Dynamic, driven and passionate, Anita started the business to create a livelihood for herself and her two daughters, while her husband Gordon was trekking across the Americas. She could surely never have thought that one day, there would be over 2,800 The Body Shop® stores in over 60 different countries, selling more than 1,200 products.
But it wasn’t just the economic reality of having to support her daughters Justine and Samantha which fuelled Anita: she had a social conscience from a truly young age. She was influenced by her mother’s World War II experiences, when resources were precious – and often rationed. So The Body Shop® refilled, reused and recycled everything they possibly could. And during her own globe-trotting travels, before she married Gordon, Anita had observed first-hand the fascinating, tried-and-trusted beauty rituals of women around the world. She’d visited farming and fishing communities, and seen how producers often struggled – wondering each year who might buy their harvest. Those experiences shaped Anita – and they shaped The Body Shop®, which had environmental activism at its heart from Day One.
The venture had perfect timing, striking a chord at a time when we were becoming aware of ‘green’ issues. After the first Brighton shop, a second store opened within months. And when Gordon returned from his travels, he joined Anita in the business, with the idea of expanding through a franchise network. By 1982, shops were throwing open their doors at a rate of two a month. Anita’s belief? That businesses have the power to do good. So their mission was ‘To dedicate our business to the pursuit of social and environmental change.’
On the agenda was the fight against animal testing: The Body Shop® has consistently campaigned against the testing of cosmetics on animals, with its products 100% vegetarian. (After 20 years of campaigning, The Body Shop definitely celebrated the European ban on animal testing for cosmetic purposes in 2013, but continues to campaign for a global ban.) Perfectly in keeping with its values, then, is The Body Shop®’s cruelty-free White Musk® fragrance – worn and loved by successive generations of women, now, and elevated to the status of a true perfume icon.
The Body Shop® also pioneered fair trade, within the beauty arena – and for many of us, it was our first introduction to the concept of buying direct from communities, and the extraordinary benefits that delivers. The unique Community Fair Trade programme was launched as long ago as 1987, and today works with more than 20 artisan farmer and producer groups, sourcing high-quality natural ingredients including the alcohol from Ecuador which is contained in The Body Shop®’s fragrances – adding even more of a feel-good factor to its scents, we think.
And of course, The Body Shop®‘s renowned for its campaigning. Its biggest campaign to date? The petition to Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People, which launched in 2009 in partnership with ECPAT International and local charities on the ground, and gathered an incredible 7,044,278 signatures. No question: before her death in 2007 (at the untimely age of just 64), Dame Anita Roddick changed the way we shop – and the way we thought about beauty and fragrance. (And we still miss her: Anita was actually mentor to The Perfume Society‘s Co-Founder, Jo Fairley.) Today, under the umbrella of L’Oréal, Anita’s work is continued: The Body Shop®’s still campaigning, still blazing a trail.
And still making gorgeous things to smell and wear, too. Alongside the bestselling and so-loved White Musk® fragrance, you can discover, explore and enjoy sensual variations on a theme, including White Musk Libertine and White Musk Smoky Rose Eau de Toilette. The second of these interpretations was hand-picked by The Perfume Society for our Summer Scentsations Fragrance Edit ‘discovery box’, for 2014: a daring, mysterious blend of cruelty-free musk, featuring smoky black rose and tobacco flower, in a very wearable eau de toilette. You’ll find a whole world of other scents, too – and as every lover of The Body Shop® knows, fragrances and scents are central to the sensual pleasure of every single creation for face and for body, across the whole extensive range.
‘I just want The Body Shop® to be the best, most breathlessly exciting company – and one that changes the way business is carried out. That is my vision,’ said Anita. She utterly succeeded. And at The Body Shop®, the smell of success is as sweet as ever. (With gorgeous little traces of musk, just under the surface…)
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