To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend Human Rights" and "Protect The Planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while ultimately expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in over 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, ?She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.?
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness and social consciousness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to an EU-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the brand?s iconic body butters, facial products, and gift collections often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, Lucky, Seventeen and other national publications.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
Sick of buying expensive supplies and having to adhere to a class schedule just to create art, Jennifer Kurtz Rubin started the first of her chain of ceramic lounges in 1993. Each Petroglyph Ceramic Lounge is designed as a social and creative space, one that all customers can use to express themselves artistically while catching up with friends. The lounge throws open its doors for both kids and adults to decorate clay bisque pieces, such as mugs and salad bowls, with a bounty of colorful supplies, never worrying about cleanup afterward. Once they’re complete, the art pieces are glazed, fired, and ready for pickup in a few days. And because artists can stay for a whole afternoon or just 30 minutes, the lounge even grants a few moments of creativity to patrons with the busiest schedules. The company also goes beyond casual art making to host parties for kids and adults, in which they can bring in live music, serve food, and train scoops of ice cream to paint their own bowls.
Ground Zero Clothing and Boardshop?s adroit staff has been equipping athletes with apparel and gear for skateboarding, snowboarding, and wakeboarding since 1997. Harnessing the style and proven functionality of such top-tier brands as TOMS, Volcom, Nike SB, and Burton, they swathe bodies from head to toe in shoes, jeans, and T-shirts. Their collection of Spy and Electric sunglasses protects peepers from whipping winds, and their skateboard decks by Real and Creature help guests skim across surfaces with the speed of an over-caffeinated Zamboni operator. Though their selection of boards and accessories rotates frequently, they typically have skimboards, wakeboards, and snowboards in stock to help their guests defy gravity in style. Additionally, skilled staff members recalibrate scuffed boards or grant patrons a chance to test pilot new ways to commute to work with their equipment repair and rental services.
ReCREATE's approach to conservation unleashes the inner outsider artist in all who enter the center's cheery, well-organized studio. The guerrilla-crafting cooperative rescues unwanted office supplies, retail detritus, and industrial byproducts from a destiny of landfill lining, in the process building a vast repository of reusable craft materials. Drop-in sessions ($5 each) allow developing da Vincis to create milk-jug masks and packing-foam puppets to their hearts' content. Conservational crafters purchase bulk supplies from the studio's bins of cast-off designer-fabric samples, cigar boxes, paper, tile chips, cardboard, and more, while reCREATE supplies scissors, glue, and any other necessary equipment. Amateur artists of all ages can spontaneously generate boats, figurines, and dioramas in-studio, or shop for materials to build a man-sized version of Mouse Trap at home.