From selling skincare products at Greenwich Market to almost securing a £250,000 investment and business partnership with Lord Sugar on BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’….. Today we have the privilege to discuss business, beauty and skincare with the truly inspirational and stunning Susan Ma (Managing Director & brand ambassador) of Tropic Skincare
So…I understand your range is 100% Natural, 100% Vegan and 100% Cruelty free; have you always swayed towards the purely natural approach and what are your feelings on the use of chemicals in cosmetic products?
“I believe that having wonderful skin is the most important part of looking good and feeling confident. Having grown up in a family of health and nature fanatics, I’ve always known that the only way of having truly healthy and radiant skin is through using naturally derived ingredients.”
“Fragrances, chemicals and solvents in most other cosmetic products are used as cheap fillers; which not only accelerates the ageing and deterioration of skin cells, they also get absorbed into the bloodstream, leading to a toxin build up in your body. For this reason, Tropic Skin Care is derived 100% from natural, sustainable ingredients. We are also advocates of animals rights and don’t believe in interfering with their lives, so we’re proudly 100% Vegan and 100% Cruelty Free too!”
“By harnessing the potent power of plants, fruits & vegetables, Tropic Skin Care offer a range bursting with active plant proteins, vitamins and antioxidants to visibly brighten and revitalise your complexion – naturally!”
As Lord Sugar was quick to point out, the Skincare business is not exactly an easy market to crack; what age were you when you first started out in business and how did you manage to finance your company?
“Lord Sugar is right in saying that the skin care market is a very saturated one. But truly, high quality, natural skin care products that are honestly priced are still incredibly rare.”
“I started developing my business when I was 16 with the help of my mother and many cosmetic chemists. It took 2 years of development before I was able to have a final product and officially started selling when I was 18, during the summer holidays between my high school graduation and university.”
“I was able to finance my business start up costs through my savings, I did part-time work at markets alongside my studies since I was 13 and was always good with money – I suppose when you’re that age, you don’t have any expenditures!”
What has been the most interesting proposition you have had since being on The Apprentice and have you managed to secure any investors to take the next step with Tropic Skincare?
“I still have hundreds of emails to go through. But I’ve had quite a few proposals to start various business ventures, perhaps the most interesting was to start a natural make up range for pets! Could it work?!”
“I’ve had many approaches from investors, though most want too much of an equity share for too little investment. However, there are still two investors that I’m currently negotiating with.”
What products are you currently developing and when & where can we expect to see them on the shelves?
“I’m currently developing a Tropic Eye Refresh Wand that instantly cools, hydrates and reduces under eye puffiness and dark circles – this is a highly demanded product and will be ready before Christmas!”
“A Nourishing Body Cream and Face Serum are also currently being developed though won’t be ready until next year.”
“My range is already beeing stocked in various organic boutiques and internet sites: ‘La Maison’ of Whitby, ‘Food For Thought’ in Kingston, www.feelunique.com, www.green-bear.co.uk to name a few!”
“My company is still very small and humble at the moment, but I hope that in the coming months Tropic skin care will be stocked on many more shelves!”
“Thank you! The absolute must-have product in my range is the 100% natural Smoothing Cleanser – it comes with a free Organic Bamboo face cloth and they work in unison to dissolve all makeup (including waterproof mascara), smooth your complexion and bring glowing vitality to your skin!”
Is there a secret ingredient that is a must-have across your skincare range?
“It’s no secret, but the one ingredient I use across all products in my range is natural Vitamin E. It’s scientifically proven to repair skin, accelerate skin renewal, improve skin elasticity, strengthen cell membrane, protect skin from free radicals, act as a powerful antioxidant… *takes deep breath*… improve skin texture and also protect the other ingredients from oxidising! Vitamin E is simply the best ingredient for maintaining healthy skin, which is why there is such a high concentration of it in all my products.”
Are you going to just stick with growing Tropic Skincare or do you think you have caught the entrepreneur bug and may set-up some new businesses in the future?
“At the moment, I will stick with growing Tropic Skincare because it really is something I’m deeply passionate about and I do believe there is a lot of potential for it. I am also helping my parents with building their new wholesale jewellery business, I’m currently building their website www.medleyjewellery.com, but who knows what the future might hold, I will keep you posted!”
And last but not least, where can our readers keep up to date with all your latest product releases and news updates?
“I will also be starting a monthly blog on my website to discuss various skin related issues on:”