5 Minutes With: Tropical Popical

This colourful, tropical haven on Dublins South William Street offers every thing from intricate nail art to a gossip and a Lilt. We caught up with co-founder Andrea Horan to hear all about running the most kitsch nail bar in town.

1. How did Tropical Popical come about?

I worked in Think House for about 9 years, and then myself and my sister took a year out to go travelling. We were in the States for 3 months and started getting our nails done all the time, and over there they’re really quick and efficient. There’s no rose petals being thrown at your feet or using pebbles to massage your hands – they’re just like ‘we’re going to give you a really good manicure and pedicure’. I loved that and we started thinking about where you would get that done at home. There’s loads of amazing nail bars here but they’re really luxurious, and we just wanted somewhere that was fast, efficient and fun.

2. What makes Tropical Popical different from any other nail salon?

For us it’s the experience – the fast and furiousness. You’re also in a really fun space. Then all our girls are hired for their personality as much as their skills – we really push the fun aspect of the salon. I suppose we’re not a proper and polite place to go to get your nails done, we all sit around and gossip when the girls are doing the nails and just have the craic with the people that come in!

3. Where did your love of all things tropical come from?

I love holidays and being in the sun – I always aim for palm tree laden beaches with coconuts and cocktails. So that merged with the kitsch, tacky side of tropical like neon colours and flamingos is just a great match for me!

4. What makes a good nail technician? 

You definitely need to make people feel comfortable – you’re essentially holding hands with someone for an hour, so you need to make them feel at ease and enjoy themselves. Then people always come to us for nail art, so the girls need to be able to be so precise because some of it can be very intricate – attention to detail is key.

5. Where is your favourite tropical place you’ve ever been? 

Tulum in Mexico – it’s so delicious. We were there a few years ago, it was just off the grid, the beach was the most perfect beach in the world – white dusty sand and the water was just so clear, it was just amazing.

6. What’s been a stand-out nail art request you’ve had recently?

We get such a wide range of requests – we had a barrister come in wanting the Scales of Justice. Another girl came in wanting Monty the Penguin from the John Lewis ad. We do this thing called Creative Wednesdays where the girls have to come up with ideas for new art they want to do so that gives them a chance to try out new things and practice.

7. How is it running a business with your sister?

It’s actually a dream, we get on really well. We travelled for a year and she was the best person to travel with. She’s also good at the stuff that i’m not good at. She’s a hairdresser by trade so she knows how salons work, and then I’m good at marketing and PR where as she hates all that so we compliment each other.

8. What’s next for Tropical Popical?

Well we’re opening a Tropical Popical nail school in January so you’ll be able to come and do a nail course with us. Then we want to bring out our own range of nail varnishes so that’s in motion too. The big one is that I want to open up a tropical B&B in Dublin so we’re currently looking around at places for that – it’s my dream so I just have to do it.

Tropical Popical is open Tuesday to Sunday on South William Street. Pop in for a little nail art for Christmas!

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