Think and Act Like Anita Roddick


Anita Roddick was the wildly-successful owner of The Body Shop, a cosmetics store that grew into an international empire.  Now, we’ll take a look at how to think and act Like Anita Roddick.

Roddick grew up in Littlehampton, England, and spent her young adulthood traveling through Europe in the employ of the United Nations.  She returned to England and got married and not long after was ready to launch the business we now know as The Body Shop.

Her small loan was enough to get her a building with water spots on the walls—the drab green she picked for paint was meant to cover the flaws.  She went without advertising and generally managed with amazing frugality.  One of the main ways of spurring growth, then, was to keep the outflow of cash to a bare minimum.  Rather than just refusing to spend money to make money, Roddick used shrewd workarounds, such as selling unscented lotions and soaps and having customers pick out scented oils, a way of scenting the products that is much cheaper.

Do Good

To do well means to succeed at something or to do something properly or with some proficiency.  To do good means to do things that make the world around you more peaceful, humane, or just.  Roddick has always been a fierce proponent of doing good, and of doing so in a way that isn’t separated from one’s business.

From the beginning, The Body Shop was synonymous with fighting animal testing, saving rainforests, partnering with Greenpeace and Amnesty International.  This helped deal with the difficulties of not paying for advertising.  Her activism was covered by enough local media that it became, as a side effect, excellent p.r. for her business.

Over time, the business and Roddick’s activism grew together and mutually became higher and higher profile.

Businesses with a Conscience

Roddick’s charity work involves more than just donating money or attending protests.  She also puts her ideals into the very fabric of her work.  In fact, it really started there.  Her ideals about animals led—naturally—for her to insist on using only products not tested on them.  All of her businesses adhere to her environmental and humanitarian principles, including fair trade agreements.  She makes sure that any franchise opened with The Body Shop’s name give some of its profits to local charities.

Creative Conscience

As you can see above, Roddick solved many of her problems through creativity rather than the expenditure of money.  She considers creativity to be a survival tactic, and she thinks of entrepreneurship itself to be a matter of survival.

She also feels that ethics involve the way one treats individuals around her, not just major causes.  She feels that treating employees right fosters creativity and innovation. There’s no question that her way of developing products, getting businesses off the ground, and fostering community, are all innovative.

To think and act like Anita Roddick, one must be passionate about ideals, frugal, and persistent.  Each of these is a win in itself, and they work together as a winning combination.