182 – Listen to your customer – Anita Roddick

Posted by  Anecdote International —April 11, 2023
Filed in Anecdotes, Podcast

Some of the best ideas will come from your customers. Listen to hear how The Body Shop grew from a side hustle to an international cosmetics company through a series of brilliant accidents.

Customer and sales assistant

Welcome back to another episode of Anecdotally Speaking!

It’s been two weeks since our last episode, we’ve had some team members on leave, but we’re back with a story about Anita Roddick, who founded The Body Shop!

The story prompts Shawn and Mark to talk about how it’s not about having a company story but a multitude of stories that represent your company and its culture. Shawn recently wrote a blog post on this topic titled A company story is more than a single story. You can find it here.

For your story bank

Tags: customers, ideas, opportunity, passion, success, values

This story starts at 02:58

Anita Roddick started her career as a teacher with the United Nations. She travelled the world and spent a lot of time with indigenous communities. She was interested in how these communities used items from nature for health and beauty, and she was constantly amazed by what she learned.

In the early 1970s, Anita’s husband set off to fulfil a lifetime dream; to ride a horse across South America. It would take him two years.

While her husband was away, Anita had to make money. So she created beauty products, applying what she knew about natural ingredients.

She opened her first store in Brighton, United Kingdom, and called it The Body Shop.

Anita considered her business something of a side hustle. When her husband returned, they planned to move to Australia and start a pineapple farm. But when he did get back, they realised it had real potential. By then, she had two stores.

Anita’s message was one of ethical consumerism. She positioned The Body Shop against large corporations. But initially, she struggled to get her message out there.

One day, a customer came into The Body Shop and asked Anita to refill her shampoo bottle. Anita was surprised, so the customer explained their desire to reduce waste.

Anita loved the idea and incorporated refillable containers into her business. The move helped establish her brand and grow her business.

She says a series of brilliant accidents, like refillable containers, led to the business’ success.

About  Anecdote International

Anecdote International is a global training and consulting company, specialising in utilising storytelling to bring humanity back to the workforce. Anecdote is now unique in having a global network of over 60 partners in 28 countries, with their learning programs translated into 11 languages, and customers who incorporate these programs into their leadership and sales enablement activities.

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