Why We Re-branded. Providing a Tropical Escape to Everyone

Sep 158 min read

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  • The same impressive results you have come to expect from our products
  • Improved packaging durability and sustainability
  • Larger packaging sizes (up to 30% increase in size as compared to our previous products)
  • More affordable pricing
  • New travel-sized offerings so you can take our products in your carry-on
  • Revised formulas that meet the Clean at Sephora standards
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When I first started Tropic Labs in the fall of 2017, I had no idea where this entrepreneurship journey would take me. Freshly graduated from my Cosmetic Chemistry program, I knew I wanted to create my own brand and run my own business, but I naively underestimated what it would take to bring that vision to life. Fast forward nearly 4 years - we’re officially releasing the new and improved version of Tropic Labs for the world to see. But why such a drastic evolution? What changes can you expect from the new brand, and what does the future hold for Tropic Labs? Read on…

"With the new Tropic Labs, you can expect to see a commitment to inclusivity, authenticity, and the courage to always strive for better."

The Beauty Industry Has Evolved - Fast!

When formulating the original Tropic Labs series of sun care products, my initial goal was focused almost exclusively on efficacy. I was tired of products that didn’t do what they said they would do, and based on my experience, I knew some really unique ingredients could deliver exceptional tanning results. At the time, this promise alone was enough to gain us loyal customers who recognized the tremendous benefits our formulas provided.

In early 2018, the clean beauty movement was only really just starting to gain mainstream traction. Retailers like Credo and Whole Foods had just started introducing ‘clean-seals of approval’ based on laundry lists of ingredient “no-no’s.” Still, there was no clear official definition of a natural or clean product (and there still isn’t.)
As a Formulator and Chemist, I knew the conversation around ‘clean’ beauty was not so cut-and-dry. I passionately believed then, as I do now, that the ingredients list of a cosmetic product is only but a small portion of the picture as it relates to product safety, efficacy, and environmental impact. So when formulating the original sun care products - besides the obvious safety expectations (which all formulators subscribe to - by the way), my priority when making ingredient selections for the products was based on efficacy first and foremost. 

Today, the clean-beauty industry has taken the world by storm. Consumers are more educated about the products they purchase and the ingredients that go into them. This can be both a blessing and a curse. While many consumers are now aware of the functions of cosmetic ingredients, many of these are wrongfully demonized based on cherry-picked study data or incorrect assumptions about an ingredient's purpose in a formula.

To this day, I fully stand behind the safety, efficacy, and sustainability of the original Tropic Labs formulas. But thanks to more clearly defined standards, such as the Clean at Sephora label, we were able to take a second look at our existing recipes and find ways to improve them in all of these categories. The new range of products not only delivers the results you have come to expect from Tropic Labs, but we have seriously re-evaluated and upgraded each. Every ingredient, formula design, and packaging component takes into account all of the changes that the beauty industry as a whole has seen over the last 4 years. 

Sustainability At The Forefront

Now more than ever, brands everywhere are starting to step up and take responsibility for their impact on the environment. One of the significant opportunities for us was to prioritize the reduction of our carbon footprint.
In our previous range of sun care products, all our formulas were housed in fully recyclable PP (polypropylene) tubes, the sourcing of which was no easy feat at the time. They were unique because they were what we call a ‘mono-material, meaning that both the cap and tube are all made of the same type of plastic. Unfortunately, for many small brands like ours - sizeable minimum order quantities on behalf of the packaging manufacturers severely limit the number of sustainable packaging options we have within our reach. Additionally, the tubes we were using weren’t without their flaws.

Luckily for us, after months of searching, we finally could source a packaging supplier that could offer us even more sustainable components. This is a really proud accomplishment for us at Tropic Labs, and our new airless bottles are 100% recyclable (pump included), far more durable than our previous tubes. They also use significantly less plastic than traditional airless packaging. This compact airless design also means we can hold more products in smaller unit sizes, leading to smaller shipping boxes and ultimately a lower carbon footprint. We still have a long way to go and many targets we aim to reach to minimize our carbon impact; however, we’re confident that this new packaging approach is a massive step in the right direction.

The new Tropic Labs airless packaging (left) vs. conventional airless packaging of the same size (right)
The new Tropic Labs airless packaging (left) vs. conventional airless packaging of the same size (right)

Self-Awareness & The Courage To Do Better

This part was a little challenging to write, partially because it took a lot of deliberate self-reflection but also because what I’m going to share scares me and makes me feel a little vulnerable. But to truly understand why the brand has evolved the way it has this year, I think it’s important to hear.

In its most primitive stages, Tropic Labs looked like any other tanning brand - with products generally relevant to a primarily white group of women. I initially saw our brand positioned in the running against mega-Instagram brands like the Fox Tan & Bali Body - brands with global reach and massive social influence at the time. Maybe I felt pressured by the images I personally was seeing on social media, but as the brand Founder, I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t see the bigger picture. I worked to solve a problem that I was familiar with without taking into consideration the real reason why we choose to use the brands that we do - which comes down to authenticity and emotional connection. 

Over the years, I’ve learned that a brand isn’t just about the products it sells or the influencers that speak about it on social media. A genuine, meaningful, lasting brand makes a genuine difference in the lives of the people who use it by solving a problem and forges an emotional bond with its consumers in the process. What was Tropic Labs really about? I had to ask myself that question and reflect deeply on the impact and message of my answer. 

So, what did it all boil down to? Escape. 

My initial vision of Tropic Labs was to transport people to the breathtaking beauty of the tropics no matter where in the world you are. I had been chasing the sun for years, from Hawaii to Australia, New Zealand to Singapore... There’s certain magic you can only get when your feet hit the warm sand on the shores of turquoise waters. THAT level of escapism is what Tropic Labs is all about. How do we take that feeling and bottle it?

On that observation, a few apparent shortcomings of the original brand became apparent. For starters, the tanning category as a whole was too narrow since generally, only those with lighter skin tones are seeking to tan. As it stood then, the brand was inherently exclusive to that portion of people - and that had to change. Without burning down what we had already built, we decided that pursuing the bath & body care segment was a step in the right direction to share the escapism of the tropics with a larger audience. Our tanning and sun care range of products will always be a part of the Tropic Labs product offering, and our original products still exist with new formulas. However, our future products will aim to serve a broader category of users.

Second, our pricing. I previously mentioned that my original focus for product formulation was almost exclusively on results. I was so focused and determined to make the most effective sun care product on the market that I may have failed to fully recognize how some of the ingredient selections would impact the final price of our finished products. The end result was products that were priced far out of reach for the average consumer. Once again, that doesn’t align with our overall mission.

So What Can You Expect From The New Tropic Labs?

All of that said, it’s clear the brand had a lot of room for improvement. So after over 18 months of careful product reformulation and ingredient evaluation, I am so proud to announce the release of our new range of products, along with the all-new brand look. 

With the new Tropic Labs, you can expect to see:

  • The same impressive results you have come to expect from our products
  • Improved packaging durability and sustainability
  • Larger packaging sizes (up to 30% increase in size as compared to our previous products)
  • More affordable pricing
  • New travel-sized offerings so you can take our products in your carry-on
  • Revised formulas that meet the Clean at Sephora standards
  • A commitment to inclusivity, authenticity, and the courage to always strive for better.

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