You may have landed on this page because you’re considering being a Tropic Ambassador, you want to know more about Tropic, or you might simply want to further understand our business model. If so, you’ve come to the right place!
Tropic strives to lead the way when it comes to ethical empowerment, and part of that is transparency and sharing information. We care deeply about the people in our business and making a positive impact by being a force for good for both our Ambassadors and customers, something we hope is made apparent and clear by the answers below.
We’re incredibly proud of how our business model works, and we understand you might have a few questions. So, we’ve answered them below for you.
WHAT MAKES TROPIC PRODUCTS UNIQUE?
Tropic is all about naturally-derived, clinically-proven, effective products, made fresh daily at our HQ in Surrey. Our products are used by celebrities and beauty journalists alike, winning over 275 awards and receiving praise from leading newspapers and magazines. Each one of our products is packed full of the freshest, most nutritious natural ingredients to nourish skin, complete with a formulation that we research thoroughly to ensure it’s providing the best results for our customers. It’s ethical beauty, without compromising on efficacy.
We pride ourselves on sustainably sourcing these powerful, natural ingredients from tropical destinations around the world such as Australia, Madagascar and Brazil. We believe the abundance of sunshine and moisture in these tropical regions creates the most nutritionally-dense ingredients for our skin.
HOW ELSE IS TROPIC UNIQUE?
Tropic has an Infinite Purpose to help create a healthier, greener, more empowered world. It drives everything we do, from our business decisions to the products we make!
To support our healthier pillar, each formulation is created in our own Innovation Lab, harnessing the best in green skincare science. We make nearly all of our products at Tropic HQ, so you can enjoy the active ingredients while they are most potent and because they’re so fresh, each product has a best before date. All of our products are also independently verified and listed on the Think Dirty app. The goal of Think Dirty is to provide customers with greater transparency about the ingredients within the beauty, household and personal care products they use, empowering them to make more informed, healthier purchases.
When it comes to being greener, our HQ is completely landfill free and runs on 100% renewable energy. Our entire carbon emissions are offset by double by funding conservation work in the Amazonian rainforest and helping to protect 65,000 hectares of forest from unsustainable palm oil conversion in Indonesia as part of our CarbonNeutralⓇ certification. We are also the first brand in Europe to be Protect Land + Sea certified, meaning all our SPF suncare products are independently certified as reef safe.
Helping to empower people is so important to us. In 2019, we launched our partnership with a charity called United World Schools. Every order placed with us, no matter how small, goes towards funding education for children who otherwise wouldn’t receive one. We have funded the running costs of over 100 schools in Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal for over 14,000 children and even opened up a brand new school in early 2020. All Ambassador orders are also part of this amazing partnership.
WHAT IS A TROPIC AMBASSADOR?
A Tropic Ambassador is a registered representative who sells our freshly made beauty products directly to customers, assisted by a wide range of marketing materials and information provided by Tropic. They are paid commission by Tropic based on the amount of sales they do in a month, ranging from 25% to 35%. Together, alongside our Ambassadors, we have sold to over 1.25 million unique customers in the past five years.
Why did Tropic choose their Ambassadors as a route to market?
Our Founder, Susie Ma, started Tropic in 2004, selling a homemade body scrub at markets in London when she was fifteen. She would often sell her homemade products at events and ask friends to join her, with them selling products for commission. When Lord Sugar invested in 2011, he too wanted to encourage entrepreneurship and make this opportunity more accessible to people in the UK, and so we launched our Ambassador Opportunity to 400 customers in 2013. We believe that when created in a sustainable and ethical way, direct selling can be an incredibly empowering business model, offering many a chance to create a flexible income and business for themselves.
Why are Tropic products not sold in shops?
The main reason is that we don’t want to compete with our Ambassadors, whose businesses and overall happiness are our main priority. If we had retail stores, we would potentially attract an Ambassador’s customer to shop with us in store due to convenience if they were walking by, therefore making the Ambassador’s businesses less sustainable. All customers can shop with an Ambassador via our website when they place an order.
