Very few business owners can go toe to toe with the investors on the hit ABC show, Shark Tank, and arise victoriously, but the owners of beauty company Kreyol Essence did just that.
On Sunday, January 12th Kreyòl Essence co-founders, Yve-Car Momperousse and Stéphane Jean-Baptiste, appeared on an episode of Shark Tank in hopes to land a shark investor for their growing company, which began in 2014.
Their pitch got the attention of Kevin O’Leary -- also known as Mr. Wonderful on the show-- who offered the couple a $400,000 investment in exchange for 37% of their company. With all the sharks out of the deal at that point, Yve-Car, started to think fast so she could land the investment they came for. However, she wanted to make sure the deal was best for her company by countering O’Leary, which made for a passionate exchange between the two. But Yve-Car didn’t flinch and held her own.
O’Leary told Yve-Car, “I'm impressed by you, but now we're having a tough love discussion. It's about money. I want to make money.”
Equipped and prepared, Yve-Car countered his deal.
“37% is too rich. Can you meet me in the middle at 20%?,” she said.
Mr. Wonderful said absolutely not, but the Haitian Beauty brand co-owner was not leaving without a deal.
Yve-Car, swooped in to further sell their company. “It's not just about the great product it's about the mission of helping to create a blueprint for poverty alleviation which is a huge problem around the world,” she said.
But O’Leary wanted to know what they were going to decide. "You have to make a decision. I'll still have the $400,000 when you walk out that door and there will be another person in front of me."
Staying quick, Yve-Car said, "Yeah and I'll still have that account where I'm going to make $2 million this year and go on to make 5, 10 and make sure we get to $100 million dollars because that's what businesses of our rank and size have done and I want you to be a part of that-- but that is too high."
Despite the banter back and forth dialogue, O’Leary pressed the entrepreneurs to make a decision. Thinking fast, as she felt the investment slipping away, Yve-Car creatively crafted a deal Mr. Wonderful couldn’t refuse – a royalty deal, which would mean the investor will be guaranteed to make a set amount of money off of each unit or item they sold. O’Leary liked the deal and accepted it with minor adjustment to Yve-Car’s initial royalty offer. They walked out winners.
Many women in business and in life, don’t do what Yve-Car did – negotiate until the end. From Shark Tank’s data alone, Yve-Car defied the odds. According to TheHustle.co, only 56% of contestants close a deal and women only make up only 24% of the people who appear on the show. Also, the average deal closed is $286,000. Yve-Car walked away with an agreement for $400,000. Can we say #girlboss ?
“Harvard and other studies note that women are less likely than men to negotiate. We rather decline an offer than negotiate. It’s important to me to help change that paradigm by acting beyond fear. I asked for what makes sense for me, my company, and the communities I represent. Having a clear intention and belief in our products and social mission fueled me to keep negotiating and finding a deal that we could all live with,” said Yve-Car.
She handed Mr. Wonderful's tough love right back to him. She even impressed the other sharks and caused Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran to comment: “Wow she has a lot of fire in that belly. I did not see that coming”. Mark Cuban, Daymond John, and Lori Greiner all nodded their head in agreement.
Yve-Car is humbled and grateful that her appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank has inspired so many women and entrepreneurs to follow their dreams, but most importantly, to not back down when things get tough. She has received hundreds of messages via DM, email, and text about her negotiating. But what she is most proud of is the number of parents who said, they were completely moved to see their daughter’s reaction to watching YveCar on TV. She is relatable and represents an image you don’t often see on TV in this context.
“James 4:2 says you have not because you ask not. My mother has a bible quote for everything. I grew up watching my mom and Haitian women in the marketplace negotiate like masters. They can go on for hours and be quite animated about it. Watching them has always reminded me that you have to be confident, quick on your feet, and prepared to ask for what you need even if you are not sure of the outcome,” said Yve-Car.
Yve-Car is also not intimidated by those with more than her, financially. Asked if she was intimidated to be among billionaires and millionaires, her response was an emphatic no. Nerves will always present themselves when you are being vulnerable by putting your business and self out there for approval. However, I have learned to see people as people. Prior to Kreyol Essence, I spent 5 years working at the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University Alumni Affairs, the business arm of the University, and have had the honor of meeting some of the smartest, accomplished, and well to do people in our country. I specifically sought these roles and institutions to get out of my comfort zone and be “uncomfortable”, and to create relationships with those I would not find in my neighborhood or in my family.
According to Entreprenuer.com, since 2009, out of the $424.7 billion in total tech venture capital funding, the portion given to Black female founders is a minuscule .0006 percent. According to Project Diane 2018, a report by DigitalUndivided, an entrepreneurial pipeline for women of color the average investment is only $42,000, compared with the overall average of $1.3 million. Even though these numbers focus on tech venture capital funding, they are indicative of financing trends in all industries.
Based on those stats, Yve-Car exceeded the average that is invested in most women-owned businesses, which further proves the significance of the deal. That was echoed in the praise from people, many of them women, who shared their excitement for Kreyol Essence receiving an on-air deal on Shark Tank. Even some well-known women chimed in to congratulate the company and were impressed with Yve-Car’s negotiating prowess.
Instagram User nda.hologram commented, “GIRLLLLLLLL YALL WERE INCREDIBLE MY HUSBAND AND I ARE SO MOVED THE WAY YOU HELD YOUR COMPOSURE AND MADE
THAT DEAL!!!!! Proud of you........... ”
I did not see that coming”
Hip-Hop mega star Cardi B summed up with her comment on about the show how many of us felt about female bosses who work hard and win big, “Yassssssssssssss!!!!!!!.”
More success is in store for the Black-owned beauty brand. Kreyol Essence was chosen as part of Hollywood superstar Jada Pinkett-Smith's Holiday Gift Guide list and they are also set to launch this year in all 1200 Ulta Beauty Supply Stores in the United States. Kreyol Essence was also trending on social media after their passionate appearance on Shark Tank.
Check out a clip from their appearance on the show
About Kreyol Essence
Kreyol Essence (KE) brings natural hair, skin, and body products from Haiti to the world. Our eco-friendly formulations are made from pure and natural ingredients with a special focus on dry hair and skin. As a social business, we are maniacal about creating sustainable jobs, protecting and conserving the island’s environment and empowering women. We promise that every purchase you make will have a positive and global impact.