It’s a well-known phrase. Get to know someone and if you like them, you’ll probably trust them too.
Most of you know a bit more about me than I know about you. You’re here for a start! 125 members have joined my Tropic Facebook Group ‘Christine Colbert’s Club Tropic’ since I started it only 3 weeks ago – Hurrah! I don’t accept every member request either, I’m keeping this group to those who I think genuinely want to learn about Tropic’s range of vegan skincare and makeup, and some of you may also help each other through sharing your own experience of the products in the group.
You have all probably seen at least one of my lives for Dress, so you’ll have a good idea of the sort of person I am, which hopefully is just an ordinary person giving an honest opinion on the items I sell. And that will be true of Tropic too. I will only share my genuine thoughts about it through personal experience. I am not paid to talk to about it, I am not paid to recruit anyone in my team, I will simply earn 25% commission on the products you buy direct from Tropic. Plus, I’ve not used all the products yet either, so I’m on the same journey as you.
What I do know is I am totally hooked on it. And I am looking at my skin each morning and genuinely thinking… wow! Look at that! It’s also given me some me time, I enjoy pampering myself, which is especially important at the moment. If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s self care and those around you who matter most.
If you’ve got this far, some of you might want to know a bit more about me, if so, read on, if not, step away from the blog…
It’s French, so the T at the end is silent. My actual surname is pronounced Colbear, not ColberT. Only when I cross the channel to France do people actually call me by my real name. So, in truth, here in the UK, I am a little bit like Hyacinth Bucket (AKA Hyacinth ‘Bouquet’ as she liked to refer to herself, or the ‘bucket woman’ as others referred to her on the hit TV sitcom series Keeping up Appearances back in the 1990s).
On a side note you DO pronounce the T at the end of the name of the champagne Moët, because it has a little accent over the E before the T. Because my name has no accent on the e before the t, the t is silent. So, next time you order a glass of Moët make sure you pronounce that t.. ‘Mo-wëT’.
OK, so now you know my name…
In a nutshell, I’m 54, married to Gary and have one son, Harry, aged 19.
Also in our household are our 3 miniature poodles, 2 Burmese cats and 6 fish. There’s never a dull moment and you’re never alone in our house.
I actually own 2 businesses. I am a marketer by ‘trade’ having worked my way up from the age of 16 to now owning my own marketing and advertising agency. I took the job as a runner on a YTS scheme after leaving school in 1982 with er, hardly any qualifications (YTS was a Youth Training Scheme, better known now as an Apprenticeship, except back then there was no college support and you got paid £24 a week for 6 months that your employer claimed back off the Government, so basically you were a free employee).
I paid attention, loved the world of advertising and marketing and found my niche, mainly because I talked so much! I spent most days chatting to everyone in every department from the designers and writers in the creative department to the Head Honchos in the top office upstairs, so I quickly gained insight into what their jobs were, and I quickly carved out a career path for myself.
Point to note, I waltzed into The Job Centre age 16 and announced I was looking for a job as a vet or a zookeeper. As there were no such vacancies that day to fulfil my dream, an Ad Agency it was. True story. I do actually talk to animals to this day. And all of my pets have listened to me prep for a creative pitch presentation. They are always in awe.
My marketing agency is called House, and I have made it feel like home for me, my family and my fabulous team, without whom I would be nothing at all. Some of the people I have known for over 25 years and are seasoned pros and experts in what they do from concepts, design and writing to managing fabulous marketing campaigns. I am honoured to employ each and every one of them, they are affectionately known as ‘The Housemates’. We are all really good at what we do too. Also a true story.
Of course, you all know I also own Dress, The Dress Agency of Cheshire. I didn’t really think too hard about opening a shop and have never worked in a shop, I just had a light bulb moment in 2018 on a beach and announced to Gary I quite fancied working in a shop selling preowned designer fashion. “Do that then” he replied. So, I did.
It took just 14 weeks from that lightbulb moment to opening my now famous pink door. (I’m a doer, if you hadn’t noticed. Once I’ve decided to do something, I just crack on until it’s done). It was a leap of faith, the shop was empty, run down, dark, cold, ugly inside, stained carpets and full of old office furniture with a garden so overgrown I was concerned I could actually find dinosaurs in there. I set to work with the interior design and brought the vision that is now Dress to life.
Kicking off a grand opening in November 2018 with a lot of my own clothes (including a few of my own Mulberry handbags), my goal was to get 50 customers selling with me…we are fast approaching 900 registered sellers and gawd knows how many customers buying. Dress has shipped preloved items all over the UK having hot footed it into ecommerce during lockdown. Result!
Having a random thought about being a shopkeeper isn’t the only random thought I’ve had in my life so far, after the birth of my son (20 years ago this October) I started making my own baby food in little ice cube trays (as you do).
Just as Susie Ma (founder of Tropic) started making and selling her own skincare range at home and selling it on market stalls, I too took my little cubes of frozen baby food and sold them at foodie craft markets. Like Susie I scaled up, and by 2004 when Harry was just 3, my natural, free-from range of infant food products (named All GOOD Stuff) was on sale in Sainsburys, Ocado, ASDA and various independent stores. With awards under my belt too from The Vegetarian Society and Great Taste I was destined for success!
Wrong. I catastrophically failed. Why? Because 20 years ago nobody cared about gluten free, dairy free or natural clean ingredient foods. It was pizzas, pies, ready meals, turkey twizzlers and frozen chips. There was no free-from aisle for my products to sit in and I was listed in the depths of aisle 35 next to ice-cream and frozen peas. Although my marketing was very good (obviously!) my pockets were not deep enough to educate a national audience. Dragon’s Den did not exist, and Alan Sugar was not around. I finally retreated in 2005/06 delisted by supermarkets and left broke as my products ended up in clearance as no one knew where to buy them.
On the plus side I did see fame and made it as the cover girl of Allergy Matters Magazine! (next to a photo of a large dust-mite).
Well, I actually joined in 2019, it’s just taken 15 months to tell anyone about it (I’ve been busy surviving the pandemic and selling clothes, as well as helping 11 staff in my other business keep their jobs).
But now is the time to talk about Tropic. I have seen such an improvement in my skin and I have found the most positive community of like-minded ladies who are also Tropic Ambassadors. Tropic says “Welcome to the Family” aint that the truth!
Tropic fits perfectly with the ethos and values of Dress. It’s rooted in doing good for our planet through sustainable credentials, recycling, reusing and producing less waste. It fits with what I was trying to do with All GOOD Stuff, to encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle by feeding their children natural food using the best, pure ingredients that haven’t been subject to high heat processing, or had additives or preservatives applied to them, and moreover to get children eating fresh, natural tasting foods in their first year of life to educate their taste buds. And of course the values of Tropic’s business sit well with the values of my business House. A true family affair with a community spirit holding huge respect for all its employees and grateful for the support from its suppliers and purchases from its customers.
But moreover, Tropic has actually worked for me, I have seen a vast improvement in my own skin, and I am acutely aware that what I put on my skin (my biggest organ) goes straight into my liver too, so why would I want to put chemical based deodorant under my arms, or dirty ingredient cleansers on my face? Discovering Tropic was a revelation.
I feel so strongly about the values of Tropic I am really proud to be part of it and share that with others too. Given my history of launching products that have cost me dearly, it’s a business in a box with zero financial risk to me and everything to gain. And why not? I can add to my financial future by using and talking about something I honestly believe in (and receive an income for it too!). The support and service they provide their Ambassadors is something else.
So, I guess that’s me.