Magazine article Business Credit

Flower-Power's New Face

Magazine article Business Credit

Flower-Power's New Face

Article excerpt

I'll admit that I was skeptical at first...was this more save the world rhetoric? We all know something must be done, but who are the actual somebodies doing it? Anita Roddick, for one, and the employees of The Body Shop, retailers who sell natural skin and hair products. Roddick is trying to be a force of social change. A leader that really puts the unemployed to work and trades with the third-world, and is a businesswoman who makes her employees understand that the company is concerned with more than the bottom line.

Roddick defies all conventional wisdom on business, admitting that when she founded her first store in 1976, she "knew nothing about business, her sole object was simply to survive." Does this business do all it claims? Yes. What, if any, responsibility does business have to make profits based on principles? Plenty. How does a company, or a country for that matter, protect the environment and at the same time, protect profits? Easy, they conserve what was given them. Why should big business care? Because there will be no resources left to use in the future if we use them all now. Does The Body Shop ever make mistakes? Of course, and Roddick lets you know who is responsible.

Body and Soul, begins by explaining what a nasty business the cosmetics industry really is. "We have an entire industry that, in order to justify its own spurious existence, must believe that the world is filled with women desperate to cling to their fading youth, eager to believe nonsense dreamed up by cynical advertising copywriters, and willing to pay even bigger prices for ever smaller portions of lotions not much more effective than any old grease you care to think of."

* Roddick was annoyed that she couldn't buy small sizes of everyday cosmetics and angry with herself because she was too intimidated to go back and exchange something if she didn't like it. She also realized that a lot of money was being spent on packaging.

"So, I opened a small shop to sell a small range of cosmetics made from natural ingredients in five different sizes in the cheapest possible plastic containers.

"Unquestionably, part of the problem is that the industry is now controlled by men, even though, ironically, it was founded by a handful of powerful women--Helena Ruben-stein, Elizabeth Arden, Coco Chanel, and Estee Lauder. The businessmen who run them betray little grasp of the fact that the notions they are trading in--age, beauty, self-esteem--are more often than not an emotional powder keg for their customers."

Roddick, along with her husband Gordon, have transformed The Body Shop into a profitable international business with more than 620 stores in 39 countries offering 350 natural skin-care products. …

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