When Yve-Car Momperousse was a little girl, her mother would wash her hair and then apply the magic oil. Her hair looked good and felt good and she felt pretty. As the years passed, no matter what damage tight braids, chemical straightening or weaves did, the oil repaired her hair. And then the worst happened: She was having her full Afro straightened at a salon; the iron was too hot; and clumps of her hair were falling onto the floor. She searched for the oil—Haitian Black Castor Oil—all over the Philadelphia area and found it was only available in Haiti.
Yve-Car and her life partner, Stephane Jean-Baptiste, both successful corporate and nonprofit executives, were long-time activists for the Haitian community in the U.S. Yve-Car founded Haitian Professionals of Philadelphia and served as Chair of its Outreach Committee and was National Director for the National Haitian Student Alliance founded by musician Wyclef Jean. Stephane founded the Alumni Board for Summer Search Philadelphia to help low-income young people get the education they need to be successful, productive citizens that give back to their communities.
When the 2010 earthquake devastated Haiti, they led efforts to raise $100,000 for the Haiti Earthquake Relief and Rebuilding Fund, provide a medical relief team, and deliver 7,000 pounds of supplies. It was Yve-Car’s mother who pointed out to her that, as necessary as that aid was, what the people of Haiti needed long-term were jobs. Only employment would alleviate the rampant poverty and provide improved education and health care. Yve-Car realized that mission nicely dovetailed with her long-time plan to bring Haiti Black Castor Oil to the U.S. and beyond. And that’s how she and Stephane co-founded Kreyol Essence.
Kreyol Essence creates 100% natural and ethical beauty products. The signature product is Haitian Black Castor Oil (aka “lwil maskriti,” “palma chrisiti” or “l’huile de ricin”), unique to Haiti and used for centuries for both beauty and medicinal purposes. It is high in Vitamin E, minerals and proteins and has 80-90% ricinoleic acid, the key to its healing powers and its ability to moisturize hair and skin.
Benefits of Haitian Black Castor Oil
- As the ultimate anti-frizz, repairs split ends and damage from heat and leaves a long-lasting shine.
- Penetrates the skin to draw out impurities.
- Breaks up areas of discoloration, such as scars, age spots and hyperpigmentation.
- Makes a luxurious foot massage after a warm shower.
- A tiny drop rubbed into cuticles makes your nails stronger.
Other products include body wash, soap bars, shea butter, moringa oil, shampoo, conditioner and scalp treatment. All products are formulated with plant-based oils, herbs, and butters. There are no fillers, parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes or silicones. All ingredients are sourced from Caribbean farms.
As an agribusiness, Kreyol Essence carefully plants and sustainably harvests the raw and natural ingredients. The farming of castor beans reduces deforestation, soil erosion and gas emissions. The company is also creating sustainable jobs, protecting and conserving the island’s environment and empowering women. Every purchase contributes to that mission.
Kreyol Essence is the first company to launch Haitian beauty products at Whole Foods Market and the first Haitian company to bring products to the mainstream U.S. and Canadian markets.
It was also exciting when Jada Pinkett Smith picked Haitian Black Castor Oil for her Holiday Gift Guide in People magazine. She especially appreciates the “amazing hair oil” in the winter when her scalp gets dry and the company’s social consciousness in providing employment and empowering women.
Kreyol Essence in the Shark Tank
Founders Stephane and Yve-Car went into the Shark Tank asking for $400,000 in exchange for 10% equity in their company, which implied a $4 million valuation. They highlighted their sales history, starting from $135k in 2015, increasing to $327k in 2017 after shifting to a direct-to-consumer model, and then reaching $1 million in 2018 with a projection of $2 million for 2019. They also mentioned a profit of $300k on the $1 million sales in 2018, alongside a debt of over $300k.
During the negotiations, four Sharks, Barbara, Daymond, Mark, and Lori, decided not to invest, considering the business valuation too high and not a right fit for them. Kevin O’Leary initially offered $400k for 37% equity at a $1 million valuation, which the founders countered. Eventually, they agreed to Kevin’s counteroffer of $400k for 5% equity plus a $0.25 per unit royalty.
|Initial Ask||$400k for 10% equity|
|Sales History||$135k (2015), $327k (2017), $1M (2018), $2M projected (2019)|
|Profit and Debt (2018)||$300k profit on $1M sales, >$300k debt|
|Final Deal||$400k for 5% equity + $0.25 per unit royalty|
|Investing Shark||Kevin O’Leary|
Kreyol Essence After Shark Tank
Sales Surge: Following their Shark Tank episode in January 2020, all Kreyol Essence products sold out on Amazon, and the company’s website sales increased by 40% to 50%. Their annual revenue reached $4 million in 2022 and was estimated at $5 million in 2023.
Retail Expansion: Kreyol Essence debuted at Ulta in April 2020, and since then, their products have been available at retailers like JCPenney and Sprouts Farmers Market. They also ventured into online sales through platforms like Goop and, for a time, QVC. As of 2023, their products are still sold at Whole Foods and Amazon.
Product Line Expansion: The company expanded its product line post-Shark Tank. Their Haitian Black Castor Oil is now available in multiple scents, and they have introduced new products such as Moringa oil, various hair and body care products, and supplements. These items are priced between $18 and $65.
Media and Social Media Presence: Kreyol Essence has been featured in publications like Oprah Daily and Marie Claire. They maintain an active presence on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, using these channels to further engage with their audience and promote their brand.
Social Impact and Recognition: The company’s founders have emphasized their commitment to social impact, particularly in Haiti, where they source their Castor seeds from local farmers. They aim to help Haiti’s economic development, primarily hiring women and ensuring their products are sustainable and eco-friendly. Despite facing challenges, such as a lawsuit in 2022 and pandemic-related sales impacts, Kreyol Essence has shown resilience. In 2023, they were recognized as one of the Fastest-Growing Businesses in the Southeast by Inc. Magazine, having grown 529% since 2020.
These achievements illustrate Kreyol Essence’s continued success and growth since their appearance on Shark Tank, marked by increased sales, expansion into new markets, product diversification, and a strong commitment to social and environmental responsibility.