H&G presents: Show and Tell, a brand new one-day creative conference & fair at Smock Alley Theatre. This year S&T features a host of experienced and innovative speakers to share their first hand experience of operating a creative business in Dublin and a design fair showcasing some of the best contemporary designers, artists and businesses from around the country. Tropical Popical is one of our esteemed speakers and Sebastian Stephenson had a little sit down with the founder Andrea Horan to ask them about how they got started.
Sebastian: You are one of the speakers for Show and Tell. Why did you decide to join the conference?
Tropical Popical: Because I was asked (both laugh). I like the idea of the conference because when you think of creative Ireland, it may be considered a twee creative thing and I definitely think that there is a cutting edge creatively coming though that could rival all the cities and I think before we never got credit and I think conferences like this give us the scope to shout about that. Small business are what make up a patchwork of a city and I think that whats makes a city unique and celebrating small business and small creators is the best thing to do. I have worked with Bluechips for years and its so soul destroying to see all the conglomerates taking over everything. Whereas it so heartwarming to see people succeeding in small business and not wanting to become bigger and bigger, just doing it because its the right thing to do.
S: On your website it says you were inspired by traveling. Tell me more about it.
Trop: So basically my sister and myself went traveling for a year. We went to Asia, Australia blah blah blah, then we went to America. We traveled from east to west and while we doing that, we eating out all the time and you know when you just get sick of eating out all the time and you just want to sit down? So we started to get our nails done all the time. We were getting our nails done and it became a habit. I saw that in Ireland 3 years ago, it would cost you a fortune to get your nails done. It was like €55 for a manicure and I would not spend that every 3 days, whereas in the states it was $10-15. So it was affordable and something you could do all the time. We wanted to do it over here and make it so that it wasn’t just a treat but a habit. Then when we decided that we wanted to do cheap mani’s we wanted to make an experience that…
S: Wasn’t bargain basement
Trop: It wasn’t bargain basement. We always said affordable rather than cheap but we wanted to make a rememberable experience. I know that when I go to beautician or nail places, which are wonderful and I love going to them, but it all like whale music and white walls and like clam and so on, a nail bar is where you should be having the crack and should be having the chats with the staff and go with your friends and hang out. I remember when we started we got a bad Yelp review saying the owner was laughing and cackling and so on and duh that’s what our buzz is and we don’t make any apologies for it.
S: what would you have done differently from when you started to now?
Trop: I don’t know… Maybe get a HR person. (both laugh)
Trop: When I started I was still working in ThinkHouse and I think that was the best thing I ever did because I was still making money and didn’t leave till I was able to sustain myself. I was lucky to have Michele who came to work here full time and I was still able to work my PR job. Would I change anything? I don’t think so. I’m happy with all the decisions we have made so far. Yea I don’t think so. That’s good.