A CO-FOUNDER of Lush has said shutting down its main social media accounts was “ethically” the right thing to do even though the “jury is still out” on the decision.

Rowena Bird was one of the six people who founded the cruelty-free cosmetics brand 25 years ago in Poole.

She was among the speakers at yesterday’s Entrepreneur Summit, organised by podcaster Alex Chisnall and Sunny Bird PR, at Bournemouth’s Hilton.

Ms Bird was questioned about the decision to shut Lush’s main social media channels in April this year. The company – which had 569,000 followers on Instagram and 405,000 on Facebook –had said it was “tired of fighting with algorithms” and did not want to pay to appear in people’s news feeds.

“I wonder whether we maybe did it a little bit too soon. We’re very good at having an idea and getting on with it. Maybe we did it a bit fast, so we didn’t have somewhere for the people to go that followed us on Instagram,” she said.

“We saw a little dip in sales on mail order. Is it related to that? We don’t know. But we feel it was right to do that.”

She said companies increasingly had to pay to get their message seen on social media. “We were making a stand really,” she added.

“The jury’s still out as to whether that was a good idea or not but ethically we feel good about it.”

The company – whose turnover now exceeds a billion US dollars – was set up after the demise of the partners’ previous business, Cosmetics To Go.

“Twenty-five years ago, we were just recovering from the collapse of Cosmetics to Go. We were all thinking about what we were going to do next,” she said.

“We all got together again and started up and what we thought we would do was open our first shop in Poole. That’s the home of Lush, 29 High Street and our labs above that.”

She added: “Our dreams just expanded day by day. We didn’t have a big vision of how we were going to be. We were happy to be employed and to be working together again and happy to take it step by step.”

Asked about the state of the high street, she told how Lush had recently opened its biggest store in the world, a four-storey branch in Liverpool.

“The landlords were like ‘Everybody on earth is downsizing What on earth do you think you’re doing?’,” he added.

“It’s doing really well and people are loving it because it offers many other things than just a Lush store,” she said.

She added: “Spectacle is important. From the displays to the products we well, it’s all about spectacle.”

She said the appeal of Selfridges between the wars was an inspiration. “You could go to Selfridges and buy something smaller and escape from the negativity of how it was in those days,” she said.

And she said the company had been willing to hire people other companies overlooked, regardless of issues like piercings and hair colours.

“If you’ve got passion and you want to work with us and you’re going to enjoy what we do, then you’re very welcome,” she said.

“The team was described as looking like the cast of Star Trek. It’s really like that, but not in a rude way, in a really wonderful way,” she added.

Yesterday’s Entrepreneur Summit also heard from Alan and Juliet Barrett, the founders of Grenade; Dragons’ Den star Piers Linney; Camilla Ainsworth, finalist in The Apprentice and founder of MylkPlus; Cemal Ezel, founder of Change Please; and Hannah Anderson, co-founder of Social Chain.