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Hi-Fi Plus Magazine --  Hi-Fi+

March 2024


Let's Talk About The Body Shop
The brands we once loved might not be the brand we still love today.
Editorial By Alan Sircom


Hi-Fi+ March 2024


  Although the brand lives on and stores worldwide will continue, The Body Shop in the UK has gone into administration and its future is uncertain. This might seem an odd opening gambit in an editorial about audio, but there are lessons to be learned.

The Body Shop was the brainchild of the late Dame Anita Roddick. Starting in 1976, Roddick launched the first Body Shop in Brighton, on the coast of Southern England, using locally-sourced skin care products in recyclable bottles and with minimal hype. The concept took off and quickly became a national and international success.

The Body Shop's failure in the UK speaks of many things that plague audio companies. The company suffered greatly after the passing of the founder. It became part of a larger brand, was spun out to venture capitalists and lost its identity. And perhaps most importantly for the brand, it traded on past glories.

Listening to people bemoaning the company falling into administration, those talking about its failure were not current consumers; they were the consumers of a generation ago, who liked the idea of The Body Shop still selling White Musk and Dewberry Oil as it did when they used to shop there in the 1980s. Meanwhile prospective new customers shop elsewhere!



Hi-Fi+ March 2024


It wouldn't be too difficult to hear the same from some audio companies, only changing some of the names. There are a lot of people in audio who feel they have skin in the game despite not buying anything new for 40 years. They like the idea of their pet company still making a specific product despite it long since falling out of favour with today's audio enthusiasts. Meanwhile, in order to invest in new technologies, the company has joined forces with investment companies, who now demand changes to get a good return. The changes push the brand even further from those products older buyers like the idea of, but never buy... and so the circle continues.

The Body Shop is just one of many companies inside and outside of audio with similar problems. Many brands cope by staying small, but that brings its own problems, including lines of succession when the founder steps down.

I think we have to accept that growth and change are intrinsic parts of business life, and the brands we once loved might not be the brand we still love today. Fortunately, in most cases, there's always another brand that offers a very similar performance to that former favourite.

Congratulations to Sean Brazier from Southport, who won the outstanding Dynaudio Special Forty stand-mount loudspeakers in our recent competition. Well done!



Note: Our 25th Anniversary Special Issue will be on sale starting April 4, 2024.



Alan Sircom, Editor hi-fi+




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