• Team Business-360°

The Body Shop: Ethics in Business

Business Profile

Dame Anita Roddick started The Body Shop in 1976 in the small town of Brighton, London with a clear message that is relevant even today - authentic beauty and business-for-good; introducing the world to natural sustainable personal care products and practices. Taking an activist stand in the 70s, The Body Shop created campaigns around their products to challenge unhealthy female body stereotypes, and instead focus on self-love and a positive body image.

In 2006, L’Oreal acquired The Body Shop, with Anita Roddick promising her loyal base of customers that the ethics of the brand would remain intact after the acquisition. But unfortunately, The Body Shop lost much of its fan base and niche market after Anita’s untimely demise in 2007.

In 2017, Brazilian brand Natura acquired The Body Shop and the brand has since gained back its image and lost ground, by following the original vision for the company set by Anita Roddick.

Defining Traits

The Body Shop has always stood for strong ethics in business and its line of products. Well before the competition, Roddick adopted an environmentally friendly approach, creating a business that was conscious of using Earth’s resources. More than 40 years later, customers continue to love these simple touches that make them feel like they are making a difference by buying from The Body Shop. They introduced concepts like refill-n-reuse bottles and handwritten labels, creating products with minimal packaging waste. The company also enjoyed the side advantage of saving packaging, branding, and labeling costs.

The Body Shop built a business persona with its product line. Using ideology around natural and cruelty-free, their environmentally-friendly practices have created global brand loyalty unlike any other in the beauty and personal care business. Their ethical stance and image have carried them for over four decades as a business that can be trusted to do the right thing.

In days prior to social media, companies needed hefty advertising budgets to get their word out to the ideal target market. The Body Shop decided early on to move away from expensive advertisements and instead relied heavily on the local press and promotions. Using word-of-mouth to generate interest and drum up business is one that takes time and patience, but invariable works well to create a loyal customer base. Today, they are considered the brand of the people; in the UK and internationally, there is almost a reverence amongst its users.

Currently, The Body Shop has a global retail presence and operates around 3,000 stores in more than 70 countries. In spite of setbacks due to acquisitions, Roddick’s original brand message remains timeless in the company’s recent ‘Enrich Not Exploit Commitment’, a mission to enrich their products, people, and our planet.

Key Takeaways

While it’s easy to start a trendy concept based on sustainable practices and quirky homemade products, The Body Shop shows us how to walk the talk over a long period of time. And in that, the strongest takeaway from this business is authenticity and integrity, whether it is in their handwritten labels, or their natural product line, or the earthy green color of their brand and stores. Longevity over decades requires a steadfast approach - the underlying foundation of strong values remains a stable platform even as the company changes with the times.

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What are Curated Business Stories?

At Business-360°, we take a holistic approach to understanding ‘what makes a business succeed or fail?’ in order to learn from them. To that end, we curate business stories for you, taking a look at the profile and defining traits of a particular company, followed by some key takeaways from their journey. Read more on each of these businesses and reach out to us for guidance in creating your own entrepreneurial roadmap. https://www.business-360.in/business-catalyst-program

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