Founder of The Body Shop (View Profile).
Anita Roddick was born to her Italian immigrant parents in Littlehampton on October 23, 1942. She was naturally a rebellious child. She was trained to be a lecturer before going on a trip around the world. She married Gordon Roddick in 1970. After which, the couple opened a restaurant and a hotel in their hometown and had two daughters. She traveled extensively and met folks from a variety of cultures. These experiences helped her in her future career.
Her business, The Body Shop, opened in 1976. This is because of a necessity to have a source of income for herself and her daughters while her husband was traveling. The first business plan was basic, and she initially sold only fifteen kinds of items. Thanks to her earlier travels, she had a wealth of experience and exposure to the body rituals of girls from all over the world. With the help of her mother, she got new ideas to further boost her business, such as the use of refillable containers.
Roddick’s timing couldn’t have been better because the public were starting to patronize ‘greener’ firms and merchandise. Thus, she became the first to introduce social responsibility in business, and began talking concerning fair trade long before it became a buzz word. The Body Shop nowadays is a business with 1,980 stores serving over 77 million customers in fifty totally different markets and twenty five different countries.
The Body Shop’s mission statement sets out a dedication to the pursuit of social and environmental change. The retailers and merchandise facilitated communication regarding human rights and environmental issues. Throughout her career, Roddick continued to campaign against environmental and social wrong-doings around the world.
In 2003, Roddick’s achievements were recognized when she was knighted by the Queen, and formally titled Dame Anita Roddick. Three years later, the Body Shop’s look was purchased by L’Oreal for £652.3 million. This caused conflict, because L’Oreal is said to be involved in animal testing, and partly because it is owned by international conglomerate Nestlé.
While Roddick had been a robust political leader on moral issues, Nestlé has been the topic of an extended boycott because of its marketing of baby powdered milk in some countries.
In February 2007, Roddick disclosed that she had been diagnosed with Hepatitis C. She said she got the virus through a blood transfusion while giving birth to her youngest child, Sam, in 1971. She was also suffering from liver disease, which is one of the effects of her sickness.
In September 2007, Roddick was taken to St. Richard’s Hospital in Chichester because of a terrible headache. She suffered significant brain hemorrhage and died on September 10, 2007. Her husband, Gordon, daughters and Justine were with her at the time of her death. Her net worth was estimated at £3.5 million.