Secondly, wholesale prices in department stores would have meant a large chunk of our profit margin going to the stores directly, but with our business model we can instead pay this margin to our Ambassadors and charity partners. In 2020, we paid £46.5 million in Ambassador commission, supporting small business owners across the UK, the majority of whom are women. We were also able to donate just over £1 million to charities and good causes last year.
We also believe that just like the food we eat, our skincare should be as fresh as possible. Freshly-made, plant-based skincare provides high quality, antioxidant-rich ingredients with great results. We are one of the few companies that freshly make all of our skincare products in-house, and it’s something we’re very proud of. This level of freshness would have been a lot more difficult to achieve in a traditional retail environment.
WHY DO TROPIC AMBASSADORS JOIN?
In a recent survey, when Ambassadors were asked the reasons for why they joined (they could select multiple options for this question), 93% of our Ambassadors said they joined Tropic because of their love for our products, 44% said it was for buying our products at a discount, 55% joined because they wanted to earn money and 77% said it was because they loved our ethos and Infinite Purpose – which is to help create a healthier, greener, more empowered world*.
How do Tropic Ambassadors sell?
The way we train our Ambassadors to sell is through Pampers, which allows them to grow their customer base and create a sustainable business.
A Pamper is usually where a group of people get together and the Ambassador does a skincare demonstration on a Hostess, although this has changed slightly at the moment as they’re doing virtual Pampers. The Hostess receives 15% of the total Pamper sales to spend on products of their choice. The majority of this gift allowance is paid for by Tropic and we don’t make any money from it, it’s there to thank the Hostess for supporting the individual Ambassador’s business and help the Ambassador build their repeat customer base. We encourage and train Ambassadors to gain future bookings and find a new Hostess at each Pamper, so that with each experience they meet a new group of customers. This generates sustainable customer bases for Ambassadors, rather than them just selling to friends and family.
Tropic then offers direct delivery for all of the customer orders for the Ambassador, with free delivery included for any orders over £40.
Do Tropic Ambassadors need to buy samples or products to try for themselves in order to sell?
We don’t offer sample products as it’s not in line with our eco credentials and would lead to a lot of packaging waste, but we do offer a 30-Day Happiness Guarantee for customers instead. This applies to all products, even if they’ve been opened and used, and a customer can send them back to us for a full refund or exchange within 30 days of the purchase date.
Our Ambassador Starter Kit contains all of our best-selling skincare products, which make up over half of our entire product sales as a brand, so it really is the best starting point for sharing the products with customers.
All Ambassadors can buy all products at a discount, and they can also receive new product launches for free (or heavily discounted) at different points throughout the year depending on their sales. We also provide lots of training materials for all products in the range to assist with selling.
WHO CAN JOIN AS A TROPIC AMBASSADOR?
Anyone who is a resident of the United Kingdom or Channel Islands and is at least 18 years of age can be a Tropic Ambassador. The reason we’ve restricted our Ambassador opportunity to the UK is to ensure we can promote and implement our ethical culture, while offering as much support as we can to our Ambassadors.
We also review the Ambassador Opportunity with influencers or those with a social media following of 5000 followers or more in order to keep a level playing field amongst our Ambassadors.
WHAT DO I NEED TO INVEST TO BE A TROPIC AMBASSADOR?
In order to join as an Ambassador, there is a one-off cost of £198, which includes a Starter Kit of over £500 worth of products. Our Starter Kit is packed full of all of our freshly made skincare range, which includes multiple bestsellers and award-winners, and is designed to offer a strong foundation for our new Ambassadors. In a recent survey, 99% of new joiners said the kit was correctly priced (37%) or very good value (62%), with just 30 responses out of 4551 saying it was not good value*. There are then no ongoing monthly fees or reactivation fees to remain as an Ambassador.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR TROPIC AMBASSADORS TO ACHIEVE A RETURN ON THEIR INITIAL INVESTMENT?
