The Life of Anita Roddick
Businesswoman, Entrepreneur, Animal and Human Rights Activist.
Let’s start with the quirky and finish with the factual, it’s more fun and enlightening that way, for all concerned.
The brilliant story of The Body Shop is one that is totally unique and something for Brighton to be proud of. We were just lucky to get someone as iconic, strong-willed, inventive, innovative, vociferous and ferocious as Anita Roddick!
Our favourite quote of this great lady is this one; “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito!”
For instance, the site of her first shop which was opened back in 1976, either side of this premises were two funeral parlours which caused controversy from day one. It was the blazing Summer of 76’ and the heat-wave that ensued only capitalised on the series of brilliant accidents that would catapult this shining star into the public domain. First and foremost, it had a great smell oozing from the store which tempted the curious to venture inside, a funky name, and a lot of the products that had their own stories to tell on how they had got onto the shelves.
The novel idea on the environmentally friendly concept of refilling your bottles was merely conceived because they did not have enough of their own bottles to do the job! But it worked, and caught on like the bushfires of Australia. Where eventually that’s how far this message travelled, world domination was imminent, and The Body Shop would go on to became the 2nd most trusted brand in the UK and 28th in the World.
In 2006 L’Oreal bought the company for $652 million, not too shabby, from a wooden shed in Littlehampton. Some said at the time that Anita had ‘sold out’, but her intention, after being promised a seat on the board, was to try and change from the inside, but that didn’t exactly pan out.
Anita Roddick officially died of a brain hemorrhage but suffered badly with Hepatitis C which was contracted when she had a blood transfusion after her second daughter Sam’s birth in 1971, but did not realise this until some thirty years later.
She left all her £51million estate to charity, after bequeathing a million pounds to each of her children. Her husband Gordon and daughters Justine and Sam continue her legacy with the same vigour and determination that she instilled in all those that she met.
Words by Stevie Martin
To read more of Stevie’s work, check it out here.