Anita Roddick was born Oct. 23, 1942 from Italian immigrant parents in Littlehampton in the south of England. Her family was very much working class. She became a school-teacher but she got bored and started traveling. Eventually, she found a job at the United Nations in Geneva where she worked in the women’s right division of the International Labor Organization.Then, she went back home and her mother introduced her to Gordon Roddick. He was a poet and children’s story writer and a fan of international travel. They married in 1970 and had two daughters. The Roddicks opened a restaurant and later a hotel. In 1976, Gordon decided to fulfill his dream: to travel on horseback from Buenos Aires to New York City.
That’s when she got the idea of The Body Shop…
The Body Shop
To support herself and her daughters, Roddick decided to open a small shop where she could sell some of the back-to-nature cosmetic knowledge she picked up during her travels. She obtained a $6,500 loan, contracted with a local herbalist to create her all-natural cosmetics, found a site in Brighton, and opened her first Body Shop in 1976.
Shehad a very low budget so she painted the shop green because it hid everything; she offered discounted refills to customers who brought back their empty containers, and used minimal packaging to keep costs as low as possible. Customers were allowed to choose from an array of perfume oils to scent their purchases (which were fragrance-free) because it was cheaper than adding expensive perfumes toevery bottle of shampoo or lotion.
The success story Within a year, Roddick’s business had grown so large that she opened a second store. When Gordon returned in the spring of 1977, The Body Shop had become so popular that the Roddicks began selling franchises. At the end of 1982, new Body Shop stores were opening at the rate of two per month. The Roddicks took The Body Shop public in 1984and after just one day of trading, the stock doubled in value. It would continue to rise throughout the late 1980s, as hundreds of Body Shop franchises sprung up throughout Europe and the United States.
One of the key ingredients in Roddick’s success was her social activism. Her support for causes such as Greenpeace, Amnesty International, saving the rainforests and banning animal testing notonly generated free publicity but also differentiated the company from its competitors and generated loyal customers. People felt good about buying Body Shop products because they felt good about Roddick’s activism. By the end of 1992, there were more than 700 Body Shop stores generating $231 million in sales.
HER LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Anita Roddick’s success in the management of The BodyShop is due to her leadership skills. We can identify four main skills which are: communication, placing principle before profit, having passion for her work and her creativity.
Communication Not only Anita Roddick has successfully managed The Body Shop but she has also published several books in which she tells fascinating stories about her and women she has met. Her first book was “Bodyand Soul: Profits with Principles” released in 1991. "Body and Soul" tells of Anita's childhood in a small English seaside town, her hippie adolescence and early adulthood, and how she started the Body Shop. She also published “Business as Unusual” in 2000 which charts the story of Anita and The Body Shop. Anita tackles a wide range of personal and political issues from self-esteem, to humanrights abuses within the context of corporate behaviour. Roddick explains that you can make a profit and make a positive contribution to the community.
Anita hated hierarchy. She created a horizontally structured company and implemented programs such as the “red letter program”. It means that any employee can bypass their supervisor and send suggestions directly to managers. Moreover, employees...