Anita Roddick insists she never went into business to make millions. She simply wanted to earn a living for her family. As founder and chief executive of The Body Shop International Inc., the 54-year-old entrepreneur has done both on a very grand scale.
In two decades, Roddick and her husband, Gordon, have created a cosmetic empire of more than 1,400 retail stores selling natural skin- and hair-care products in 45 countries. Sales last year reached more than $950 million.
What's more, Roddick has expanded her concept of "family" to include the world's population. Whether she's using The Body Shop's profits to renovate orphanages in Romania, develop a domestic-violence helpline in England, or help clean up the world's polluted air and water, Roddick is adamant about The Body Shop doing its part to make the world a better place. For this hippie-activist-turned-entrepreneur, that's exactly what a corporation with a social conscience should do. "We work to narrow the gap between principle and practice," Roddick says, "while making fun, passion and care part of our daily lives."