The Case Centre’s top 40 bestselling cases

Twenty-eighth - Body Shop International
The case
Case: Body Shop International Shouldice Hospital Ltd.
Authors: Christopher A. Bartlett, Kenton Elderkin and Krista McQuade
Institution: Harvard Business School
Ref: 9-392-032
Date published: 1991

‘The world of business has taught me nothing,’ said Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop. ‘I honestly believe I would not have succeeded if I had been taught about business.’

This case charts the start-up and rapid growth of a company whose founder held strong, non-traditional beliefs about the role of the corporation and its responsibility to society. After profiling Anita Roddick as a person, the case describes the anti-mainstream approach she took to building her highly successful business (no advertising, simple packaging, and non-traditional R&D). Questions are also raised about its transferability to America and ongoing survival as Anita steps back from the business. 

The authors

Christopher A. Bartlett is the Thomas D. Casserly, Jr. Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, at Harvard Business School.

Kenton Elderkin and Krista McQuade were Research Associates at Harvard Business School when this case was written.

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