There are few women (if any!) who don’t know “The Body Shop.” The brand is now a staple in all major shopping centres and high streets, synonymous with natural beauty care. But what about the name and face behind it all?

Anita Roddick, the brilliance behind the cosmetic-giant’s success, was a woman who truly thundered into the world of business and left her mark on an industry that desperately needed to change. From her humble beginnings as the child of an immigrant Italian family in small-town Britain, Anita poured her body and soul into The Body Shop, pioneer in the field of natural beauty.

Alongside her partner in both business and life, Anita followed a deep passion inside her to turn what started as a one-shop, one-woman show into a global organization rooted in sound business practices and a strong vision for social change. Here are 5 wise learnings from her life that could revolutionize your business, too.

1. You be you (and let them be them).

“A true key to success is knowing what features set you apart from the competition: you must emphasize them, constantly restate them, and never be seduced into watering them down… Be daring. Be first. Be different.”
– Anita Roddick

Over and over Anita evaluated and re-stated who The Body Shop was. Focus was always brought back to what they did well, differently, brilliantly. And most importantly, the values and key defining traits of the brand were never wavered on or altered to compete against peers. The Body Shop always maintained a focus and sense of who they were that allowed them to clearly differentiate themselves in a same-same industry. A brilliant business knows who they are and what sets them apart from the competition.

2. Build it like a lady.

“I think all business practices would improve immeasurably if they were guided by ‘feminine’ principles – qualities like love, and care, and intuition.”
– Anita Roddick

The value of emotions is certainly underappreciated in our “macho” business world. But Anita knew the power, early on, of emotions in creating life-long customer partners. When we love and care for clients and our global family, we communicate so much more about our brand and our values than a vision or mission statement alone ever could. A brilliant business loves and embraces the emotional characteristics that make them who they are.

3. Work before luck.

“The only time luck comes before work is in the dictionary.”
– Anita Roddick

Hard work and a lot of elbow grease are the foundations of any strong business, and The Body Shop is no exception. Anita spent many years in the nitty-gritty of the brand’s development: lugging mass amounts of product to and from shops, long days on the road building and nurturing the network of stores, countless hours of time invested in meetings, product development, customer care, and franchisee training. A brilliant business knows that hard work pays off.

4. Play big to be big.

“If you have a company with itsy-bitsy vision, you have an itsy-bitsy company.”
– Anita Roddick

Anita knew that it was the big, audacious vision of her company that would eventually lead to success. The Body Shop has always gone against the grain of business norms. In her time running the natural beauty giant, Anita always pushed the envelope on what was possible and realistic. Her dreams and vision for the company were never thwarted by what was normal and reasonable. She played big. A brilliant business knows that to be big, you must hold a big vision.

5. Soul before all.

“In a society of money-centric business “ethics,” The Body Shop stands as proof that success can maintain soul, and profit partners with social change.”
– Anita Roddick

The Body Shop is built on the idea that a company is the perfect battleground for social justice. Anita never faltered in her steadfast fight for the environment. The company was always partnering with other organizations and spearheading initiatives of its own to ensure its key values of environmental and global human care were addressed in partnership with their customers. A brilliant business knows that the mark of success is greater than financial profit.