20 May 2019

Lawrence Jones MBE and Susie Ma

Looking at the huge success of the skincare brand Tropic Skincare, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a global conglomerate was behind the brand. In reality, Tropic was started by a 15-year-old girl desperate to help her mum make ends meet.

That 15-year-old was Susie Ma, now 30, and in the past financial year, the business turned over £29 million and has more than 12,000 ambassadors.

So, how do you grow a business from earning a few hundred pounds on a Greenwich Market stall with products cooked up in her mum’s kitchen, to a multimillion-pound cosmetics brand?

That’s what I needed to find out in this episode of the Mind Your Own Business podcast.

That journey saw Susie take part in the BBC’s The Apprentice, reaching the final before being ‘fired’ by Lord Sugar at the final hurdle.

Her life has been built on making the most of, and nurturing, the world around her. All of Tropic’s products are vegan, cruelty-free and natural, influenced by her time living in Australia as a child and by her Grandma’s 60 years of study of homeopathic remedies in China.

So what’s next for the environmentally focussed Susie? Rumours of growth in America and of an IPO follow her wherever she goes at the moment.

In this episode, I explore her fascinating past, dig deep into her business journey and look to the future of one of the fastest growing skincare brands in the country.

Key takeaways:

  • Turnover is for vanity, profit is for sanity: negotiate, question, tighten the pursestrings.
  • What does it take to bounce back after a setback – coming back after being fired from The Apprentice.
  • How to empower ambassadors to accelerate your business while providing entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Working with Lord Sugar to accelerate the brand.
  • Creating a healthier, greener, more empowered world through business.

Host: Lawrence Jones MBE

Guest: Susie Ma

Susie is nominated for the Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award. The award recognises the success and vision of female entrepreneurs between the ages of 25 and 35, with the winner reflecting the core attributes that Madame Clicquot exhibited in her formative years, such as a fearless approach and innovative thinking to achieve her goals.

Listening time: 60 mins

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