It started with a buzz that pretty much turned into a roar: Maya Chia came on to the scene with such fervor that we didn’t think first about diving in. We’re officially in the deep end, and thankfully founder Susanne Norwitz is in there with us. She’s a go getter, a deep diver, a fearless business owner and graceful creator. She allowed her passions to guide her, and we all have beautiful skin to thank for it, but as we understand it, nothing compares to the beauty of her spirit.
Where do you draw inspiration for your line?
I wanted the look and feel of the line to be minimalist, yet beautiful, in its aesthetic. Because beauty doesn’t have to be complicated or involve exhaustive steps, and that is the ethos of the line distilled down to its essence.
It all started when I read about the benefits of chia seeds after undergoing a detox, and as part of that detox the doctor recommended incorporating chia seeds into the diet. I bought a package of chia seeds, and started to read the nutrition panel, and was totally amazed by their benefits. It was a true superfood – the world’s most nutrient-dense plant source with more antioxidants and omega fatty acids. Every virtue described were benefits that were amazing for the health of the skin, your body’s largest organ.
It was a long journey to finding the best seeds, and the best way to extract the oil from those seeds. It wasn’t overnight, and involved many conversations and visits with industry professionals. We worked with the nation’s foremost scientists to license the patent to create supercritical extraction. A gentle, clean way to extract the oil resulting in a product free of impurities with a two-year shelf life.
Chia, in the Maya culture, is a word that means strength. Chia has been a staple for the Mayas for thousands of years. The culture holds an important significance for me as my father used to volunteer in Central America when I was a child for over a decade – and my stepchildren are of Maya descent.
What is your reaction to the success and cult-status of Maya Chia?
We receive the best responses from consumers – whether they are in their early 20’s or late 50’s, regardless of their skin type -the glowing anecdotal feedback spans the gamut. One of my favorite comments I received recently was: “I almost dropped my Maya Chia and thought Mars was in retrograde, against me again!” That kind of enthusiasm says it all, and fuels us to do what we do.
We are excited because our ingredients create high-performance products that work, that get results… and in many cases, rather quickly. In all of our formulations, we work hard to create a proprietary synergistic combination of the best ingredients that will deliver on the promise of the particular product and what it’s supposed to do.
What is your definition of self-care?
I love this question. For me, it’s really important to be mindful about what I do and the way I do it, and that I’m fully present and engaged for every interaction that I have, with all the enthusiasm I can muster. When I feel that energy waning, I know that I need to go and recharge. This could involve taking a nice, long bath by myself, cloistered away from the kids, cat and partner. Or it could mean 30 minutes on the rowing machine or time out for a book. Oddly enough that book or magazine usually has to do with skincare : ) I guess that means I’m on the right track, and I’m fortunate enough that my work is my hobby/passion.
What are your “can’t live without” products?
I’m a true minimalist at heart. I am a great believer that you don’t need a ton of products to have healthy, vibrant skin – you just need the right ones. I love to pamper myself with our cleansing oil – it’s calming lavender and chamomile are so soothing to the skin. And, of course, I love our face oils – but after dry brushing and a nice long shower, I love to apply our body oil – what a treat that is. It’s like a 24-hour moisture treat for the skin with the most delicious neroli and sweet orange blend.
Once or twice a week, I love to exfoliate with Goldfaden MD’s beautiful (and effective) scrubs – they’re amazing. I totally adore Goop’s mask – it’s so powerful and you can really feel it doing its thing. I also love Vapour’s mascara… and RMS uncover concealer… and Kjaer Weiss cosmetics, they’re so decadent, aesthetically pleasing and lush.
Do you have any advice on transitioning away from the workforce and more towards your passion?
To be a so-called “entrepreneur” you really have to love what you do. Like really have a consuming passion for it, because it’s a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. What keeps you steady through it all is that thread of passion for the subject matter of interest. For most people, I would advise to dip your toe in the water gradually before taking the cold dip in the deep end.
My parting thought is this: don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t, if you have the drive and the interest – and the passion – you really can do whatever you put your mind to. Nothing is out of reach. When I started in this business, I knew absolutely no one. Slowly, but surely, the right, most encouraging, wonderful people came into my life. It will happen.
As a parent, how do you balance your work life and your personal life?
I don’t believe that it’s possible to balance evenly. Someone or something will always be getting more or less attention. I just try to be as present as I can – when I can. And I try to be kind to myself when I fall short, which is inevitable.
What is your life’s pursuit?
My inspiration has changed at different points in my life along the way. I suppose now it’s living a life in which I’m fully engaged – that should probably have been my goal in my 20’s and 30’s – but there you have it. My goal is to be more present and mindful in my interactions – and usually that means being really excited and impassioned about what I’m doing. As well, I would like to give back in the process, and I want to help people when I can in a more profound way.