Anita Roddick (1942-2007). Anita Roddick, who founded the Body Shop in Brighton’s North Laine in 1976, has died of a stroke at St. Richard’s hospital in Chichester. The shop, in Kensington Gardens, has long since closed – it’s now an optician – but stories about it are still recounted. Although Body Shop is still based in nearby Littlehampton, the controlling interest was sold last year to L’Oreal for the tidy sum of $1.3bn, allowing Ms Roddick to concentrate on her campaigning work.
One of the Mefites mentioned that Roddick actually lost controlling interest in 1984, after which she pretty much never stopped talking about how much she regretted taking the company public, with the inherent loss of control and what she saw (perhaps accurately, in retrospect) as the slow death of her baby. Having the prize finally in the hands of the bunny-torture camp at L’Oreal must have been heartbreaking.
But true to her activist roots, she went into the Faustian bargain with the highest of ideals: “I was able to go into this huge organisation like a Trojan horse.”
From all the women who’ve come after her, who’ve patterned our businesses after her original ideals, goodnight Ms. Roddick, and thanks for all the bubbles.