Kreyol Essence creates work in Miami and Haiti amidst COVID Crisis
The Miami Times reports an estimated 400,000 Floridians who had jobs last week no longer do. Up to 1.4 million more state residents are facing layoffs as the dominos fall in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. NPR reports that nationally about 16.8 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past three weeks, and analysts expect the numbers to keep rising.
While many are understandably panicking or focused on medical relief efforts, Yve-Car Momperousse and Stephane Jean Bapitiste, founders of Kreyol Essence, have seen this before and are taking a different approach. “When the 2010 earthquake happened in Haiti, most of us were focused on immediate relief efforts and ensuring that food, medicine and clothes were sent to Haiti.
However, after working with Philadelphia officials and the Haitian Professional of Philadelphia to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, fly out medical professionals and send essentials such as food my mom reminded me that once people were well, they would need jobs to stay alive. She reminded me that charity, stimulus, and other forms of aid would cease. A few of us must think about what happens next. It is with this thought process that Kreyol Essence, which creates natural beauty products for hair, skin, and body creates work for over 300 women and farmers in Haiti. The company is taking the same approach in for its U.S. supply chain, particularly as the company partners with ULTA, the largest speciality beauty retailer in the country.
Stephane, COO of Kreyol Essence, received an email from UBER about piloting the UBER WORKS program in Miami. Uber Works connects qualified, pre-screened temporary workers to employers who need a job done in a pinch or more long term. “There's a lot of demand for skilled workers, especially in entry-level and hospitality sectors,” said Andrey Liscovich, CEO of Uber Works.
Uber works is currently live in Chicago, Dallas, and Miami. The outcome of these pilot partnerships informs how the program will roll out nationwide and possibly internationally. COVID 19 has changed how businesses operate. Kreyol Essence, a growing company recently featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, was experiencing significant back orders due to its fulfillment partners being short-staffed in Kentucky.
In some ways, we are going back to our roots. We had to bring parts of our operation back in house to get over 3,000 orders out. It's ironic, as you scale your company you are told to work with the bigger companies to expand capacity. We are grateful that we were able to partner with UBER in a matter of days to get staff into our office and packing orders. The staff were energetic, quick to learn, and appreciative of being able to work during these uncertain times.
Kreyol Essence has seen 7x growth in online sales compared to last year. Its signature product, Haitian Castor Oil not only known for promoting thicker and longer hair and moisture. The century-old Caribbean oil is also used to encourage strengthening the immune system and help with fighting bacteria due to a unique property called riceonelic acid. In Haiti, it is a time-honored tradition to rub the oil on your chest, head, behind your ears and to use as a castor pack to fight colds, skin dermatitis, body aches and promote wellness. Haitian Castor Oil is handmade vs the refined castor oil normally found in stores.
Kreyol Essence shows how a small company can pivot and find ways to do its part amidst crisis. The company is doubling efforts to create community by hosting skincare, hair, yoga, dance, and other activities using Instagram Live. Kreyol Essence has a renewed effort to create even more work in the U.S. and Haiti as a way to continue its mission to prove that personal care brands can help to create a blueprint for poverty alleviation around the world. One oil and shampoo bottle at a time.