Conquering the world using Haitian old natural remedies

  • Posted by Marina Vatav
  • June 28, 2012 5:39 AM EDT
Initiated by a hair catastrophe and inspired by Haitian traditions, Yve Car Momperousse and her team believe that they can share with the World the old Haitian remedies such as The Palma Christi: Haitian Black Castor Oil™.

It all started a few years ago when Yve-Car visited a beauty salon in Philadelphia to straighten her hair. The lady that served her applied too much heat and seriously damaged her hair. Very soon her hair started to literally fall out. Yve-Car was shocked.

"After my initial shock, horror and anger, I started researching and thinking what can I do now to go through the process of regrowing my hair and getting it to be strong again. And I thought: You know, my mom used to use Palma Christi all the time I should try to purchase it so I can use it on my hair."

Palma Christi is the unrefined Haitian Castor Oil, an old remedy known for its medicinal, curative and therapeutic benefits. Stores in Philadelphia didn't carry this type of oil and to Yve-Car's surprise it was not available on-line either. That's when she thought that the world should be able to have access to this Haitian wonder. "I thought: this is an oil that we use a lot in our culture. It's a product that I know works and many of us know it works so why not ensure that folks have it available to them".

To do or not to do?

After the 2010 earthquake devastated Haiti, Yve Car wanted to help, as did many Haitians from all over the world. She was about to stop pursuing her business idea and join the relief efforts through her organization, Haitian Professionals of Philadelphia, when her mom said something that changed it all.

"She said that right now, particularly after the earthquake, what I need you to do is focus on the business because we need you to create jobs in Haiti; we need you to help provide income streams for those who right now are really going to need jobs. You need to look at your business as also a social venture, because when the funding from the international organizations drains we are going to need something sustainable," recollects Yve-Car.


In search for the perfect recipe and best Haitian masters of natural remedies

What followed was a lot of research. Assisted by family and friends, Yve-Car and her team walked the fields, the rural areas, and the cities of Haiti in search for the best recipes and the most knowleadgeable producers of natural remedies.

They hired the best cosmetics producers they could find in Haiti, and worked on developing a line of products under the brand, Kreyol Essence, including Pomad Kreyól, organic Haitian pomade; Palma Shea™ Hair and Body Butter, and others.

Their signature product, however, is the unrefined Haitian Black Castor Oil due to its healing effects. What's unique about this product is the fact that it is unrefined organic castor oil that has a blend of aromatherapeutic properties. The original recipes were touched just a little bit in a lab in Maryland to convey nicer smell and color.

Packaging is also inspired by Haiti and particularly by the Tap-Tap, the colorful and artful Haitian vans.

The past is the future

With products that contain the wisdom of Haitian natural traditions, Kreyol Essence is ready to conquer the world. They believe that there is an international market that would want highly natural products because the world wants to come back to the natural cosmetics. "One of our mantra is: The past is the future. People want to go back to traditional methodologies that are proven to work," noted Yve-Car.

During a market research in the US, American people received the Haitian product very well. In business meetings, though, Yve-Car has heard more than she would wish--concerns that a product promoted as Haitian may be too foreign to the US market. She and her team, though, believe that it's all about brand and re-education. They hope that their products will have the same success as Shea butter, once less popular, now purchased by the most important cosmetics companies. Kreyol Essence will officially launch its products this fall.

Yve-Car decided to register her company in Haiti. It was not an easy process.

Some of the challenges she faced in registering the business in Haiti were excessive bureaucracy, lack of consistent information, and the amount of time and money the registration process took: Three trips during one year, and an equivalent of about 600-700 US Dollars for paperwork. In the US, the process only takes one day and much less money.

Another challenge was the language barrier. Even though 85% of Haitians speak Creole, in Haiti business is done mostly in French.

Yve-Car, however, stays optimistic when it comes to doing business in Haiti. She says: "It's not easy but it's durable. I learned a lot. I wouldn't trade my experience. I think there are improvements being made. We just have to be patient with that."

Kreyol Essence intends to bring Haitian products to the US and international markets because, as Yve-Car stated: "We have some of the greatest producers of great cosmetic products right in our homeland, but we have to help them market what it is that they are doing."