Many small businesses leave Shark Tank with a revenue infusion that helps them grow, but Kreyòl Essence has been expanding more than just its operations after a successful January appearance on the ABC reality show.
The Miami-based company was featured in a January 2020 episode that is being re-aired in August. In the months since the Haitian beauty brand scored a $400,000 investment from its appearance, Kreyòl Essence has been using its platform to push for social justice and give a leg up to other Black-owned businesses.
As the Miami New Times reported, Yve-Car Momperousse came up with the idea for Kreyòl Essence after a disastrous experience with a hair-straightening product that left her hair falling out. Her mother gave her a traditional Haitian remedy using castor oil, and it turned out to be both a miracle for her hair and the inspiration for a business.
The business was founded while Momperousse and her partner were living in Upstate New York, and they moved it to Miami. Since then, they’ve grown the operation to more than 500 employees spread out across Florida. As the founder told the newspaper, they wanted to grow while still promoting environmental sustainability, so their products come in recyclable packaging that allows customers to use the same bottle for refills.
The founder added that Kreyòl Essence is committed to supporting women and farmers in Haiti, groups that have been often been exploited in the past. The company is, what she calls, a “for-profit social impact company” that partners with other local organizations, building a cooperative model that helps farmers get the education and support they need to build a stronger and more profitable future for themselves.
“We had to have financial education as to why it’s important for [workers] to own their finances so that a man [cannot] just come and take your money or have power over you like that,” Momperousse said. “We feel part of our long-term social impact is being able to take the time to teach those life lessons, to have a clear vision for financial empowerment.”
She has continued to use the attention she gained from Shark Tank to push for positive changes. In the days before the episode re-aired on ABC, the Kreyòl Essence founder spoke to the Miami Herald about what the city could be doing to better support Black business owners, suggesting they use more incentives to help foster their growth.