You might not be familiar with the name Anita Roddick, but you should be. As founder of The Body Shop, business woman, award winner, environmental campaigner, human and animal rights activist, author, wife and mother, the life of Anita Roddick is one to be in awe of, so read on to be inspired by Anita’s legacy and the amazing life she led!
Inspired by her environmental interests, Anita founded The Body Shop, a cosmetic company for natural products, in 1976, when she opened her first store. The Body Shop was one of the first to prohibit product testing on animals and to promote fair trade with third world countries. Her first store was opened to provide an income for herself and her two daughters and six months later, a second store was opened. By 1991, The Body Shop already had 700 stores and was soaring. Today, The Body Shop is part owned by L’oreal and has over 3000 stores across more than 60 countries, generating millions in sales each year.
Anita Roddick had a long history of using her success to help others and her campaigns for environmental issues inspired her to create Children on the Edge in 1990, an organisation to help disadvantaged children affected by conflicts, natural disasters, disabilities and HIV/AIDS.
The Anita Roddick Foundation has given four grants totalling £120,000 to Cageprisoners, a human rights group with the aim of to “raise awareness to the plight of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other detainees held as part of the War on Terror” over the years.
Anita also wrote a book titled Take It Personally, which promotes equality and seeks an end to the exploitation of workers and children in third world countries. As if her activism work was not astounding enough, Anita donated a large portion of money which helped the Littlehampton Community School become a Business and Enterprise specialist school in 2003. ‘The Roddick Enterprise Centre’ was a new building created for the school, as a result of the donation.
Anita’s work earned her a spectacular amount of awards over the years and impressive ones at that. She won awards in business, environment, leadership, achievement and a number of honorary doctorates from various universities; it’s clear that many people across the world felt that Anita deserved celebrating.
Most incredible of all was that before her death in 2007, Anita Roddick donated her £51 million fortune to charity. She once described leaving money to your family as “obscene” and had said instead that she wanted her money to go towards curing the Third World and funding green issues. Anita’s story is one of the most inspiring to date; not only did she start a company which is now a worldwide brand from scratch, she won awards doing so and in the end, donated her profits to making the world a better place.