The Body Shop hits back at accusation it is targeting vulnerable teens

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

The Body Shop hits back at accusation it is targeting vulnerable teens

Related tags Body shop The body shop

Cosmetics Design sat down with the global cosmetics giant after a UK publication claimed it is "using children to push its products" in the form of 'free parties.'

The talk comes after journalist Shona Sibary claimed girls are being put under pressure to sell The Body Shop's products to their friends​ and are getting embarrassed and upset when they can't afford them.

The article focused on Sibary's daughter's experience with a sales consultant from the brand's At Home division.

In it, the journalist accused the once 'second-most trusted brand' in Britain as drawing teenagers in through Facebook by offering them free 'parties', sometimes without their parent's consent.

We're adults: we know the difference between a genuine knees-up and a flogging exercise, but children don't," ​writes Sibary.

"And it seems some consultants at The Body Shop At Home - the profitable division of the company that runs these parties - are using this to dubious advantage​,” she added.

"We do not believe that it is right to target under 18s to host a party" - ​The Body Shop

In response to this Zoe Cook, the UK's PR manager told this publication; "We pride ourselves in offering a fantastic, personalised shopping experience to all our customers, whatever their age but we do not believe that it is right to target under 18s to host a party and we have reviewed our party policies to prevent this happening again."

Cook goes on to clarify that the minimum age of a consultant and party host is 18 years old whilst the minimum age to attend a party unaccompanied is 16 years.

"If under 16 years, they can attend along with a parent or guardian, or with consent from a parent​," she tells CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.

Whilst Body Shop At Home consultants are self-employed and independent, Cook says that they have been made fully aware of the ethics and values of the brand's business and targeting minors to host parties is not consistent to business practice.

"Due to this unusual incident we are reviewing our party policies to prevent this happening again," ​she says.

The way the parties work

Consultants earn a commission salary by selling The Body Shop products through a 'party experience'.

The self-employed consultants choose how far they want to build their own business; as they are their own boss they can opt for part-time or full-time work depending on whether they are looking to earn extra spending money or a healthy salary.

After a host chooses a date, party theme and invited friends round, a consultant arrives with a collection of products and offers the host a thank you gift and various shopping discounts which are related to overall party spend levels.

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