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  • Anita Roddick Sweetrocks Inspiring Woman

    Anita Roddick Inspiring Woman

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    Anita Roddick Sweetrocks Inspiring Woman

    Dame Anita Lucia Roddick was a British businesswoman, human rights activist and environmental campaigner, best known as the founder of The Body Shop, a cosmetics company producing and retailing natural beauty products that shaped ethical consumerism. The company was one of the first to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals in some of its products and one of the first to promote fair trade with developing countries.

    Roddick was involved in activism and campaigning for environmental and social issues, including involvement with Greenpeace and The Big Issue. In 1990, Roddick founded Children on the Edge, a charitable organization which helps disadvantaged children in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. She believed that business should offer a form of moral leadership, being a more powerful force in society than religion or government.

    In the late 1990s, she became involved in advocating for the Angola Three, African-American prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary who had already been held in solitary confinement for decades. She helped raise international awareness and funds to aid in their appeals of flawed trials.

    Anita Roddick opened the first Body Shop in 1976, with the goal of earning an income for herself and her two daughters while her husband was away in South America. She wanted to provide quality skin care products in refillable containers and sample sizes, all marketed with truth rather than hype. She opened her second shop six months later. On her husband’s return, he joined the business. By 1991, the Body Shop had 700 branches, and Roddick was awarded the 1991 World Vision Award for Development Initiative. In 1993 she told Third Way Magazine:

    The original Body Shop was a series of brilliant accidents. It had a great smell, it had a funky name. It was positioned between two funeral parlours—that always caused controversy. It was incredibly sensuous. It was 1976, the year of the heat wave, so there was a lot of flesh around. We knew about storytelling then, so all the products had stories. We recycled everything, not because we were environmentally friendly, but because we didn’t have enough bottles. It was a good idea. What was unique about it, with no intent at all, no marketing nous, was that it translated across cultures, across geographical barriers and social structures. It wasn’t a sophisticated plan, it just happened like that.

    In 1997, Anita Roddick developed the Body Shop’s most successful campaign ever, creating Ruby, the size 16 doll, who was thought to bear a passing resemblance to Barbie. The campaign evolved from positioning developed by ethical communications consultancy Host Universal. They created the image of the naked red-haired doll, hands behind her head and wind in her hair, that became the embodiment of the campaign. The photographer was Steve Perry.

    By 2004, the Body Shop had 1980 stores, serving more than 77 million customers throughout the world. It was voted the second most-trusted brand in the United Kingdom, and 28th top brand in the world.

    On 17 March 2006, L’Oréal purchased Body Shop for £652 million. Some controversy and criticism was raised, as L’Oréal was known to use animal testing and the company was part-owned by Nestlé. The latter had been criticised for its treatment of third-world producers. Roddick addressed the issues directly in an interview with The Guardian.’Roddick died of acute brain haemorrhage on September 10, 2007, after being admitted to St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester the previous evening suffering from a severe headache. As promised earlier, she left her estate to charities rather than to her friends and family. When details of her estate were published, it was disclosed that she had donated all of her £51 million fortune upon her death.

    Thank you Anita Roddick (#AnitaRoddick) for being an Inspiring Woman!


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