How do I begin - when there is no start and no end.... you begin in the middle.
1992 was one of those years!
Tropic Isle Living was born out of the love for tradition and paying homage to our ancestors - African descendants who learned how to survive undue hardship.
Michael Hines and I often spoke about self-reliance, helping others and the need to share the knowledge we acquired about Jamaican Castor Oil - which Michael later coined ‘Jamaican Black Castor Oil’- due to the roasting and pressing process, that gives the oil its dark and nutty scent.
At that time, making the oil was a dyeing art, and who best to turn to was my grand mother, who would make it and give it to my mother to put in our hair and give us “washout” prior to the start of the school year. If you are from Jamaica you can relate.
So on her veranda, with notebook and pen in hand, I sat with my paternal grandmother, who proudly shared with me all the many benefits and usages of this ‘all-purpose healing oil’.
It was such a pleasure to share those tender moments with her and see the delight on her face – knowing that, what she had known for decades, she was now passing it on to her granddaughter.
Returning to the United States, in 1992, with one gallon of oil in a bucket, Tropic Isle Living became a reality! Little did I know what that one gallon of oil would represent to the health and beauty space and that we, newlyweds seeking to make a better life with each other, would become the catalyst for change, by introducing the Jamaican Black Castor oil to the world.
As we pressed on…locally marketing and selling this amazing oil…many doors were closed to us but many more were also opened. As customers began to share the difference that the oil made in strengthening and increasing hair growth, more and more OTC and retail chains began to carry and sell the oil.
I could go cliche and tell you we started in our one bedroom studio then an apartment then a house, and finally to a manufacturing facility where we kept growing….this is all true. However the in between times and the struggles are just as important because nothing goes easy and there is no over night success. No any short cuts!
But as we grew, it was the in-between-times, the struggles that harnessed strands of resilience and perseverance in this competitive hair and beauty space. Nothing came easy! We took no short-cuts - and are now reaping the benefits of our patient hard labor. My mother once told me “If you wan good nuh nose a feh run” translation "you have to put in the work to reap the benefits. That was what Michael and I did for 25 years, growing our family, making and selling the oils and supporting our community.
All was good along the way... until he passed and my life came to a pause.
What do you do with such rich history of Tropic Isle the brand, children to raise, and by now a customer base that believes and supports your quality and rich history of your product.
You evolve into the person you must become fearless, focus and free. Free to create and and move with the tide, embracing the unknown and remaining grateful in the now.
As a founder of any organization, I can tell you that the journey was never easy, but the values learned within the struggles – growth – struggles - are priceless.
I am pleased to continue this journey with you, my Tropic Isle Living family and tribe. There are new and exciting things to come. Together, we will create eco-friendly green hair and skin products – that will continue to make difference in our consumer lives.
If this is the first time reading my story or you have been on this journey with us, know that "A thought became reality, reality became a product, a product became a company, a company became a tribe”.
It is my hope you that will continue to support the Tropic Isle Living brand - and beyond that, the livelihood of all the farmers in Jamaica whose daily sweat, tears and toils, to grow, pick and make this oil - my product, your product and our beauty regiment.
Funny Facts Tropic Isle coined the phrase Jamaican black Castor Oil 1st to bring oil to the USA JBCO is recognized around the world as an ingredient used in major brands