By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | July 06, 2017
When you walk into The Body Shop at Viaviana Mall, in Thane, you notice one of its staff members with make-up to resemble a bunny. You wonder what got into her. She watches you looking quizzically at her and quickly disarms you with her smile, walking up to you with a register in hand.
Within a minute you understand what this is all about. Then you applaud the girl for her courage to stand up for someone who cannot even speak! Meet Kaneez Zehra Taqvi. A retail expert who has been in this field for over seven years and at The Body Shop since the past six months.
The Body Shop in association with Cruelty Free International has launched a new campaign calling for an international ban on animal testing in cosmetics, on both products and ingredients, everywhere and forever. This is the most ambitious campaign ever against animal testing, and aims to engage eight million people to sign the petition calling on the United Nations to introduce an international convention to end the practice once and for all.
Their unique campaign included asking their staff to help them out. When quizzed if she was not nervous or apprehensive donning this role of an entertainer-cum-retail assistant, Taqvi replies: “I knew people would laugh at me and my first reaction was, ‘I will not do it’. My company then explained to me, ‘What if the animals come and tell you that they are facing a problem? What if they tell you how many of them are maimed for life and also die because of just one test on them? They cannot come and tell you this’. This got me thinking.”
A few days later, Taqvi had decided the way forward. “I decided that this was the way, and this is a big thing for me that the company I work for has chosen its staff. A lot many of us at first were not ready, but today all have agreed and are happy doing this activity. We are proud that our company is fighting for an issue like this and a lot of people who walk in here sign the petition after understanding the cause we are fighting for. The first few days were frightening for me, but a few days later I felt great because I was doing something that was helping the helpless animals,” she reveals confidently.
The nervousness, fright and apprehension is now replaced with ease. Everyday, Taqvi walks in for her shift and soon shifts gear with her get-up. “People now come up to me and congratulate me saying that I am doing a great job.” That is half the battle won. As for the signatures, they get around 37 daily at this store itself. But the campaign is spread all over India across all its outlets. “We have a 60 percent conversion from the clients who walk into the store who are convinced to sign the register,” explains Neetu Verma, Mumbai Manager. “Even I donned the get-up on the first day the campaign kicked off at Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel, in June. This campaign will go on in India till June 2018,” she reveals.
The petition can be signed online from here or at any of The Body Shop’s 3,000 stores across the world.
The next time you walk into Viviana Mall, do walk into The Body Shop and sign the petition. A selfie with Kaneez Gehra Taqvi with you, posted on your social media will also help this cause!
Also Read: Opening minds, Opening Doorz