freedom of movement.

MinaLima, Lush

Back in 2017, we updated our We Believe statement, to reaffirm our support of staff and customers from around the world, as well as our belief in no borders. With ‘We believe that all people should enjoy freedom of movement across the world’ displayed in shop windows up and down the country, it was a strong response to the social divides revealed by Brexit.

Freedom of movement has also been integral to MinaLima’s success. Mira explains: “We wouldn’t have our working relationship if Eduardo didn’t have the option to be here. We’ve been blessed in this country to have that freedom. The work you produce is also able to travel the globe. I remember when we sold our first print, I googled the address and it was sent to the middle of Australia. I couldn’t believe that our little baby had been able to communicate with someone all the way on the other side of the world.”

Eduardo, who is from Brazil, has now gained British citizenship but understands that Brexit will have an impact on many people and businesses. “Moving to the UK was a life-changing decision, but one that was open to me because of my heritage. I am hopeful that the multiculturalism of London will continue to thrive,” he states.

Upcycling and reusing is a key Lush value and so, in addition to bringing freedom of movement to life, Mira and Eduardo worked hard to make a box so special that customers would simply have to keep it. Cranes are depicted flying around the world to represent the freedom of movement birds have and the migration routes they take at various times of the year. The bright solid colours were one of the favourite elements of the brief for Eduardo, who says: “The great thing with Lush is the freedom to work with bright colours because sometimes, even in films, we have to be aware that the colours cannot be too vibrant. With Lush, we don’t have that problem”.

MinaLima met by chance, unaware of the success they would have with the designs and props they created for the Harry Potter film franchise. Now they are unable to imagine separate paths. Mira explains: “We always say that we would have been very different designers if we had gone our separate ways. The sum of the parts feels greater than us having pursued individual careers.” They keep their ideas aligned by sitting together every day and sharing the process. In fact, Eduardo sums up their working relationship perfectly, saying: “We are one brain and two people”. The pair give credit where it’s due though and are very vocal about their team's input and hard work on the project: “We couldn’t do anything without the team, they are amazing wizards,” says Eduardo.

Drawing on the very poignant themes of freedom and unity in the current climate, MinaLima have turned your Christmas unpacking experience into a magical story - and the collaboration doesn’t stop with the festive season. The talented duo and their team have worked with Lush to design some all-year-round boxes that will be released in the spring. Ethics, intricate patterns and storytelling will combine to bring you boxes that can be reused and collected for your Lush stash. Stay tuned for the next chapter.


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