MENTOR SPOTLIGHT: SUSANNE NORWITZ @ MAYA CHIA
When did you know you wanted to take an entrepreneurial path?
When I was a child I owned the Barbie doll that had a little business suite and briefcase. I always enjoyed doing things my own way, and working at a job that deployed my full base of skills and strengths. There’s so much creativity that you can have as an entrepreneur. The world is your oyster. But you have to work – and be passionate about it.
Tell us about your venture!
I’m the Founder and Formulator of Maya Chia, a luxury clean skincare brand.
How did you decide to tackle your venture’s issue?
Since I was a wee child, I used to sit in wonder at the tinctures and bottles on my mother’s vanity. I loved the idea of transformation and that when you use skincare it can be a tweak added to your regimen that can change the way you navigate the world.
What do you enjoy most about being an impact entrepreneur? What’s hardest about it?
There are so many highs and lows – it can be like riding the most vicious rollercoaster at times. In the morning, you can be flying from the weekly sales report and when it hits the afternoon you could have a problem in production. It’s just a rollercoaster – which if you look at it another way – makes it damn exciting. If not a touch scary.
How do you navigate the space of being a founder and also being a POC/women/non-binary person?
I have never had an issue speaking my mind. I’m grateful for that. And I’m grateful for the generations of women who came before me who made it possible to be this way.
What advice do you have for early-stage impact entrepreneurs about using their time, relationships, and opportunities at The New School to prepare for this kind of career?
Passion is always at the core of anything great – and will sustain you during the rollercoaster of being an entrepreneur – during good times – and the tough times. But you’ve got to fall in love with what you’re doing.
ABOUT MAYA CHIA:
At Maya Chia, we are obsessive about formulating – and results. We have spent years and literally hundreds of iterations just to create one product.
Susanne Norwitz is the founder and formulator of Maya Chia. She always had a passion for skincare [her father was a plastic surgeon]. A clean beauty enthusiast, Susanne felt that advances in marketing were unaccompanied by advances in efficacy. The promises of new products all seemed to fall flat. Consumers were longing for real results, and Susanne set out to create a game-changing line that redefined clean-beauty standards.
The Chia seeds powering Maya Chia’s formulations are sourced from Guatemala – home of the Maya people. For centuries, the Maya people have used Chia seeds as a form of a nutrient-dense food source. And of the past few decades, science has affirmed what the Maya people have always known. Chia seeds have unparalleled health and wellness properties.
Susanne’s connection to the Maya people dates back to her childhood. Susanne’s father, a renowned surgeon, performed cleft lip and palate repair on the Maya people of Guatemala. At a young age, Susanne remembers her father’s stories in which he recounted the rich culture of the Maya people.
Her affinity for the Mayas only grew with the addition of her two stepchildren, both born in Guatemala. Susanne’s discovery of Chia’s skin benefits and importance for the Maya – coupled with her determination to create an unrivaled skincare brand – paved the way for Maya Chia’s inception.
Prior to starting Maya Chia, Susanne was a political and Fortune 100 speechwriter working with C-suite executives. She holds a masters degree from Harvard University.
Since launching Maya Chia, the brand has become one of the most decorated in the clean beauty space. Her formulations break through the clutter of the clean and conventional beauty landscape. We like to believe Maya Chia is changing the clean beauty landscape – one formulation at a time.
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