Day in the Life: Simon Constantine
From being woken up by princesses to struggling with terrible internet connections deep in the Amazon rainforest, there’s no such thing as a typical day for Simon Constantine, who is the head perfumer and buyer at international cosmetics company Lush.
Simon Constantine on a buying trip. Photo credit: Lush
If I’m home then an average morning starts with a burst of adrenaline as my two young daughters (aged three and six) jump into bed, usually already dressed in princess outfits or waving swords around, whilst my two rescue dogs bound up the stairs. Once the chaos has subsided, breakfast, teeth and clothes are sorted out on the right people. Then it’s off to work.
There are very few normal days at work though and I’m just as likely to be waking up in a tent in Peru or a ramshackle hotel room in Kenya. My job takes me to literally every corner of the globe sourcing raw materials, and in particular essential oils, that are vital to our business and the perfumes I create. I inhabit many roles at Lush; creating innovative new fragrances, working with our ethical buying team and even chairing our board meetings.
Wherever I am, I will try and check on my emails before I start working. Often there’s a poor internet connection when I’m travelling and it can be difficult to stay in touch with work and home when I’m on a particularly remote trip. To date, the most difficult areas to get reception are in the deep Amazon and in one corner of my lounge.
At work, if I am lucky enough to be in creative mode, I’ll sit down with my Dad and other product creators and founders at Lush. We’re a close team and a few people I work with even changed my nappies – information which they relish in imparting if I get a bit big for my boots. Creating new products with Dad can be a great challenge and often there will be some friction as we try to arrive at the right creative outcome, but inevitably the end product is stronger for it and I’ll buy dad a sandwich for lunch to calm him down.
One thing that I work hard on when creating product perfumes or fine fragrances is building good relationships with the people I have met who work hard on creating the ingredients. The real problems can come when I see something on a trip which doesn’t fit with my own, or the company’s, ethics. To help solve that I also work with a team on the Sustainable Lush fund (SLush fund) that distributes funds to solve some of these problems.
For instance, can we buy essential oils that don’t require rainforest to be cut down in order to grow them and also earn local people money? Or can we remove destructive materials from our products and replace them with materials that bring in better practices – maybe growing back forest, or finding a market for endangered crops and people?
Either way, every day is a challenge and, if I’m home, I usually finish it in time to tuck the girls up in bed with a story, water the vegetables and walk the dogs. Then I’ll have dinner with my wife before flopping on the sofa for a good boxset.
I try to get to bed early, but if it’s a particularly good TV series I’m guilty of staying up that bit too long before heading to bed. If it’s a quiet night neither of the children will wake me up and I’ll get a good 7-8 hours.
This article was originally published in Pioneers Post Quarterly, the printed edition of this magazine. To find out more about PPQ, including how to subscribe, click here.
Photo credit: Lush