How I Got My Job: Andrea Horan, CEO Of Tropical Popical

Andrea Horan is the brain behind nail brand Tropical Popical. We chat to her about the perks of being your own boss and the secret behind her success so far.

Andrea Horan Tropical Popical


Name: Andrea Horan
Age: 34
From: Kingswood, Tallaght
Job Title:  CEO of Tropical Popical
Studied: PR at Rathmines
Website: tropicalpopical.com and tropicalhype.com
Twitter: @AndreaHoran @tropicalpopical @tropicalhype
Facebook: facebook.com/tropicalpopical and facebook.com/tropicalhype

1. Tell us a bit about your job

I run a nail bar that in my mind was the first step to creating an umbrella brand that would let me do all the things that make me happy. So while the fundamental core of what we do at TropPop is nails, it also lets us collaborate with great people.

The success of Tropical Popical allowed me set up Tropical Hype, where we offer brand advice to other people. The challenge now is to see how many words we can put Tropical in front of!

2. What was your path to your current career?

For Trop Pop, it was simply seeing a gap in the market for the type of nail bar I would want to go to. I had the time to ponder on it while I was traveling, and started tapping out plans on my laptop on the beach until I knew exactly what I needed to do. When I got home I just went for it.

With Trop Hype, I’d studied PR in college. I applied to every place I thought I’d like to work (model agencies, PR agencies, record labels, you name it!) and tormented people into meeting me until I was hired as a junior in Edelman. Then, after a brief stint figuring out I was the worst sales person, I joined Thinkhouse and had the time of my life, learning loads and honing my skills. When I left to work full time on Tropical Popical, I had all these skills that needed funneling into something, so Tropical Hype just came about.

I’m a big believer in experience over study.

3. Did you always want to work in this area?

When I was in school, I wanted to be a psychologist. Then, I watched AbFab and realised that was the life for me. I even mentioned this in the interview that got me my first PR job.

4. Did your college or your previous experience help you?

Unless it’s a very specialised skill set, I’m a big believer in experience over study. Position yourself around people you admire and can learn from and that’s the best education you can get.

5. What does a typical day look like in your job?

I’m not a great morning person so things don’t really get going until 11am. I can 100% say that’s the best thing about working for yourself. Michelle [Andrea’s sister and co-worker] picks me up and we have our daily catch up on anything TropPop related on the drive into town. I bounce between TropPop and the office for the day as I need to – keeping tabs and catching up with the TropPopettes, meetings with event partners and clients, shoots – I try to keep it all very fluid as I hate being stuck at a desk all day which has started happening more and more.

6. What challenges have you experienced getting to where you are now?

Only selling one ad over six months when I worked in sales was the most frustrating thing at the time but in retrospect, it was the best thing to happen as it showed me that doing something you don’t enjoy is pointless – for you and the employer. Find what makes you happiest and you’ll get the best results.

7. In your experience, what’s the best way to deal with those challenges?

Don’t feel like you have to stay in a job just because you think you should because it’s ‘a good job’. Do what makes your heart sing and you’ll always find a way to create revenue streams with it rather than count down the 40 hours of the week.

Find out what makes you happy and live your life, don’t just rack up the hours doing something to pay the bills.

8. Tell us about some your career highlights

Everything I do with Tropical Popical because it’s 100% mine. Sometimes when you’re answering to or being paid by other people, you have to go along with things you know aren’t right and I love that with TropPop I just went with my gut. Whilst people questioned whether a nail bar, plastic flamingos and a celebration of all things tacky was the way to go, it’s nice to be proved right and see your vision come full circle and be celebrated and copied.

9. What’s the best bit about your job?

The freedom it allows me. I made a decision that I’d only do things and work with people that made me happy. To be able to control things and have that choice, to me is priceless.

10. And the drawbacks?

Having to do VAT! My accountant hates me.

11. What do you think has been the key to your success?

Sticking to my guns and celebrating who I am. Having the confidence to love the things you love (Dynasty dresses anyone?) may not be the popular or easiest route to doing things but it’s what sets you apart. People want a part of it now, but it wasn’t always the case.

12. What advice would you give to anyone aspiring to follow in your footsteps?

Find out what makes you happy and live your life, don’t just rack up the hours doing something to pay the bills. If you’re not happy doing what you’re doing, find out what’s making you unhappy and change it. No one else is going to. And stay true to you. Don’t change you just to make a fast buck. You may lose out initially but it’ll stand to you in the end.

13. What sort of career progression is there in your job?

Whatever you want to make happen, can happen. That reads like a scarlet inspirational quote but you can either let yourself be led, or you can figure out how to live the life you want to lead.

Read Andrea’s Style CV in STELLAR’s July Issue – out 11th June.

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