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Where Did It All Go Wrong For The Body Shop?

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PR and marketing consultant Laura Wythe was a sales assistant at The Body Shop from 2010 until 2014. Even years after the sale to L’Oréal, she remembers customers complaining about the acquisition. “They would say that the brand wasn’t cruelty-free anymore, and this was challenging and frustrating,” Wythe tells R29. Louise Whitbread, a journalist, editor, and beauty brand consultant, believes that once a brand has lost that consumer trust, it’s almost impossible to rebuild: “The ethics of a brand’s behavior, including everything from workplace welfare to who is an investor or the parent company, are expected to align with its core values,” says Whitbread. She adds that this is especially true when the beauty industry is as saturated as it is with eco-conscious, sustainability-focused competitors. “We also know millennials and Gen Z lack brand loyalty, so if a company is involved in a ‘scandal’ or it doesn’t respond to consumer criticism well, it’s all too easy for customers to move on and not look back,” says Whitbread. She believes that The Body Shop’s core values were compromised when L’Oréal absorbed it; customers saw the move as “selling out.”

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