MS International

Susana Martins: “Don’t let anyone tell you to slow down”

Susana Martins was born to be an entrepreneur. From an early age, her role models were rarely celebrities or athletes. No, the type of woman she looked up to carried a brief case, clicked her heels confidently through airports, and traveled around the world. Young Susana wanted to be – and knew she would one day become – a businesswoman.

Growing up in France the eldest daughter of Portuguese immigrants, Susana developed an ear for languages and a fondness for learning about different cultures. She went on to study international trade in school and became an expert in international sales and merchandising, customs, and import/export regulations, working for a major French women’s fashion line and a global transportation and logistics firm.

But Susana’s entrepreneurial spirit was not satisfied. The people she reported to (mostly men) were always telling her that she was going too fast, doing too much. They told her to slow down.

“I realized very early that I do not like to be managed and I wanted to apply my own rules,” she says. She did not want to slow down.

So instead, Susana went out on her own, first with a premium gift company in 2006, then a marketing agency, and finally, in 2019, with her current business specializing in brand products, MS International.

While her first two companies were successful, Susana felt limited by the competing interests of shareholders and business partners.

“I told myself, OK stop,” she says. “It’s my experience, my customers, and my vision. Why do I need shareholders?”

Setting Herself Apart
Susana has cultivated a loyal customer base, many of whom have followed her since 2006, because of her deep expertise and tenacity to always find the right product at the right price.

MS International sets itself apart by delivering innovative tailor-made brand products and promotional items sourced from Susana’s vast international network, particularly throughout Asia. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Susana leveraged her contacts and wealth of knowledge to import much-needed masks to France, at a time when most companies and government agencies were struggling to find suppliers.

Enter WEConnect International Certification
When WEConnect International launched women-owned business certification in France in 2021, Susana was among the first to get certified. For many years, she has been engaged with other business and entrepreneurship networks in France, including FCEM (Femmes Chef D’Enterprises Mondiales), and she welcomed the opportunity to build relationships, share experiences, and pursue new business.

Since then, she has registered as a supplier with several WEConnect International Member Buyers, secured a contract with a global real estate firm, and got accepted into a business mentorship program with AstraZeneca.

Gaining by Giving Back
As an expert in corporate gifting, Susana also happens to be quite generous with her own time, frequently mentoring others and sharing her knowledge freely via blogs, podcasts, and networking events.

“It’s important to help everybody,” she says. “I’m not waiting for something in return. It’s because I love to communicate and explain. I’m always thinking about the people I meet, how to make connections. For me, it’s very natural.”

Susana’s advice for other aspiring women entrepreneurs is to trust your instincts and just go for it.

“If you have an idea – go, go, go,” she says. “Don’t let anyone tell you to slow down.”


MS International is headquartered in Southern France. Learn more at https://msinternational.eu