Based on all Ambassadors who registered in 2020, Ambassadors on average achieve a return on their initial investment within: One Month 39%. Two Months 65%. Three Months 81%. Four Months 89%. Five Months 94%. Six Months 97%. This includes Ambassadors who said they joined Tropic for buying our products at a discount.
WHAT’S THE MINIMUM ORDER QUANTITY OR SALES TOTAL REQUIRED TO BE A TROPIC AMBASSADOR?
There is no minimum order quantity or minimum sales to be a Tropic Ambassador, and there are no monthly targets. All that’s required is to place one order of any sum over £1 within a 6-month period, to continue receiving 25% - 35% commission on every sale.
DO AMBASSADORS HOLD INVENTORY OF PRODUCTS?
We actively prohibit the holding of stock, and this is to ensure there is no risk of Ambassadors being out of pocket – something we value highly as an ethical business. That’s why we offer free direct delivery of orders over £30 to our Ambassadors’ customers. In a recent survey 98% of Ambassadors understood that orders should be placed to fulfil genuine customer orders and not to hold stock. On the rare occasions that an Ambassador has bought excess stock in error, we have offered a full refund.
WHAT DO YOU RECEIVE WHEN YOU JOIN AS A TROPIC AMBASSADOR?
As well as receiving £500 worth of Tropic products for £198 in our Starter Kit and a personal online webshop, all training, online digital assets and software platforms we develop are completely free for all Ambassadors to use and benefit from. We re-invest in these developments in order to provide the best tools and support for our Ambassadors.
We have a state-of-the-art Lounge, which is an Ambassador portal with all their online training tools, videos and information on all of the products. When asked “Are you happy with the amount of information and training materials available on The Lounge?” 99% said they were happy (28%) or very happy (71%)*.
In 2020, we launched an innovative CRM business processes app for all Ambassadors to use free of charge. In addition to all the support from HQ, where we have a team of over 30 support staff to help Ambassador queries, Ambassador team Leaders are on hand to help further grow and guide the Ambassadors in their team too.
We also work with our PR partners to ensure that all Ambassadors can benefit from press coverage equally, and we continuously offer support to our Ambassadors.
HOW MUCH TIME DO AMBASSADORS SPEND ON THEIR BUSINESS?
Our Ambassadors can spend as little or as much time as they like, and this flexibility is something we encourage. Over 70% of our Ambassadors at Ambassador level spend less than 10 hours a week on their Tropic business*, showing that for many it’s simply a hobby, a chance to spend time with friends or a fun side hustle.
HOW MUCH DO TROPIC AMBASSADORS EARN?
The average monthly commission for an Ambassador who joined in 2020 at Ambassador level is £122. The average monthly commission for the 10% of Ambassadors in 2020 who are at Leader level is £1,049, but it requires a lot more commitment and at least a whole year to reach this level on average.
Our product philosophy for Ambassadors is “love it, share it, earn from it”, encouraging Ambassadors to use their love of the products first to organically generate sales and share the products with others.
DO LEADERS TAKE MONEY AWAY FROM AMBASSADORS IN THEIR TEAM?
No. Leaders do not take money away from Ambassadors and do not get a “cut” of Ambassador sales. All commission an Ambassador makes is their commission to keep. Any rewards and bonuses for Leaders whose teams are selling well come from Tropic. For Leaders to receive any extra bonuses or maintain their title, they must also sell themselves and lead by example. This means there’s never a scenario where Leaders are being paid commission on their team without also making sales themselves. On average, our Leaders do £1,049 personal sales monthly (2020) which is more than double the minimum personal sales needed to receive these bonuses. This is because the longer you are with Tropic, the more your customer base grows and due to the quality of our products, it’s more likely that customers will keep coming back.
Every Ambassador is guaranteed at least 25% commission on everything they sell. Tropic pays all commissions at every level in the business based on individual and team sales (if applicable).
HOW SUCCESSFUL ARE TROPIC AMBASSADORS?
