Much has been written about the late, great Dame Anita Roddick, visionary founder of the Body Shop, ethical British business leader and socially-poised entrepreneur extraordinaire.
This could be partly due to the fact that she founded and grew one of the most iconic and successful British brands of the 21st century, starting out of a tiny shop in Brighton.
It may also be partly down to her inspirational style of leadership and the impact that her altruistic approach to capitalism and entrepreneurship left on her customers, employees and our society as a whole.
Whichever way you look at it, Anita Roddick remains one of the most innovative and influential British business leaders of all time, and rightly deserves the first slot in our new Human Insights blog series, “Women in Leadership”.
Here are even more persuasive figures: there are over 2000 Body Shop retail outlets in 52 markets serving over 75 million customers.
There are few other British brands that have enjoyed such a huge international success.
But what was Anita Roddick’s secret leadership sauce?
What was it about her leadership style that set her and her business apart from the rest?
What was it that drove her to build a business which enjoys such sustainable and long-term success, nearly 40 years later?
Above all, which leadership lessons can we learn from Anita Roddick and her Body Shop brand that can help us on our journey to business and personal success?
She was an amazing inspiration to those around her… She was so ahead of the time when it came to issues of how business could be done in different ways… She was a true pioneer. – John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace
Anita Roddick was undoubtedly a business and social visionary of our time. She not only combined the powerful elements of entrepreneurship, strategic thinking and ethical leadership, she also truly believed that “businesses have the power to do good” and really lived her vision, without exception.
“That’s why the Body Shop’s mission statement opens with the overriding commitment, ‘to dedicate our business to the pursuit of social and environmental change'”, she is famously quoted as saying.
Before founding the Body Shop, Roddick worked as an English and History teacher and travelled extensively throughout the world, picking up experiences and first-hand impressions of cultures and traditions, which were a world away from her British roots.
She was also employed in the Women’s Rights Department of the International Labor Organization in Geneva before she set up shop and started her own business making products out of natural ingredients.
In fact, the Body Shop was founded