Anita Roddick

(1942—2007) businesswoman

Quick Reference

British businesswoman who founded The Body Shop retail chain. The daughter of Italian immigrants, Anita Perilli drew her first business lesson from her parents' transformation of an unprepossessing English café into a successful American-style diner. After finishing her formal education, she worked in the women's-rights department of the United Nations in Geneva and spent fourteen years as a secondary-school teacher.

After marrying Gordon Roddick in 1970, she and her husband opened a guesthouse and then a restaurant, but found little commercial success. In 1976 she opened the first Body Shop in Brighton, selling cosmetics made from natural ingredients, without animal testing, packaged in reusable containers. The business's ethos attracted large numbers of customers as people became more environmentally aware and animal-rights issues and recycling gained in popularity. Further shops opened across Britain and Europe within a few years, and in 1984 the company's shares were floated on the stock market; today the company is phenomenally successful, with over eight hundred shops worldwide, including many franchises. Roddick has used her shops and high personal profile to promote awareness of environmental, animal-rights, and human-rights issues. She published an autobiography, Body and Soul, in 1991.

From Who's Who in the Twentieth Century in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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