She started her career by working in a Library of International Herald Tribune, Paris. She followed this by serving as a teacher of English and History in England. She later found work in the Women’s Rights Dept. of International Labor Organization (ILO), based at UN in Geneva EDIT
Later on she opened a restaurant in association with her future husband Gordon Roddick. The business thrived and the couple soon established a hotel in the Littlehampton area. EDIT
It was in 1976 that she initiated the cosmetic and wellness brand ‘The Body Shop’ as a means to earn a living so as to support her children, while her husband was away on a trekking tour in America. Established to provide financial support, it went on to become the largest cosmetic and wellness brand EDIT
Despite having no training or experience at business, she adhered to her husband’s advice of banking on sales of more than 300 pounds a week. The main aim of her business venture was to provide quality skin care products in refillable containers and sample sizes.
The Body Shop was launched when Europe was on its way for a ‘go green’ mantra. As such, the brand came well in time as it was largely accepted for its environment friendly retail conventions. Also it became the first socially and environmentally responsible business.
The success of the first shop led to the launch of the second shop within a time frame of six months. Her husband who had returned from his trek too joined the business. The company went public in 1984
By 1991, The Body Shop had more than 700 branches. The same year, it was awarded World Vision Award for Development Initiative.
In 1997, she launched the most successful campaign for The Body Shop, with the creation of a size 16 doll, Ruby which bore a resemblance to Barbie. The campaign was a great success.
By 2004, The Body Shop had 1980 stores, serving over 77 million customers throughout the world. It was voted as the second most trusted brand in the United Kingdom, and 28th top brand in the world.
In 2006, L’Oreal bought The Body Shop for 652 million pounds. The takeover created a major controversy as L’Oreal was involved in animal testing and due to its ownership by Nestle which is criticized for its treatment of third world producers.