Drinking a coffee in the company of Cesidio Di Ciacca ,on an early afternoon in october,we exchange thoughts on the possabilty of development in the "valley".
Both of us are convinced that there are resouces to be explored to maximise potential of a system capable of kickstarting the economy in our territory.Cesidio says to me,"you know what should be revived? the diaspora"
I think of the better known "diaspora",but clearly Cesidio refers to our diaspora,the one that has seen,for the last century,our people emigrate to the five continents.this theme is also clearly dear to Franco and Paolo Ianni,of Casalvieri,whomwith the "Premio Coluche",have started a journey in search of the many,who in the world,started from Valcomino,and made inroads in thr real sense of the word,a real success of their lives.
In july of last year,I toldCesidio,they brought to Casalvieri, the Catenacci brothers,owners of the DsQUARED brandknown worldwide by the fashion industry.Cesidio replies with "but the founder of The Body Shop chain grandmother is from Atina.
Anita Roddick in front of her shop
"I think this is incredible, I remembered the first time, during a stay in Vienna, when I was attracted to the intense aroma of a fresh and natural perfume, I followed the scentand found The Body Shop for the first time. I knew instinctvily that this was a different from the usual perfumery. I discovered a sales and marketing policy that placed the ethics, fair trade, and the enviroment at its core values. The shop opened onto a street, an opening that allowed people to browse and test the products.
Returning to Rome, I looked up the nearest Body Shop and found it in Via Cola Di Rienzo. Ever since my wardrobed exude the pleasant and inviting aromas from the Body Shop.
Home at Via Piè Le Piagge in Atina
I follow the story, after that quick remark from Cesidio, a story that originates in our lands. In the old birth registry of Atina, I find the birth of Gilda Di Vito, daughter of Domenico, farmer, then wife of Donato Perella, restauranteur, whose name disappears after the census of1931. Its Anitas mother ,who probably at the age of 17 was married and lived in Brighton.
In 1942 Anita was born, 3rd of 4 children, in Littlelaughton, where a small italian community had established. Her mother wished a teacher career for her, but the sense of adventure was very strong for Anita, after completing her studies she followed a stint in Paris at the Herald Tribune, with one at the United Nations in Genoa. She then started her "hippy" journey,that took her across Europe ,the South Pacific and Africa.,there she discoversother worlds and rituals including those for health and body.
Anita Roddick with her husband Gordon Roddick, at The Body Shop headquarters in Littlehampton
Back in UK in 1970 she marries Gordon Roddick, a free spirit and travel companion like her, a little bohemian. Six years later he decides to fulfill his dream to travel to Buenos Aires on horseback. Anita sells off the small catering business to finance the trip,she admires and is very proud of her husband,and to sustain the family in the meantime, she starts a collaboration with a herbalist to create natural products,made using the knowledge she acquired during her trips.With a small loan she opens the first Body Shop in the seaside town of Brighton.
The first Body Shop store in Brighton in 1976
She begins a marketing philosophy of re-using the empty containers,re-filling them, by her clients, with minimal packaging to contain the costs and aiding various charities at the same timewith donations.
Anita Roddick at work in 1978
Its the beginning of a story that in1980 brings the Body Shop all over the world with 77 million clientsand quoted the 2nd most trusted brand in UK and 28th worldwide.
In 2006 the brand is sold to L Oreal for 652million sterling.they overhaul all the founding principles of the Body Shop.
Anita dies in 2007.
Roddick owed her success to her commitment to social causes,Greenpeace,Amnesty,the ones that were against the exploitation of forests.These created free publicity, her brand was very competitive,to buy the products was to endorse Anitas causes.
In 1996 the crisis hit the brand ,beginning when Anita leaves the running of it to managers,she then sells to L Oreal.However the story of Anita remains one of the most interesting of the success stiries in the industry.Her story is unique as is her developing of the trust of her clientele,to reach out without publicity.It would be interesting to contact her family and relatives ,to have more info,to dedicate an event in hae name,to a person and story so unique.
In her autobiography Anita recalls her mpthers frugaltity during the war years how she would say "why trow out a container if it can be re-used?""why buy more than you can use?".In her idea of business she endorsed frugality,re-use,re-cycle.The enviromental ethos of the Body Shop was born from the example of a young courageous woman called Gilda Di Vito,who began her journey in via Pie Le Piagge no,19.