When life gives you only one option, do you just accept that you must take it? Or do you work around it and create another option?
Entrepreneurs Yve-Car Momperousse and Stéphane Jean-Baptiste of social enterprise beauty brand Kreyol Essence chose the second option when they appeared in Season 11 of the TV show Shark Tank. They walked into the Tank with a goal to close a deal with any of the Sharks, but only one Shark offered a deal.
Read on to find out how the skincare company has fared since appearing on Shark Tank.
What is Kreyol Essence?
Kreyol Essence is a Miami-based skincare company that was built on its unique ingredient, Haitian castor oil.
It is a social enterprise that helps communities in Haiti, where Haitian black castor beans are grown, harvested, and processed. Kreyol Essence provides jobs to around 300 farmers and women producers living in poverty-stricken areas in Haiti. The company boasts of products that are all-natural and ethically-made.
The secret in Haitian black castor oil is ricinoleic acid. Kreyol Essence produces and utilizes Haitian black castor oil that is 80-90% ricinoleic acid, which is a higher content compared to other brands of castor oil.
This allows for deeper penetrating moisturization and makes Kreyol Essence products beneficial for customers with skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. It is also great for promoting hair growth and keeping hair healthy and moisturized.
Here’s a YouTube video from the company introducing their products.
How did Kreyol Essence start?
The devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010 inspired Yve-Car Momperousse to start her company. Her mother told her that more than ever, the people from her country would need jobs to survive because they cannot rely on donations alone.
Momperousse chose to start a business with Haitian black castor oil to help farmers back in Haiti.
It was also because of her past “hair catastrophe” that drew her back to the magical oil that her mother used to use for everything–from soothing dry skin to helping repair damaged hair.
After regrouping, using all her savings, and teaching herself about business, Momperousse officially launched Kreyol Essence in 2013 with her husband Stéphane Jean-Baptiste.
Kreyol Essence on Shark Tank
The Kreyol Essence founders started their pitch in the Shark Tank with an ask of $400,000 in exchange for 10% equity in their company.
Although the Sharks were raving about the delicious smell and luxurious feel of the Kreyol Essence products, nobody was eager to take a bite out of the company.
Shark Barbara Corcoran told the couple that their business is not scalable. Their success is too dependent on them selling the product and for that, she was out.
Sharks Mark Cuban and Daymond John also opted out and wished them luck, saying they did not have the expertise in the beauty market that the company needed.
What were the Sharks’ offers for Kreyol Essence?
Shark Lori Greiner was interested but pointed out that the company’s lack of clinical or laboratory testing to back the company’s claims for hair regrowth is a red flag and deal-breaker for her.
This left Shark Kevin O’Leary. He said he focuses on the business and the numbers, and he was impressed by the growth of Kreyol Essence.
O’Leary offered the owners $400,000 in exchange for 37% of Kreyol Essence, which left the couple speechless.
Momperousse made a counteroffer of 20% equity instead, saying they were not prepared to give up so much of their company. O’Leary shot her offer down.
“I’m impressed by you, but now we are having a tough-love discussion,” he told the co-founders.
“It’s about money,” O’Leary explained. “I want to make money.”
Watch the emotional negotiation between O’Leary and Kreyol Essence’s founders in this YouTube clip from ABC.
Did Kreyol Essence get a deal on Shark Tank?
In an unexpected twist, the Kreyol Essence founders were able to turn their situation around and close a deal with O’Leary.
Undaunted by O’Leary’s statement, Momperousse instead counter-offered a royalty deal of 15 cents per bottle sold. She wanted to keep him as an investor but significantly lower the amount of equity they have to give up.
O’Leary countered with $400,000 for 5% equity and 25 cents royalty on every item in perpetuity, which the couple eventually agreed to accept.
“We were not expecting Mr. Wonderful to be a partner in a Haitian beauty brand,” Momperousse said after leaving the Tank. “But Kevin O’Leary surprises you.”
What happened to Kreyol Essence after Shark Tank?
Since the Shark Tank episode was taped, the Kreyol Essence owners have been in touch with O’Leary’s team regarding brand strategy and financial planning.
After the airing of the season 11 Shark Tank episode, all Kreyol Essence products on Amazon were sold out within hours.
Some of Kreyol Essence’s products sold on Amazon are as follows.
It was also reported that, after their appearance on the show, sales of Kreyol Essence products from the company’s website went up by 50%. Their social media following also went up and currently have 128k followers on Instagram.
Is Kreyol Essence still in business today?
Kreyol Essence is definitely thriving today. After appearing on Shark Tank resulted in such positive publicity and sales, they even came out with Shark Tank bundles.
Currently, Kreyol Essence products are available in 350 Whole Foods shops and in 150 stores around the USA and Canada. The brand is also looking into being available in Europe soon.
This year, Ulta did a national rollout of Kreyol Essence to its 1,200 stores all over the USA and on its website. Also with the company’s partnership with retail giant Ulta, their products have become more accessible and visible to more consumers.
How much is Kreyol Essence worth now?
Kreyol Essence announced that its net sales surpassed $2 million in 2019.
This is already a lot higher than the $800,000 valuation by O’Leary which he came up with when he made the offer of $400,000 investment for 5% equity in the company. The company’s actual net worth this year is yet to be disclosed.
Lessons from Kreyol Essence on Shark Tank
Do not settle for an offer that you do not think would be good for your business. This is one of the biggest takeaways from the founders of Kreyol Essence when they appeared on this Shark Tank episode.
Like Greiner said, “If you do not like it, don’t take it.”
Despite O’Leary being the only Shark to give an offer, Momperousse refused to take it because they did not want to give up so much of their company that they worked so hard for.
Instead, she negotiated and worked out a deal that would keep O’Leary interested. She showed that she had studied the Sharks beforehand and knew O’Leary’s penchant for royalty deals. She banked on this knowledge and offered O’Leary a royalty deal while keeping his equity low.
The Kreyol Essence founders stood their ground and did not give up. They focused on what’s at stake for their company.
Momperousse explained, “It’s not just about the great products. It’s about the mission of helping to create a blueprint for poverty alleviation.”
There is nothing like having a bigger purpose to keep you fired up when the going gets tough.
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