A true business pioneer died earlier this week. Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop, was 64.
If you’re not familiar with Roddick, she was truly a business pioneer — for women and for green business. Way back in the seventies, when she founded The Body Shop, she began with the simple mantra of providing natural beauty product while also being kind to the environment in the process. Roddick was the author of several business books; my favorite was Body and Soul. In it, she discusses the struggle of balancing a growing business and while maintaining your business principles.
With the massive growth of Google and other web properties, Body and Soul couldn’t be more timely. While Google’s mantra has been “do no evil”, how do you maintain that principle through over 13,000 employees? As Roddick points out, that’s much easier to do when you have a staff of 10 than a staff of 10,000. But Roddick, unlike many business owners, managed to do that very thing with The Body Shop. It’s an amazing story.
Since reading Body and Soul in the mid-nineties, Roddick has been a personal business hero of mine — not only because she’s a great example for female entrepreneurs, but also because she always kept her integrity in her business. So to her I say, Anita, thank you for leading a principled life and for being a true role model for the rest of us.