Activist beauty brands are plentiful now, but we all know which the original is: The Body Shop, which was founded in the UK more than 40 years ago by the late, great Anita Roddick. “In 1976, Anita Roddick believed in something revolutionary. That business could be a force for good,” says Hilary Lloyd, the brand’s VP of marketing and values. “Anita pioneered conscious consumerism, trailblazing the sourcing of community fair-trade ingredients and cruelty-free cosmetics. She also recognized the impact the business could have on social and environmental justice work by supporting, protesting and advocating for positive social change.”
Roddick died in 2007, but her legacy lives on through community fair-trade products and campaigning. This year, the brand’s focus is on self-esteem, a subject very dear to Roddick’s heart. “Very early on in The Body Shop’s journey, Anita Roddick acknowledged the importance of self-esteem in the fight for a fairer world,” says Lloyd. “[In 1997] she launched a campaign featuring a generously proportioned doll, Ruby, with the slogan: ‘There are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only eight who do.’ The shift to body positivity is happening, and we’re proud to have played our part. But the hard work has just begun.”
At the end of last year, the brand ran research and found half of women feel more self-doubt than self-love, and 60 per cent wished they had more respect for themselves. This led to the Self Love Uprising Campaign. “The Body Shop aims to inspire one million acts of self-love in one year, with the help of our fearless ‘Leading Lights’: Larissa Crawford, Tommy Dorfman, Nora McInerny and Sara Mora, to create more love and positive change in the world,” Lloyd says. The Leading Lights share affirmations and tips on acts of self love on social media using the #SelfLoveRising hashtag, inviting anybody and everybody to do the same. It’s not a campaign to raise money, as The Body Shop often does (this year, the brand has donated over $200,000 to the Canadian Women’s Foundation and Third Wave Fund to support gender equality), but Lloyd believes it’s no less impactful.
“In order to create a positive change in the world we must start with creating a positive change within,” she says. “We recognize that by holding space for self-care and self-love, you can better show up in the world and make a positive impact – empowered people, empower people.
“With this campaign, we call for people around the world to rise up with self-love, especially in a society that promotes self-doubt and insecurity. We are excited to embark on this journey to drive change individually, in the beauty industry and beyond.” —Aileen Lalor