Founder Suki Kramer struggled with sensitive skin all her life, making it near-impossible to find an effective exfoliator that wouldn’t leave her skin red and chafed. One day, she strode into her kitchen and started combining ingredients in her blender, determined to find a solution. She ultimately hit on it: a sugar- and plant-based scrub free of synthetics. This became her exfoliate foaming cleanser, and helped her launch her namesake company.
Sourcing the Ingredients
Based in the company’s Northampton, MA, headquarters, the Suki product development team recreates Kramer’s original recipe on a much larger scale today. They start by sourcing whole plants from fair-trade and organic farms around the world, each with specific skin benefits. Indian lemongrass, for example, and blue chamomile flowers, which originally come from Bulgaria, both contain essential oils with anti-inflammatory properties.
Making a Batch
The team sends random samples of key actives to third-party labs in order to verify the ingredients' purity. Once they pass muster, they're embedded back at Suki HQ in lipid shells (vehicles that deliver actives deep into skin) at the highest allowed potencies. Next, a lab formulator uses industrial kitchen equipment to mix the actives together with natural exfoliators, including ground rice and sugar crystals.
Picking the Packaging
From the beginning, the brand’s eco-friendly ethos has extended to its packaging. They use glass containers instead of plastic, and print their labels with biodegradable, vegetable-based ink. They also choose suppliers that support environmental initiatives, such as wind-powered energy.
Assembly Line to Stores
Production begins only after Suki’s internal quality assurance lab performs microbial testing to ensure that the scrub will remain stable over time. Each batch is then poured into an air-powered filling machine that dispenses the same amount of product into each glass jar. Workers on the production team label, cap, and box the jars. Next, the jars move to a warehouse, where they remain for a maximum period of a month (since they’re manufactured on demand). Finally, the jars are shipped to natural food markets, spas, and online retailers—including the Birchbox warehouse in Cranbury, NJ. Each sealed jar has a shelf life of two years as it awaits its rightful owner.