Anita Roddick wasn’t just a visionary entrepreneur, she was a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, an activist, and a story-teller. Every one of her products had a story about its natural ingredients, recycled materials, and high-quality ingredients that made a difference in her customer’s lives.
Ms. Roddick opened her first store simply to provide an income for her small family while her husband was traveling in South America. A second store soon followed and by the time The Body Shop was acquired by L’Oreal in 2006, she had opened nearly 200o stores around the world.
Her story is a terrific example of what one small business owner can accomplish with a healthy dose of creativity, a simple idea, a commitment to her employees and customers, and a willingness to work as hard as it took to succeed. Here are a few things Ms. Roddick said that we find inspirational:
“Whatever you do, be different—that was the advice my mother gave me, and I can’t think of better advice for an entrepreneur. If you’re different, you will stand out.”
“I want to work for a company that contributes to and is part of the community. I want something not just to invest in. I want something to believe in.”
“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.”
“There’s no scientific answer for success. You can’t define it. You’ve simply got to live and do it.”
“Nobody talks of entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking.”
“I am still looking for the modern equivalent of those Quakers who ran successful businesses, made money because they offered honest products and treated their people decently… This business creed, sadly, seems long forgotten.”
“Potential entrepreneurs are outsiders. They are people who imagine things as they might be, not as they are, and have the drive to change the world around them. those are skills that business schools do not teach.”
“I wake up every morning thinking… this is my last day. and I jam everything into it. There’s no time for mediocrity. This is no damned dress rehearsal.”
“It is a critical job of any entrepreneur to maximize creativity, and to build the kind of atmosphere around you that encourages people to have ideas. That means open structures, so that accepted thinking can be challenged.”
“It is true that there is a fine line between entrepreneurship and insanity. Crazy people see and feel things that others don’t. But you have to believe that everything is possible. If you believe it, those around you will believe it too.”
—Anita Roddick, Founder, The Body Shop