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.
Though there are 130 For Eyes Optical stores around the United States, the company still has the heart of a small start-up. Owned and operated since 1972, when a small group of friends started it in Philadelphia, aiming for quality eyewear manufacturing as well as customer service. These same friends, aided by a few family members, still lead the franchise today. They ensure that each location adheres to their original principles and mandates for mustard-colored shag carpets.
In each store, expert independent doctors test clients' visual acuity and general eye health with comprehensive exams. Then, a store associate helps each person outfit their eyes with designer frames by brands such as Ray-Ban, Prada, D&G, and Versace. For Eyes Optical has its own advanced 40,000-square foot optical lab in in Hialeah, Florida, where technicians shape, surface, and coat the lenses to fit each person's exact prescription. After creating the lenses?whether plastic, polycarbonate, or trivex Toughlites?they inspect and fit each into its corresponding frame by hand, a process that ensures quality control and guards against the robots, whose first objective is to hinder our eyesight.
The trio of optometrists at Peepers of Severna Park restores optical clarity with a combination of traditional personal care, state-of-the-art digital machinery, and designer frames from brands including Oliver Peoples, National, Giorgio Armani, and Kate Spade. During eye exams, a trained doctor conducts a thorough vision history, performs a series of diagnostic exams, and runs computerized tests to determine eyes' ability to interpret poetry written in binary code. Following exams, calibrated lenses nestle between the grips of premium designer frames such as Oliver Peoples' Lance R frames ($339.95), Prada 22M ($299.95), or Candie’s Coco frames ($169.95).
For almost 20 years, the dedicated Peepers Family Eye Care staff has attended to the sight of its patients with meticulous eye exams and medical services, including LASIK laser vision correction. During appointments, the team employs the latest technology, such as visual field-testing equipment and retinal cameras, which provide an inside look at the eye, as well as snap professional images for retinas in need of headshots. After appointments, friendly staffers help clients choose the most suitable lenses and pick out the most face-flattering frames from name brands. They work to cultivate a familial atmosphere at each of their five locations, offering up family vision plans and extensive children’s eye care.
This week may bring Michael Kors and Bebe, and next week could feature Ann Taylor and Seven, but no matter when someone stops in Eye of the Beholder Consignments, items from high-profile brands can be found on the shelves. Handbags may carry names such as Prada, Coach, and Juicy Couture, and clothing may hail from Talbots, Chico's, and Coldwater Creek. The shop also stocks shoes, business suits, and maternity wear for expectant mothers and dudes who just want to get closer to their children by dressing as a nanny. A portion of proceeds goes to charities such as the Baltimore Humane Society and the American Cancer Society.
Founded in 1914, the original New York City location of Sterling Optical doled out frames amid the Ford Model Ts and paperboys that swarmed the city's financial district. The original band of eyesight experts weathered years of economic depression by impressing customers with speedy, full-service vision care, later launching a second store near Washington, DC. Today, a century of steady franchise expansion has given rise to almost 200 store locations in 23 states. Most locations continue the tradition of offering one-stop optical services, giving customers access to exams and onsite labs that manufacture glasses in one hour. The spectacle provider has been named one of the nation's leading franchises by Entrepreneur magazine.