People’s Champion Finalist: Tropic Skincare
Meet the Startups Awards People's Champion contender: a Lord Sugar-backed natural, cruelty-free skincare company that is creating a small army of entrepreneurs
Start-up name: Tropic Skincare
Founders: Susan Ma
Started in: 2011
Based in: London
Business description: A natural skincare product business that trades through a social selling platform
The Tropic Skincare story:
In 2011 Tropic Skincare founder Susan Ma was finally able to make her natural, vegan skincare business into a reality.
Having conceived of the idea years before it was only after she presented her business idea to Lord Alan Sugar on The Apprentice that the business became a reality. With Ma a finalist that year, Sugar chose to invest once the show had aired thanks to the female entrepreneur’s persistence.
Ma had first dreamed up the idea when she was just 15 years-old. She developed her first product after being inspired by the tropical plants from her former home in Cairns, Australia, and started selling it at Greenwich Market for “pocket money”.
The company didn’t start trading until November 2011, however, and the skincare brand has grown dramatically into a multi-million turnover business – growth that was propelled when the start-up launched an ambassador opportunity in 2013.
The social selling platform enables aspiring entrepreneurs to “set up their own beauty business” by providing the products along with support and tools. Since launching the initiative, it has grown from 400 to 3,000 – making it one of the fastest growing UK businesses in the social selling sphere.
Despite continuing to scale, Tropic Skincare has stayed true to its founding principles. All products are made in Britain and remain completely natural, vegan and cruelty-free. And according to the founder, this will continue along with her plans to reveal a new brand identity and increase revenue significantly next year.
Why Tropic Skincare made our 60:
Susan Ma appears to have struck upon a winning formula for growing the Tropic Skincare brand, with the number of ambassadors growing rapidly from 400 to more than 3,000 in less than two years. Allied to impressive revenue growth and profits the Made in Britain product is carving a strong niche in the ultra-competitive cosmetics industry.