We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristen Llerena and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kristen, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I honestly started making soap for myself, I suffer from a condition known as Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) and was always given the run around of “shop the natural stuff at the store” – which I did and it made it worse. So I took it upon myself to learn how to make my own soap, I took a whole year to practice and study my formulations and recipes. I saw my skin change of course with the help of my dermatologist and medical treatment. If my soap worked for me, I figured it might work for you. From that point on the rest is history. Oh! I also needed something to do while my husband was deployed so within that time Tropiks Collection came to life.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Tropiks Collection is honestly a game changer in the bath and body community. We pride our product quality to the max, and carefully handpick rich and luscious ingredients. We aren’t shy to incorporate exotic botanicals, butters, and oils into our recipes. We are a Cuban- American business and love to incorporate our Hispanic culture in our products. We are home to the Cafe con Leche soap bar. Another amazing quality we have is that we’re 100% plastic free, we package our products in either reusable or recyclable material. It hasn’t been easy getting to where we are and where we will be, some laugh and joke saying “it’s just soap” but to us it’s a way of life. Being a Veteran Owned/Operated small business we’ve had the pleasure of meeting customers through our journey of moving state to state. We’ve honestly built friendships that I’ve never thought soap could bring together. I’ve learned that honesty is key, I rather trust than a transaction. I love to educate all that come my way and explain what’s in their favorite Tropiks Collection product and how their skin can benefit from it. Knowledge has been and will always be my best investment.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is so funny, I’ve been telling my best friend Laura to come to Florida! She’s Italian, like straight from Italy and has been here in the states for a few years. I honestly would bring her to my home city Miami, Florida. She’s into always learning new things so first place is Calle Ocho, I’d love for her to see the Cuban monuments, historical places, and of course the FOOD! We’d of course make our way to the beach, like how do you visit Miami without visiting the beach?! South Beach is always a hit, walking down the strip towards Ocean and 7th and stoping down the local restraints and bars. Wynwood would be another place to visit, their art work would for sure leave her stunned as well as all the other restaurants, she’s a foodie and will definitely be enjoying her time. Brickell and by the river is always a classic, Miami’s architecture is breath taking. She’s from a small town in Italy so I know the big buildings would be a shock to her. Finally I’d bring her to Key Biscayne, and show her the Rusty Pelican. The view + the food is always a win. I’d finish the night by stopping right at this certain spot, if you know, you know and it captures Miami’s skyline in the most perfect way.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The person I’d shoutout a million times is my cousin William Lara, owner of Miami Luxe Auto Salon in Doral, Florida. For believing in me and giving me the courage and support I needed to really make Tropiks Collection come to life. Your guidance and support has and will always be greatly appreciated.

I want to shoutout my kids Alek, and Noah for always giving me unconditional motivation and support. You both are the best little helpers a soap maker could ever ask for. I can’t wait for you both to embrace the empire I’m building for us, with Tropiks Collection. I love you both SO much.

Website: www.TropiksCollection.com

Instagram: @TropiksCollection

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/TropiksCollection

Image Credits
Tropiks Collection

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