We like to measure our success in terms of Ambassador happiness rather than business growth or financial gain because that’s the top priority for us. 95% of Ambassadors who joined in 2020 reported they were happy (54%) or extremely happy (41%) being a Tropic Ambassador* and 97% of Ambassadors would recommend being an Ambassador to friends, family or colleagues*. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, over 65% of Ambassadors who joined in 2020 said it was easy or very easy to sell Tropic products*.
IS TROPIC SKINCARE A PYRAMID SCHEME?
No it’s not. Pyramid schemes are an illegal and unsustainable business model that rewards people for enrolling others into a business that offers a non-existent or worthless product.
Tropic products are praised by celebrities, industry insiders and press alike, and we place a strong emphasis on sourcing the very best ingredients and researching and developing our formulations so our products really are the most effective for our customers, with independent, clinically tested results to boot. This efficacy in turn inspires people to become Ambassadors because they love the products. And in 2020 alone, we sold to over 800,000 unique customers, proving that we have people waiting to receive and enjoy our products!
WHY AREN’T TROPIC PART OF THE DIRECT SELLING ASSOCIATION?
The Direct Selling Association is a body that collects together and oversees various direct selling businesses, which requires a percentage cut of annual profits in order for a brand to be a member. From the very beginning of our brand, we have chosen not to be part of the association. That’s because we felt this money could be better spent on investing back into our Ambassadors and charity partnerships. We still meet high standards to ensure our business model is ethical and sustainable, and we work closely with expert industry advisors to ensure we’re always adapting to the changes in the industry.
DO TROPIC AMBASSADORS EARN A RECRUITING COMMISSION?
No, Ambassadors do not earn a recruiting commission when people join their team.
The average personal sales of a Leader is more than double the minimum needed to retain their title, showing that an emphasis is placed on product sales at every level.
That’s because we offer higher commission percentages based on what Ambassadors sell.
Only around 10% of Ambassadors decide to build a team, and the ones who do are called our Leaders. Leaders help to further train Ambassadors and are rewarded with title promotion bonuses and earn commission when they and their team sell products. We offer our Leaders ongoing support with fortnightly live sessions and new leader training so that they feel connected to HQ and can best support the Ambassadors in their team.
HOW DO TROPIC ENSURE THEIR AMBASSADORS BEHAVE ETHICALLY?
We have over 30 Customer Support advisors to ensure all our Ambassadors feel supported with any questions they may have about conducting their Tropic business. We have our terms and conditions, which all Ambassadors must agree to, to ensure their businesses are reflective of our ethics.
We do not condone pushy sales techniques and investigate any rare allegations thoroughly from HQ. We also have a list of best business practices, which is communicated regularly throughout our Ambassador network through fortnightly video updates, bi-annual events and videos that make up part of someone’s onboarding training and introduction as a Tropic Ambassador.
We promote kindness and understanding from the top down, and this is something that’s shared in our communications with Ambassadors and Leaders.
WHO OWNS TROPIC?
Our Founder, Susie, started Tropic with one product, a homemade body scrub which is still part of our range to date. She sold it at a market stall at Greenwich Market on weekends when she was just fifteen years old to help contribute towards the household bills.
Lord Sugar gave Susie a £200,000 investment for a 50% stake in the business, which helped the brand to scale up production and grow awareness in the UK after she appeared on the 2011 series of BBC’s The Apprentice. Susie was the only participant to receive funding from Lord Alan Sugar without winning.
Tropic Skincare is now co-owned by Susie Ma and Lord Sugar.
“I invested in Tropic because of its ethical values and fantastic products. Today, it stands as one of my greatest investments from The Apprentice, and none of this would have been possible without growing a business that has sustainability and ethics at its heart. I’ve always been a big advocate for encouraging entrepreneurship and providing people with an opportunity to run their own business, which is exactly what Tropic does for people all over the UK. I’m incredibly proud to be Susie’s business partner and a joint owner of Tropic.” - Lord Sugar.
We hope this page helps to answer any questions you may have about Tropic and becoming a Tropic Ambassador, and of course if you have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch with us!
*External survey independently conducted in November 2020 with 4551 Ambassador joiners’ responses.