Inspirational Woman: Sue Carroll | Founder, Young LDN

Sue Carroll

Sue Carroll set up a unique beauty and wellness destination called Young LDN, nestled in the heart of Notting Hill in December 2018.

Sue’s ‘lightbulb’ moment was after spending months and months taking her teenage son to various different dermatologists and skincare specialists for his hormonal acne, failing to find a place that was in the middle of somewhere being ‘young’, but also being able to give teens the advice they needed on how to look after their skin. This led to her idea to create one of the fastest growing beauty concepts on the market, with fashion designer and British actress; Sadie Frost being at the forefront of their campaigns. Fast forward a year, and the success of Young LDN has enabled Sue to launch a Pop-up in House of Fraser, Oxford Circus, which brings together the best in class aestheticians, treatments, technology and products which the brand has become renowned for.

Tell us about yourself?

I was born in Cape Town, South Africa where I was educated, married and had children. We left for the UK in 2012 and have since called this home.

I studied after leaving school to be a Speech Therapist and worked for 10 years with patients who had suffered brain trauma both in the State and Private sector.  This was emotionally draining work as losing the ability to speak is perhaps the hardest disability of all.  It was for this reason I decided to do something different and did an MBA at the University of Warwick.  Life throws funny curve balls and as I finished this, I fell pregnant which made applying for work rather difficult and I became a stay at home Mum. I did lots of different things over this period, like suddenly finding I was helping organise an international rugby match between South Africa and New Zealand, followed pretty shortly by South Africa versus the Lions.  I started a jewellery business and really enjoyed travelling and designing jewellery. All of this ended though when I came to live in the UK and needed a new challenge. 

At present I am the founder and CEO of Young LDN, a beauty and aesthetic destination for anyone over 12 years old.  Yes, 12 seems young, but it is about then that skin problems manifest and a place was needed where the younger skin (as well as the older skin) could be treated with the same amount of care.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I think I am one of those people who never really knew what they wanted to do and went through life hoping I would finally know. Young LDN became an obvious career choice when I could not find a place to treat my young son who was developing bad acne. I did not want him to have no choice but to take medication and so Young LDN was born. He was our first client and remains an important part of the business.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

We all face challenges, some small and some large and life changing. I was dyslexic as a child and learning to read and keep up in class was a huge challenge of mine. I think it was personal achievement that I was accepted on my own academic merit to a tough University Course, having received no help over my school life.  That was the reason I became a speech therapist, and why Young LDN I so important to me. We all lose confidence when we are young in so many ways, and it isn’t fair when on top of all these challenges your skin is bad and making you feel pretty awful.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I know this sounds cliché, but bringing up my two children to be bright, healthy and confident adults is huge. Young LDN is also a huge achievement.  I could not have believed when I moved to the UK that I would own a successful business in the heart of Notting Hill. 

What one factor do you believe has been a major factor in your business success?

This is a simple one to answer. It has been the amazing team surrounding me and without whom I would have no business. The team includes my family and every member of staff.  Work is fun and rewarding for all of us and each one has led to the success of Young LDN.

How do you feel about mentoring?

I feel that it is essential that as you get older (and hopefully) wiser, you can pass on the lessons you have learned and mistakes you have made.  So many people do not have the privilege of having role models in their actual lives and being able to have a mentor, official or not official is a tremendous privilege, both for the mentor and the mentee.  I have never officially mentored but have always had people in my life to whom I am a ‘mentor’ figure and whose paths I have been gently able to guide. 

If you could change one thing to change the pace of change for Gender Equality what would it be?

I would try to have as many women as possible in all Governments across the world. Until we see more women in all these positions of authority, women will continue to be politically, economically and socially prejudiced. 

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would that be?

I would tell myself not to be so scared and to be less risk averse.  I have not done things because I was fearful, and I look back and wonder where I would be if I had been brave enough to face the challenge.  I am not recommending being foolish but sometimes take a risk even if you are scared.  It is not worth looking back and wondering what would have happened – just give it a try!

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

My next challenge is to grow Young LDN, both in terms of the physical locations and the e-commerce.  Our e-commerce site developed exponentially over lockdown, and now we need to grow that even further.  I also hope to see the YL logo pretty shortly in other locations across world – watch  this space!

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