Susie Ma is the CEO and Founder of natural skincare company Tropic, which she started aged 15 on a stall at Greenwich Market after moving to London from her native Shanghai. Since then, she’s secured investment from Lord Sugar and been named one of Forbes 30 under 30. All this and she’s still only 29. Next stop? The world, as she tells Modern Woman.

Tell us about Tropic Skincare:
My mission for Tropic has evolved over the years, but the one constant has always been to create products that are truly good for you. No toxic chemicals, no marketing gimmicks – just natural, nutritious ingredients that always fall in line with our core ‘pure, honest and effective’ ethics. Tropic products are formulated with pampering in mind, and each freshly made product is created using the richest, most nutritious premium natural ingredients to ensure they are effective on all skin types, even the most sensitive. In March, I released Tropic’s new infinite purpose, which is to help create a healthier, greener, more empowered world. I passionately believe that you have to be the change you want to see in the world, so I want Tropic to set an example in the beauty industry when it comes to corporate responsibility.

How did you get into the beauty industry?
My grandmother was a medicinal chemist, which gave her an in-depth knowledge of the effect chemicals have on our bodies when ingested and applied topically. The mantra of my upbringing was ‘natural is always best’, so I spent much of my childhood creating botanical skincare and natural remedies at home in my kitchen in Tropical North Queensland. One such family recipe was Tropic’s founding product, Body Smooth Refreshing Polish, a nourishing scrub made with a blend of sea salt, macadamia oil, and eucalyptus and lemon myrtle essential oils, ingredients which were local to me in Australia. After moving to the UK, I decided I wanted to start a business and this led me to start selling our body scrubs in jam jars at Greenwich Market when I was 15 years old.

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