Meet Ashley Gropack, of Tropical Teaze
Congrats on Tropical Teaze! Tell us about it...
Tropical Teaze is a true family business. It was actually created our kitchen by my dad, originally intended for family and friends. My mom named the company and worked with our graphic artist in designing our logos. While growing up my parents would always host the best parties.
My Dad had a passion for presenting a different signature cocktail at each event. These “concoctions” he created with real fresh fruit, served slushy, were always a huge hit. After the first sip each guest reaction was always with a resounding “WOW”. With each new flavor came a new level of excitement and a growing “buzz” to market this product.
This “WOW” factor put us on the guest list of private parties, and of course we were always asked to bring those famous drinks.
That’s when I realized, the tremendous potential for success in marketing Tropical Teaze. Over the past 3+ years we put together a dynamic team of industry experts that shared our passion to market a premium ”Ready To Drink” cocktail with real fresh fruit.
Did you have any previous experience in the alcohol industry? If not, how did you overcome this?
That’s the first question I asked myself. With no idea of how the alcohol industry works, we used the experience gained from building a successful technology business.
As a true entrepreneur, my dad suggested we stick to what was working. “Seek out the best and most experienced people in the industry and let them taste our product.” Needless to say the “WOW” factor continued when we presented to developers, bottlers, and distributors. This process enabled us to find Cesar Baeza, our expert wine master with a palate second to none.
Cesar and I worked diligently in the lab to recreate our home-made blending of real fresh fruit and vodka.
What is your favorite part of bringing the product to fruition? What aspect of the process do you enjoy the most?
My favorite part of moving Tropical Teaze forward is the excitement we are creating in the industry. This is a brand new concept; one that has never been offered in the marketplace. Industry experts with decades of experience are gravitating towards Tropical Teaze and treating us like pioneers. The “WOW” effect continues and it seems like we are putting the real fruit in “fruition”.
The aspect I enjoy the most are the daily challenges we overcome. There is no manual that prepares you. You rely on your confidence, years of business experience, and a stellar dream team to guide you.
Which obstacle did you find the be the most difficult to surpass?
The obstacle most difficult to overcome was bottling a product that has fresh pieces of fruit suspended throughout. The fact that fresh fruit had never been used like this before required out of the box thinking and machine retooling was necessary. Customization became the most expensive and time consuming part of process.
Did you have to make any sacrifices to make TT a reality? How did you feel about it?
Personal sacrifice is a way of life for an entrepreneur and business owner. It is part of what you sign up for. The reward is building a true family business from the ground up and watching it grow together. That makes any and all sacrifices well worth the investment.
Has the project had any impact on your personal life?
For me, developing this unique product, has at times consumed my every waking moment. I find I’m always on…. selling, introducing and describing Tropical Teaze. It is at times, overwhelming. It has been an important priority for me to find a balance.
What is the best advice you've ever received and why?
I have met many very successful old timers in the liquor industry that always offer their advice. The best advice I have received is “Never give up. Follow your heart and make your dream happen.”
As new obstacles jump up to block our team’s path, I reflect back on that advice given and the challenge of overcoming that obstacle becomes less daunting.
Is there anything you'd like to say to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Yes, find your passion and follow your dream!!! There is nothing more rewarding than developing a unique new product and creating a successful business. Where there is a will, there is a way!!! Find that way and create your “WOW”.
Toast Ashley with some Vodka Mariette, Order Here.