Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Anita Roddick & Body Shop Story - Part 2

continued from Part 1

Anita Roddick Died September 10, 2007

When the first Body Shop finally opened the only real guideline was that the business needed to take £300 ($600) a week to survive. The first day's trading on the 23rd of March, 1976 took £130 ($260).

Some of the following weeks' figures fell short of the required £300 so Sunday trading was introduced. Anita Roddick also went out in the evenings to talk to institutions, schools and so on with the idea of hopefully selling a few more products.

Shortly after opening, the Body Shop received a letter from a solicitor threatening to sue unless the name of the business was changed. There were apparently two funeral parlours in Kensington Gardens who seemed to think that their business would be affected if there was something called a 'Body Shop' nearby.

It occurred to Anita that there could be some publicity mileage in this so she anonymously phoned the local newspaper. She told them about a 'Mafia of undertakers who were ganging up on a defenceless woman who was trying to run a business while her husband was planning to go off and ride a horse across South America.' The newspaper took the bait and splashed the story over their two middle pages. There was another lesson here: there was no need to pay for advertising.

The first shop traded quite well and a Saturday helper was taken on called Aidre. As business seemed reasonable Anita got the urge to open a second shop but she couldn't get a second loan. She needed a further £4000 ($6000).

Aidre's boyfriend, Ian McGlinn, who was a garage proprietor had some spare cash and said he would lend the money. In return he wanted a half share in the business. The deal went ahead.

Amazingly Ian McGlinn still had a half share when the Body Shop became a public company. His stake was then worth £4 million ($8 million)! All from a £4000 loan. Today the half share could be worth hundreds of millions. Anita has written that she doesn't resent this fact, "We don't need the money, so why should we worry about it or begrudge Ian his good luck? Our pleasure and fulfilment are obtained from running the business, not from the money it makes."

In 1977 the Body Shop received a phone call from a young herbalist, Mark Constantine, who was trying to market his herbal shampoos without much success. His call was from a public phone box and he had to keep feeding in coins as he spoke.

Anita and Mark met and she has said that, "The Henna Cream Shampoo looked and smelled like horse s**t."

The products must still have impressed because an order was placed for £1000. At the time Mark was living on £30 per week and was making up the products in his kitchen. Fortunately for both of them the products sold well and within one month a larger order was placed. Mark's company has grown alongside the Body Shop and remains as one of their major suppliers.

At this time Anita's husband returned from his journey. He had travelled some 2000 miles until one of his horses slipped and fell down a precipice and was killed. He didn't then have the heart to carry on.

Gordon Roddick became involved in the business. They wanted to expand further but had no spare money and the banks were not interested in lending to them.

They were approached by Chris Green, Max Bygraves daughter, who said whe was interested in opening her own Body Shop in Hove. This was agreed on the understanding that it would still be called the Body Shop and Anita and Gordon would supply all of the products.

Though there was no formal contract or fees this was the first Body Shop franchise. At the time Gordon called it 'Self Financing' but could see this was the way to forward so they could expand.

From then on the first batch of franchises began operating and Anita and Gordon accumulated sufficient funds to open a further shop for themselves in Reading.

For the next couple of years the Body Shop spread with outlets all over the place including Sweden and Athens in 1979 and Canada a little later.

Once the Body Shop opened in London's Covent Garden the media started to take notice and Cosmopolitan magazine published a feature. From then on Anita described herself as becoming 'Ms. MegaMouth' and enjoyed promoting the business via chat shows on television, radio and the such like - all free advertising.

As the numbers of shops increased so did the demand for the products. Suppliers looked after them well as they made a principle to pay their bills on time - something that many large businesses tried to avoid.

In 1982 the Body Shop was expanding at the rate of two new shops a month including outlets in Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Holland and Eire. At this time they began to charge a premium of £3000 for a franchise and maintained much stricter controls so that they could ensure a distinctive corporate identity.

In April 1984 the Body Shop first became a public company with the shares floated at 95p each. The price soon went up to £1.56 and the company was all of a sudden worth £8 million. And, as I said at the beginning of part 1 of this article, the Body Shop was sold last year to L'Oreal in a deal worth £652 million (about $1300 million).

From Anita Roddick's need to survive and feed her kids the Roddicks became exceedingly rich.

© Mike Perry 2007

Subscribe to Mike's Money Making Mission
Subscribe to Mike's Money Making Mission by Email

Source: Mike's Money Making Mission

No comments:

Template designed by Butanido - 2007