Anita Roddick

Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, is a true pioneer. Anita was born in Littlehampton, England on October 23, 1942. Her parents owned the Clifton Café. Her parents divorced when Anita was eight years old. Her mother remarried. When Anita was ten years old, her stepfather Henry died. Anita' s mother took over the café and all the children had to work at the café after school and on weekends. Anita continued her education attending a teacher training college. After college Anita traveled to Tahiti, Australia, South Africa and more. She studied in Israel for three months. After Anita went back to England, she met and married a handsome man named Gordon Roddick, with whom she had two daughters. They tried running a bed and breakfast for a while, then they tried a restaurant. When her husband decided to take two years off and try to ride from Buenos Argentine to New York City on horseback Anita realized she’d have to find a way to support herself and daughters while he was gone. Anita decided to open a cosmetic shop.

She remembered during her world travels seeing women using things made from plants and fruits that did a better job cleaning their skin than the products she bought at home. Anita planned that the tiny shop would be filled with cosmetics that were made only from natural ingredients. She opened "The Body Shop" in March 1976. She came up with the name from signs she cad seen over car repair shops in the United States. She even had customers bring the bottles back and she would refill them right there in the store. None of her products would be tested on animals. The store was very successful. Before long she was looking for a place to build a second store. Soon they were selling the rights to open Body Shops to others. In 1984 they decided to sell stock in the company and Anita and Gordon became millionaires overnight. Anita is still a teacher, she used her deliver trucks to advertise with sayings like "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." She also donates money and time to Amnesty International, the Kayapo tribe of the Brazilian rain forest and many others. There are over 1,000 Body Shop stores in over 40 countries.

by Anita & Grace, third grade, 2001
Image purchased from Corbis

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