Susie was born in Shanghai, China in 1988, where she lived with her grandparents. From an early age she was strongly encouraged to use only natural ingredients by her grandmother, who for over 60 years studied homeopathic remedies alongside her career as a medicinal chemist. In their house, natural was always better, and it was this upbringing that inspired Susie’s belief in natural ingredients and eventually Tropic Skincare’s ethos.
Susie moved to Australia aged 6, her family first settling in Sydney where they worked as street vendors selling novelty souvenirs. She had her first taste of business selling alongside her parents while in Sydney, and eventually moved to the city of Cairns in Tropical North Queensland. Cairns was full of lush, tropical plants that Susie and her mum would grow in their garden and use to make natural skincare recipes. With plants like eucalyptus and aloe vera plentiful, Susie fell in love with the natural environment around her, and being so close to the Great Barrier Reef developed a particular passion for protecting the ocean.
Moving to London at age 13, Susie and her mum struggled to make ends meet, so she decided to follow her mum’s example and start her own business selling at a stall in Greenwich Market. Armed with her favourite Body Scrub recipe packaged in jam jars (which still exists in the Tropic Skincare range today), Susie began to sell her own natural skincare with immediate success from her first day trading. This gave her the motivation to continue working evenings and weekends to develop the business, all the while achieving academic excellence in school. Eventually she saved enough money to fund her own university tuition, and went on to study a highly sought after degree in Philosophy and Economics at University College London in 2007.
Upon graduation, and after a brief period working in investment banking, Susie realised that she missed being her own boss and decided to concentrate her efforts fully on her Tropic business. Tropic has gone from strength to strength since then and Susie was able to buy her mum a house, something that she had always wanted to do. From working alone on a market stall, Susie now employs over 100 internal staff and has created business opportunities for over 12,000 Tropic Ambassadors throughout the UK, all from a desire to help her mum pay the bills. Today, she is one of only ten entrepreneurs aged 30 or under whose ventures will be listed in an upcoming ranking of the fastest growing companies in the UK by Virgin Fast Track 100. She regularly speaks at events around the country encouraging other entrepreneurs to believe that anything is possible, and to go after their wildest goals.
BBC'S THE APPRENTICE
While looking for investment for her business, Susie beat out 73,000 applicants to appear on BBC’s The Apprentice, which aired in May 2011. She became the youngest ever Apprentice candidate and after finishing in 3rd place, officially entered into a 50/50 partnership with Lord Sugar in December 2011, where her already thriving skincare company reached new heights. She became the first runner up candidate ever to receive investment.
In 2013 Susie launched the Tropic Ambassador opportunity alongside Lord Sugar, and already the program has given over 12,000 women the products, business tools and confidence they need to start their very own natural beauty business and run it on their terms, around life’s other commitments.