Stephanie Tan ’02 – Founder of NOOCI

Stephanie is the founder of NOOCI, a by women, for women company that aims to modernise Traditional Chinese Medicine through specially formulated plant-based supplements.

Name: Stephanie Tan
Graduating Year: 2002
Current country of residence: Hong Kong

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Hong Kong. Growing up, I always had a knack for starting new things. My first “venture” was in Primary 4 during my days at CIS. I started an Origami Club where I would teach my “members” how to fold origami. It all probably started from there!

What inspired you to start NOOCI?

I started NOOCI (noo-chee) last year while I was pregnant with my second child. My nasal allergies were acting up – I was sneezing all night, congested, and had a lack of sleep. I didn’t want to take OTC pills like I did in my first pregnancy, so I decided to research natural alternatives. While researching Traditional Chinese Medicine solutions, I found the process daunting and the information fragmented and hard to understand. That’s when the idea came to me –  there needs to be a better way for other women like myself to access TCM and learn about its benefits, but in a more modern and approachable way.

What are some unique things about NOOCI products? How do they differ from Traditional Chinese Medicine?

At NOOCI, we take an East-meets-West approach to everything we do. We believe that it’s not about TCM versus Western medicine, but it’s how the two can integrate and complement one another. Our team is made up of experts in integrative health as well as TCM practitioners, and together, we developed proprietary formulas that blend TCM herbs and non-TCM ingredients as that they work together to elevate and amplify each other’s effects. In formulating our NOOCI products, we take a modern approach, using clinically-backed ingredients with Chinese evidence-based blends to create our unique formulations.

Through our East-meets-West ethos, our aim is to demystify and democratise TCM. When I was doing my own TCM research online, I found the information to be fragmented and it took a lot of digging around in order to piece everything together. With NOOCI, we are boiling down hard-to-understand concepts with our Scientific Advisory Board to put out the most relevant information so that our community can easily digest and integrate TCM into their daily lives. We aspire for NOOCI to become the go-to platform for all things TCM.

Can you give us some insight into what a typical product development process might look like for one of your products?

We engage with our NOOCI community to understand what their needs and frustrations are. That’s what helps drive our product pipeline. Once we identify the product, we work closely with our Scientific Advisory Board to dive into the research and evidence behind each ingredient. There is a lot that goes into the ingredient selection process – we believe that less is more, and we only work with essential ingredients, and that each achieve the greatest synergistic effects as they work together to elevate each other. 

What is the hardest thing about running a business? How do you deal with the bad days?

As an entrepreneur, it’s hard to not have the business consume your life. Especially today with remote work, and dealing with different time zones, it’s difficult not to have everything merge together. So it’s especially important to try to have some sort of balance in life.

I deal with the bad days by ranting to my husband, having a glass of wine, meditating (not necessarily in that order!)

Any exciting new developments you can tell us about? Perhaps a preview of some new products or collaborations, or just a general outlook for the next 5 years?

Our team is busy formulating our next products to expand to a whole suite of products that will address issues faced by modern women today.

We also want to empower our community of women to fully understand their bodies in order to take charge of their health. In TCM, everyone has a unique body constitution, and among them are nine different body profiles. We just launched our new TCM expert developed quiz that will help women identify their specific TCM body constitutions. With this information, women can make simple diet and lifestyle adjustments to live healthier, more balanced lives.

You are a member of the award-winning female entrepreneurial community Dreamers & Doers. Who are some women you look up to and why?

I look up to my mother. When I was young, I saw her take over our traditional rice business, re-do it from the ground up, and turn it into a successful business today. I frequently go to her for advice and emotional support. She knows first-hand what it’s like to try, fail, and pivot – and to do so while always keeping a smile on her face.

Quick-fire round – answer with the first thing that comes to mind.

Best life advice you’ve been given: Pick your battles  

Favourite social media platform: Instagram

Biggest pet peeve: Waiting for people who show up late

Next city on your list to visit: Santa Barbara  

Most-used emoji: 😂

What is your favourite memory from your time at CIS?

It’s a toss a up between the fried chicken wings and playing dress up for the dances in the cafeteria!