Island Potions conjures up brand recognition
Trish Croke, owner of Island Potions, set herself a goal last December. In 2019, she wanted to see her natural hair care products carried in pharmacies island-wide.
“I wanted to give my clients the convenience of purchasing through the pharmacies instead of coming to me,” Ms Croke said. “I want my brand to be recognised alongside other local vendors as well as with the top hair brand names in the industry and one day I aspire to be where they are.”
Getting into local pharmacies was easier than she expected. It turned out she already had a good reputation for producing safe, natural products that treated everything from dry hair to an itchy scalp.
“It was easy in the sense that the people at the pharmacies already knew about my products and had heard the name in the community and from their staff,” she said. “Par-la-Ville pharmacist Kitwona Wolffe was the first one who actually reached out to me for my line. I then reached out to Caesar’s Pharmacy and then to the Phoenix Stores in Hamilton, Warwick, and coming soon Clarendon.”
Within four months she’d achieved her goal.
What’s behind her success is a passion for hair and its complexities.
“There are many women who need to be educated about how to care for their natural hair,” she said. “That is what I am here for. I love to do it.”
As a child, her mother struggled to manage her thick hair, and started perming it at an early age.
The first time her mother had it done, her father was furious, but Ms Croke kept perming her hair, well into her forties.
By 2015, her hair had been subjected to so many perming chemicals it was unhealthy and dry. She decided to have it all cut off and let it grow out naturally.
But when her hair did grow out, she struggled to find natural hair care products that worked for her hair type.
She suspected that a lot of the products available weren’t all that natural; she couldn’t pronounce many of the ingredients.
She worried about the chemicals from non-natural hair products getting into her blood stream and possibly causing cancer.
So she started researching and making her own products. Soon people were admiring her hair. She started offering samples of what she was cooking up at home, to friends and family. Demand grew and, in 2016, Island Potions was born.
Knowing that not everyone’s hair is the same, she does consultations to make sure people get what is right for their hair, based on her knowledge.
“The most important thing to me is that I make every single one of my products by hand,” she said. “I work a full time job and come home and make these, and do administrative work to promote the business. I never rest.”
She is always experimenting and tweaking her product line-up. Recently, she started offering beard oil.
“Men were asking for stuff as well, so I came up with that,” she said. “That’s available at Made to Fade on Palmetto Road.”
She promotes her business largely through social media. “I try to post every day or every other day,” she said.
Popular products include Flaxseed Gel, Tropical Ice Gel and the newly introduced Tidal Wave beard oil, among other things.
Recently, she gave her business a marketing makeover.
“I switched over from a chalkboard theme,” she said. “Now my theme is aqua. We live on an island where the water is really important. I thought Aqua was better suited to Island Potions.”
“I am pleased the fact that the business has grown extensively,” she said. “I am coming out with a another new product in a few months. I can’t say yet what it will be.”
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