Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Green Pioneer

I was really sad yesterday when I read a small blurb in the New York Times about the passing of Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop.

Like most girls of my generation, or anyone who was interested in beauty during the early to mid 90's, I was head over heels for The Body Shop products when they first came out. Not only were they just the coolest products that you just HAD to have, you felt even cooler knowing that they were "green" before green was cool.

Or at least, before it was as cool as it is now.

Anita Roddick was always the driving force behind the brand that promoted all the ecofriendly-fair trade-sustainability ideals. She was a cool, rebellious looking woman who was always traveling and protesting. She was like your hippie mom, if she hadn't grown up and become a Republican.

I recall visiting the big store in Boston during day trips from my summer camp, and spending my daily allowance on vanilla perfume oil (I thought smelling like a cookie would make the boys come running!), multicolored bath beads, and that pink peppermint foot lotion that would spawn a million copycats for years to come.

The article talks about the sale of The Body Shop to L'Oreal just last year. It was always an odd choice, since L'Oreal is widely known among environmentalists for their not-so-super animal testing policies, but Roddick stated that she hoped the sale would spur the company to change their policies.

Honestly, I haven't been in a Body Shop in years, but I will always remember the brand for making me aware of issues bigger than my middle school life and for being the first to make it cool to be green.

You can read the full obit here for another week or so.

Any classic beauty faves or favorite memories from The Body Shop?


Rae said...

I read the news the day she died, as well, and I have to admit, I got pretty upset over it. I told my mom, who never cares about anything beauty-related, and she was upset as well.
The Body Shop was actually the company that got me going on cruelty-free products, because I finally saw that hey, products can still be great, even if they're not tested on animals!
Anita Roddick was an anomaly in the beauty industry, an anomaly in the world as a whole, and I'm going to be missing her, too.

Erika said...

oh, the memories:

dewberry *everything* - at one point they actually made a shampoo and conditioner - and the original white musk. I think I wore those alternately for my entire high school years.

Oh, and for a long time their lip balms were the thing to have - the kiwi one was just bizarre.

Anita Roddick was a pioneer; she took up such a strong position when it seemed inevitable the the status quo would be just that for ever. It's interesting how many copycats there still are - would the industry have gone in that direction had it not been for her?

Melanie said...

The kiwi lip balm was all the rage in my middle and high school days. But I actually still shop there...they make an aloe body balm that doesn't have any parabens in it and is mostly made of simple, natural of all, it's unscented, so I can moisturize with it and not worry about clashing with my perfume. I haven't found anything like it anywhere else.

Samantha said...

I lived in Germany when before the Body Shop came to the US, so I was all about their products way ahead of my still-in-the-US friends. I was addicted to the Monticello (? not maraschino, I can't remember the exact M word the cherry stuff started with)Cherry Lip Balm and the Cherry Essential Oil because I thought smelling like a fruit fest would bring the boys hither.

Product Junkie said...

The Body Shop introduced me to the concept of body cream in a tub. They were not the first to package with pots, but they were the first to make it hip and aesthetically-pleasing, not to mention, resuable to boot!

Anonymous said...

It was so sad to hear.

When I lived in London in the early 80s I was too poor to buy anything beyond lip gloss. (Punk rock!) So, when I returned for a visit at the end of the 80s (and now with money to burn) I bought two bags full!

The airplane seatmate who helped me stuff those bags into the overhead compartment thought it was hysterical. She totally understood.

Stanzi said...

funny - i just stepped inside the body shop the other day for the first time in a least 10 years and couldn't stop being reminded of high school. fuzzy peach was THE it scent among my high school clique until some girl in my biology class sprayed it on a dead frog and the mix of fuzzy peach and formaldehyde ruined it for us all!

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