For someone who has made a career out of avoiding parties, I have just experienced the mother of all parties at the Tropic Skincare Glammies.
I’ve been rocked and rolled, shaken and stirred. It may take me a day or two to recover.
Twice a year, Tropic Skincare spoil their staff with an extraordinary grand themed party known as the Glammies. It started, a few years back, as a small award ceremony. All good things start small, it seems, and this year “Tropic Rocks” drew in a crowd of over 2,500 Ambassadors and guests, mainly women, all super excited.
There are 14,000 Ambassadors all over the UK making a business out of selling Tropic products to their customers. Today, they all had a day off – well 2,500 of them – and converged on the NEC Birmingham, as “Glambassadors”. Yes, you heard me right. Glambassadors. Hence the Glammies.
THE WOW FACTOR
Move over Oscar, there’s a new show in town.
Walking through the NEC in search of Hall 9, I could hear “Tropic Rock” long before I arrived. I dig my QR code from the bottom of my bag, dump my coat, and grab a much needed cup of tea. I venture across the sea of glittery tables filled with Glambassadors dressed to impress for the Tropic Rock theme. Table 160 is in sight, right by the stage. Top seat.
THE MAGNIFICENT CARLTON
My first thought is that I’ve walked into a scene from The Hunger Games with Stanley Tucci’s Caesar Flickerman played by the fabulous Carlton Connell. The roving lights, the multi screens, the rock band. There’s something “otherworldly” about it. But I’m in the middle of Birmingham with a skincare brand. What could be more down to earth? And thankfully, no human sacrifice was involved. Just the super glammy Carlton strutting his magnificent stuff.
ROCK AND ROLL
They certainly know how to party, these Tropic ladies. I spotted a Freddy Mercury accessorised with “I want to break free” vacuum cleaner, a couple of Elvis Presleys nodding impressive quiffs, a Tina Turner rocking head to hip leopard print and a confused looking Ozzy Osbourne. As far as the eye could see – it’s leather and lace, jumpsuits and biker jackets, dreadlocks and wedges. Good job ladies.
My Tropic Manager friend, who first introduced me, invited me along to the Glammies to give me a flavour of the “Tropic community”. How would I describe that flavour? Hot, hot, hot, a little spicy and super sweet, all rolled into one. After my VIP visit to the new HQ earlier this month, which completely took my breath away, Tropic Rocks was the icing on the cake.
BIG THINGS OFTEN HAVE LITTLE BEGINNINGS
Susie Ma, the much loved founder of Tropic Skincare, spoke with passion and inspiration. No-one will ever really know, except Susie, the depth of resilience she has needed to draw on to bring her Tropic dream into 2019. Jam jars filled with body scrub sold on Greenwich market – that’s how it started. Susie and a few close friends “cooking up” early products over the kitchen stove and dashing to the post office in a dodgy motor – the exhaust strapped on with gaffa tape.
Small beginnings with an extra large side order of vision, hope, passion and determination.
STRONG AND UNSTOPPABLE
The setbacks have been many. They have been cruel and disheartening. But they have also been vital lessons. They have been character building and ultimately brand building. When you peel back the packaging of the 2019 Tropic Skincare brand, yes you’ll see gorgeous products made with love from the most natural tropical ingredients, but you’ll see something else. You’ll see 15 years of grit and determination, tears and disappointments, upsets and knockbacks. And behind all that, you’ll see one strong unstoppable woman and her team refusing to let go of a dream.
LOOK AT THEM GO
A few weeks ago, the Tropic team of 120 staff moved into a brand new purpose built £4m HQ and Beauty Kitchen. At the last count, Tropic turned over £40 million. A fact that Lord Sugar will be very keen to share with you, should you meet him in the street. Which is unlikely, to be fair.
2,000 brand new ambassadors have joined this community since Christmas. “Ambassadors” have become “Managers”, Managers have become “Senior Managers”. The “Executive Manager Club” is an exclusive bunch and a handful ascended further to “Platinum Executive”. Anything is possible with Tropic it seems. All these hard working and deserving women were recognised on the stage at the Glammies, presented with flowers, and got to strut their stuff on the catwalk to the beat of “We will rock you”.
WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?
Quite a few from where I was sitting. As the every increasing sales number passed across the multi screens, my jaw was dropping closer and closer to the floor. Top sales, cumulative since Tropic began finished at £39 million – that was just one “Diamond Executive”. Good for her. That’s a whole lot of Body Scrub.
A SPOONFUL OF SUGAR
Lord Sugar couldn’t make it to the Glammies to watch his flourishing brand rock the NEC, but he sent a delightful video message to congratulate all the achievers and make us all laugh. He also sent 2 Chinese Lucky Cats – the ones with the nodding arm – or should I say Lucky Lord Sugars. Congratulations to the 2 ladies who won these in the raffle. They will really add something special to your home decor.
DEBBIE “DIAMOND” ROBERTS
She’s clearly a gem, much loved by her team as well as the whole Tropic family. It was inspiring to hear the story of an ordinary lady dealing with the stuff of life, and then finding a sense of purpose, a loving community, and lots of happiness. She spoke of taking risks and being rewarded with confidence, accepting failure and keeping calm, treating others as equals and sticking to your own journey.
I’ve heard it over and over again. Women like Debbie, lovely Debbie, are the heart of Tropic. The products are gorgeous, of course, but it’s the “tropic people” that turn cleanser into community and hand cream into heart.
MAKE UP MAGIC
You will hear a lot about Tropic’s brand new Colour Palette over the coming weeks and months. It’s been 3 years in the making and will make you want to ruthlessly declutter your makeup bag to make room for Tropic innovative new goodies
There’s 3 new words you need to know – customisable, refillable and compact.
And there’s 7 old words that you already know – cruelty-free, vegan, green beauty, chemical-free, natural, organic and zero-waste. I say old. Tropic has blazed a trail in this department since Day 1, other brands are still running to catch up, and some are not running at all.
So stick with the good stuff, and tell everyone.
- 5 trains, would have been 6 but for the one that broke down
- 4 coffees – the first one better than all the others
- 1 danish pastry – passable
- 1 glass of white wine – thank you Bridget
- 1 tub of M&S flapjacks – thank you Sandra
- 1 healthy lunch, with optional chocolate brownies
- 2,500 glambassadors, living their best life
- 91 Barcelona Babes, on their way to the hottest Mediterranean city for an all expenses paid reward-trip.
- 1 leading lady who melted out hearts – Susie Ma, in the most stunning emerald sequin catsuit.
- 1 fabulous host dressed like a prince – “Best In Show” Carlos, who else?
- 3 hours home – still smiling, but ready of bed
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