Tropicaux Origin Story
In 2015, two brothers received an unexpected phone call from their father: he was revisiting his homeland of Guinea for the first time in over 50 years, and rather than reminiscing about his youth, he began instantly raving about having tasted “the most exquisite mango and pineapple on Earth!” In fact, even after an hour of talking, he couldn’t get over the mouthwatering flavors he had just experienced: “Everyone needs to try this fruit!”... Perhaps it was because, behind this exuberance was also the sad realization that these native fruits — like the majority of Guinea’s prized harvests — were routinely laid to waste, rotting away on rural farms with nowhere to go. It was this bittersweet mix of passionate excitement and devastation that eventually led to the pivotal question: “How do we bring this incredible flavor to the rest of the world?”...And so, the seeds of Tropicaux Reign were planted.
While the brothers were no strangers to challenges, this particular proposition proved to be uniquely difficult— and in order to understand why, one must first understand (the history of) Guinea. Unbeknownst to many, Guinea – a quaint coastal nation – was once the horticultural leader of all of French West Africa. During the 1960s, the country had become a top exporter of pineapples and the world's leading producer of bananas. Yet, despite having many of the same agricultural conditions of the mid-20th century, Guinea’s fruit exports, along with their entire agro-ecological infrastructure, is virtually nonexistent today, having been forcibly decimated by the French Colonial Empire when Guinea declared its independence in 1958.
It wasn’t until the brothers visited Guinea for the first time in 2017 and saw the conditions firsthand, that they fully understood the totality of this decimation: there were no remnants of this once-promising sector. It was as if it never existed. And so the challenge to revive it meant starting from scratch. Nevertheless, determined and inspired by Guinea’s illustrious past and untapped potential, the brothers embarked on a journey to build a world-class agro-processing and export business; the first of its kind since Guinea’s colonial days. It was not long before local Guineans of all stripes began to take notice and express interest in helping their cause. Everyone from local farmers, to women, to government officials joined in what became a grassroots effort/movement to build an authentic brand that not only empowers Guineans to shape their own economic futures, but to also challenge decades of foreign exploitation while doing so.