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Dame Anita Roddick


This is the third post in our dyslexia series. So far we have written about polymath Leonardo da Vinci and writer Sally Gardner. In this series we are aiming to cover dyslexics in as many different fields as possible; this week we will look at businesswomen Dame Anita Roddick.

Are there any famous dyslexics you would like to read more about?

Who was Anita Roddick?

Dame Anita Roddick (23 October 1942 – 10 September 2007) was a businesswoman who was also hugely involved in human rights activism and social and environmental campaigning. She also founded Children on the Edge, which is a charity that supports disadvantaged children. In 2003 she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

What is Anita Roddick most famous for?

Anita Roddick is best known for founding The Body Shop. Roddick had no business experience or training, but started the company as means of income when her husband was travelling in South America. In 1976, she opened her first branch; within six months, she had opened a second. By 1991, these were 700 branches of The Body Shop and by 2004 The Body Shop was serving over 77 million customers worldwide in almost two thousand different stores. She has also won a huge number of awards, both as a businesswoman and as a philanthropist.

The Body Shop has been widely celebrated for its dedication to fair trade, animal rights, and recycling. In Roddick’s first shop, however, refillable products were sold due to a shortage in bottles rather than for any environmental reason!

This is what Anita Roddick has to say about ethical business:

“The business of business should not just be about money, it should be about responsibility. It should be about public good, not private greed.”

You can read more about The Body Shop, and their five core company values, here.

What advice did she have for entrepreneurs?

My goal was livelihood. We don’t use that word often enough. If I could give one piece of advice to anyone it’s don’t obsess with this notion that you have to turn everything you do in life into a business, because that ends up being a small version of a large company. But if you can create an honourable livelihood, where you take your skills and use them and you earn a living from it, it gives you a sense of freedom and allows you to balance your life the way you want. If we can actually bring in education, that polishes livelihood like they used to do in the old days, where there were apprenticeships for different skills like a woodworker or a blacksmith. This way is far more exciting and much more creative.

Who are some other dyslexic entrepeneurs?

There are many other dyslexic entrepreneurs – perhaps you remember our previous post about Richard Branson? Others include: Henry Ford, Robert Woodruff (President of Coca-Cola, 1923-1954), and Steven Jobs. Fuller lists can be found here and here.

You can also read more about Anita Roddick on The Body Shop’s website here.

Avani Shah


06 Jun 2013
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