Beauty Independent · Beauty And Retail Insiders Offer The Body Shop’s New Owner Suggestions For How To Revive The Storied Chain feat. SMAKK's Katie Klencheski

WRITTEN BY: RACHEL BROWN - Click to read on Beauty Independent

Last week, Natura & Co announced it’s selling The Body Shop to Aurelius Group in a deal valued at around $280 million. Founded in 1976 by Anita Roddick with a store in the English city Brighton, The Body Shop was an early pioneer of corporate responsibility. A big believer in business as a force for good, Roddick established its mission to fight against animal testing and for human rights.

In 2006, L’Oréal acquired The Body Shop, and Natura picked it up 11 years later from L’Oréal. Aurelius, which describes itself as a “specialist for complex investments with operative improvement potentials,” is taking over a global network of around 800 stores that’s been weakened in recent years by The Body Shop’s slumping sales and brand deterioration.

Despite The Body Shop’s diminished state, it holds a prominent place in beauty industry history and the retail landscape. We were curious if retail, beauty and wellness insiders believe it can regain relevance. So, for the latest edition of our ongoing series posing questions germane to indie beauty, we asked 17 of them the following question: If you were given the opportunity to reimagine The Body Shop, what would you do to make it relevant to today’s consumers?

The Body Shop has an amazing corporate heritage of environmental responsibility, and we’ve seen brands like Patagonia lean into their histories with great success. I’d advise The Body Shop to build on their heritage by embracing the concept of radical transparency in their sourcing and ingredient stories. We’ve seen brands like Ingredients and The Inkey List do this with huge success wooing gen Z consumers. In addition to radical transparency on ingredients, brands like Ritual and Seed take this further by talking about sourcing as well as environmental and social impact.

This strategic move aligns with the company's core values and builds on their history of corporate activism while strengthening the opportunities for the brand to build compelling product stories. The creative opportunities this would allow from campaigns to packaging could be incredibly impactful and are built for layered and robust storytelling.

Next, I’d suggest that they relaunch product collections or create a new line aiming for a major cool factor. Right now, the brand feels like it’s afraid to make waves and the resulting product lineup is ho hum, marketing to everyone and no one at the same time. A new collection that integrates refills and attention-getting design would help turn the heads of new consumers who expect high design in their skincare products.

The Body Shop needs to take a big swing, either looking back to their roots with some serious ‘70s nostalgia (à la Bathing Culture or Vacation) or thinking about the maximalist aesthetics that are overtaking millennial minimalism (like Milk Makeup and Topicals) or even going more high design with unexpected materials and reusable forms (like Humanrace, Costa Brazil and ByHumankind).

Lastly, The Body Shop operates at a price point that’s attractive to gen Z consumers who talk as much about price democracy as they do about corporate responsibility. Gen Z appreciates brands that break away from traditional beauty standards and offer products that prioritize effectiveness over prestige. The Body Shop’s product collections are similarly focused on core ingredients and this emphasis on individual active ingredients rather than elaborate marketing claims appeals to gen Z's desire for effective, cost-sensitive and evidence-based skincare.

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