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Flashback Interview: Yve-Car Momperousse of Kreyol Essence

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CEO and founder of wellness and ethical beauty brand, Kreyòl Essence which 
sources its key ingredients from Haiti. Accomplished executive with extensive experience in fundraising, business consulting, managing relationships with contributors, board of directors, staff, and volunteers. Articulate communicator with a proven ability to multitask, recruit, plan, and coordinate the logistics of complex projects. 
 
HB was one of the first media to have interviewed Mrs. Momperousse when she launched Kreyol Essence back in 2013. We interviewed her a few months later. We bring back the interview as a flashback:
 
Who is Yve-Car Momperousse?
Yve-Car Momperousse is a social entrepreneur obsessed with having an impact in the lives of others,  eco-luxury cosmetics, carrot cake and boldly living life. She believes in red lipstick, problem-solving thinking and having global experiences. 
 
How did the idea of starting Kreyol Essence come about?
I started Kreyol Essence after what I call a “hair catastrophe.” My hair sustained massive heat damage after a beautician straightened it.  When I was ready to return to my natural curls, my hair was limp, lifeless and falling out. After crying and surfing the web for answers, it dawned on me that I had not used a good old Haitian remedy: Lwil Maskriti or as its known in the U.S., Haitian Black Castor Oil (HBCO).
 
My mom used this oil on me as a child to grow and moisturize my mane. In addition, like most Haitian parents, the oil was used to solve every problem we had in the house: fevers, colds, body aches, etc. I was surprised that HBCO wasn’t readily available in my Philadelphia neighborhood and I could not find it online.  My mom had to send me some Lwil maskriti from her Haiti stash. Thus, I decided to make sure that I, and anyone else who needed the oil, could have access to it by creating Kreyol Essence.
 
Would you provide us with an overview of Kreyol Essence?
Kreyol Essence brings organic and natural beauty products from Haiti to the world. Our signature line includes organic hair and body oils, moisturizing hair and body butters, unique pomades as well as delectable soaps and candles.We also provide cosmetic ingredients from Haiti to manufacturers.
 
Would you highlight the strengths of the products and services you provide to our readers?
Kreyol Essence has a unique collection of eco-luxury products that are bursting with curative benefits:
We have the traditional castor oil as well as an aroma therapeutic line of castor which includes savory scents of lavender, orange, peppermint, chocolate and lemon. These are 100% natural and exclusively through Kreyol Essence. 
 
Our Pomad Kreyol is the first 100% Haitian hair pomade made on the mainstream market. It contains pine nut oil and strengthening proteins that are proven to strengthen hair from root to ends. Couple this with our best selling goat & coconut Krem ak Let hair milk and your hair will simply say-ah. 
Our fluffy body moisturizers soften and melt into your skin. The KE body soufflés do not contain mineral oils and have the maximum blend of shea butter and Haitian castor oil. 
 
Bouji, KE’s gourmet candles, are a perfect accessory for any home. They don’t contain harmful chemicals and are handmade by Haitian women. You can find more information about our signature line at www.kreyolessence.com These are premium products for those serious about healthy hair, skin, and body.
 
Where are the products being made here or in Haiti?
80% of our products are made in Haiti and the other 20% are made with Haitian ingredients in the United States. It took us years to be able to set up most of our production in Haiti and we are very proud of this.
 
Are your products unisex? 
Many of our products are unisex. My fiancé, Stephane Jean-Baptiste, inspired the creation of our very popular Haitian Shea Butter. He wanted one product he could use in hair and skin.This product is a must have for the family. 
Our Karayib Body Souffle is also a unisex body moisturizer and men also purchase Pomade Kreyol and peppermint castor oil to keep their scalp and hair shiny and wavy. We realize men have to take care of themselves too!
 
Who are your core clients?
Our core customers are smart-global thinking- divas who demand quality ingredients and are concerned about social issues in Haiti and around the world. They are vocal, chic, edgy, and lots of fun!
 
What is your growth outlook for Kreyol Essence? Where do you see the most potential for growth?
I see a great potential for growth in Latin America and Africa. Kreyol Essence is the first brand  of its kind in Haiti and in the Caribbean region. We are in 10 stores in Haiti and are working on international distribution.
 
How important is diversity and inclusion to the culture of KE?
As former Director of Diversity at Cornell, diversity and inclusion is embedded in the culture of KE. We make sure to celebrate women of all shades and hair types. My team knows that it drives me crazy if I don't see a mosaic of women represented in our brand. I am particularly keen on celebrating dark skin and kinky short hair. For too long, we, as I am in that group- have not been seen as beautiful. 
 
Now it seems like everyone is going natural, how do you differentiate KE’s products from its competitors? 
LOL. To be more precise, everyone is claiming to be natural.We differentiate our products by three things: quality, price, and by being focused on mission to change lives. 
 
Can you highlight some of the innovations taking place in the Global Hair Care product business?
I’m happy to see global manufacturers finally reacting to the consumer pressure to combine science with nature. For instance, coloring your hair can be quite damaging. Henna, from India, is now being used to naturally color and strengthen hair. Product innovation is on the rise.
 
Could you have imagined in your early school days that you would spend a good amount of your time on KE? What has made KE  so special for you?
Absolutely not! I have spent most of my life working in nonprofits: NJ Immigration Policy Network, NJ Citizen Action, AIDS Coalition, National Haitian Student Alliance,  University of Pennsylvania, etc. As a child, I always felt compelled to speak up for the kids that were being picked on; even if it made me a target for bullies. My ultimate aim has  and always will be to  help solve social problems for the disenfranchised.
 
I have always been a product enthusiast (a nice way to say that I spend lots on good products). Thus, Kreyol Essence is a culmination of my passions: Haiti, Business, Beauty, and Empowerment.
 
Beside on your website, can someone walk to a local Walgreens and find your products? If not, are you working on that? 
Kreyol Essence products can be found in 10 stores in Haiti, 4 stores in the U.S., Amazon, and our website kreyolessence.com . We are working on partnerships with selective stores so stay tuned.
 
What makes KE and its brands so special?
Besides being the first Haitian cosmetic brand of its kind with awesome formulas, we provide others the opportunity to be part of a larger movement- to help a very special country. Our brand encourages individuals to “think globally and act locally”. One gets to be a global citizen by purchasing our products and being part of our community.
 
Does KE play a role in giving back to the community either here or in Haiti? If so, how?
KE and its customers are going to stimulate economic activity in Haiti by creating jobs for 300+ women and farmers. We are exporting which helps with Haiti’s GDP. By growing over 40,000 castor trees, we are improving the environment: tackling soil erosion, deforestation and greenhouse gas emission. 
 
We are also going to have an impact on agritourism, the psycho esteem of  women,  creating jobs in the US, and country branding for Haiti. We are a busy company!
 
You were just honored by the Haitian Roundtable as one of the “person to watch”, what was this moment like?
Did you see who else was on the list? It was truly gratifying and exciting to be recognized amongst so many accomplished Haitian-Americans (link to list).It helped to assure me that we are heading in the right direction and that I have a lot of work to do! 
 
Where do you see KE 5 years from now?
Forget the South of France, Kreyol Essence is going to make the South of Haiti the epicenter for natural and luxury cosmetics. We will disrupt the beauty industry by being the first cosmetic brand from the Caribbean to to reach scale through our hybrid B2B and B2C model. 
 
Anything else you wanted to discuss and I did not ask?
I think you thoroughly covered it all for this feature. Thank you for such insightful questions and for giving me an opportunity to get others involved in Kreyol Essence. I look forward to speaking with you and your readers again. Until then, folks should connect with us on social media or sign up for our email list. 
 

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