APeruvian inSingapore! BY CHERIE FOO

Peruvian SUSAN CALDERON URBINA has lived in several countries, and has called Singapore home for several years now. She juggles multiple hats – from teaching at a local university, to researching sustainable consumption, to running a company that makes solid shampoos and handmade soaps. Susan chats to us about her journey here, and her brand, Sacha Botanicals.

How did you get into teaching? After I finished my MBA at NTU, I went back to Peru, where some universities invited me to teach. I really enjoyed teaching and learning from my students. But, I realised that to continue in academia and support my teaching with up-to-date research, I would need to do a PhD. So I went to Spain, where I did my PhD in Consumer Behaviour. What brought you to Singapore? I really like the culture and the variety in Singapore. After finishing my PhD, I looked for opportunities that could bring me here, and University College Dublin offered me a great opportunity to be based full-time in Singapore. Is teaching your day job? That’s right! I’m an Assistant Professor of Marketing at University College Dublin and I’m permanently based on its Singapore campus. I teach Bachelor and Master students in marketing-related topics, and also do research about consumer behaviour and sustainable products. Since a lot of my research revolves around sustainability and sustainable consumption, I’ve always been interested in products that are good for the environment. That aside, there’s a more personal reason as to why I started Sacha Botanicals. Two years ago, I was detected with a hormonal disorder, Hashimoto’s disease. Basically, my immune system produces antibodies that attack my thyroid. It was scary. I was told that stress or even parabens, typically present in commercial personal care products, might have contributed to my condition. By then, I was already using products from a popular brand that had the image of being “natural”. However, while reading and learning about skincare and the power of botanicals, I realised that not all the ingredients listed were that good for our bodies or the planet. Tell us more about sustainability and Sacha Botanicals.



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