Owner of Sankofa Empowerment LLC.
Creator of “Ronnie’s Scalp Oil”
Garonne Decossard is the creator of “Ronnie’s Scalp Oil”, a light, ambrosial all natural hair oil geared towards maintaining the health of your hair and scalp. Her proprietary essential oil blend helps soothe and stimulate growth while relieving dryness and itchiness. She used her background in chemical engineering and her knack for creating health supporting products to formulate her oil. She juggles managing her business while keeping a full time corporate job! She infuses her love for her country of birth, Haiti, and all it has taught her in her way of approaching the world.
We had a chance to ask Garonne a few quesions and here’s what she had to say about her groundbreaking product.
My company provides a hair and scalp oil that helps women to achieve a healthy foundation for hair growth and health. It is currently available to order online and at various locations in New York City as well as New Jersey. I would like to note that it’s also sold at a dermatologist on the Upper West Side which is a great honor and nod to the work I am doing helping women dealing with hairloss. I plan to also release a shampoo, conditioner as well as other natural products that the market has been asking for, such as a natural deodorant that works well! E
What motivated you to start your business?
In 2012, my hair started to become thin and brittle at the top/crown area. After trying everything under the sun, I went to the dermatologist and was diagnosed with Alopecia. I followed doctor’s orders but didn’t see enough improvement. I have always been a crunchy mama making home remedies and beauty products. I did my research and came up with a hair oil to help soothe and stimulate my scalp. I used my background as a chemical engineer to craft the right formula that would be both therapeutic as well as having a very pleasing and invigorating scent. My experience was that most growth oils discourage consistent use because of their strong scents. Meanwhile, most of my clients end up also using the oil as a body oil because the lemongrass is just so inviting!
As a Haitian woman in business, what are the challenges you faced as a business owner and how do you overcome them?
I honestly do not think my challenges were specific to being Haitian nor a woman, at least not yet! ( crossing fingers). My greatest challenge has and still is finding the balance and time to really push my company forward. I still work a full time job, so I have to maximize my evenings and weekends to work on my company. To overcome this obstacle, I try to set weekly and monthly goals, down to how many hours a day I spend on my business. I believe that is a challenge faced by all business owners who still have their full time job, so I am not complaining. I am embracing the challenge.
How does your business relates to the Haiti or Haitian community?
Believe it or not, Alopecia is an issue that affects many women in the African American community, and as a result, the Haitian community as well. I had to discover this through sharing my journey with others, who revealed to me that they were dealing with the same. That’s how I first started selling the oil, making it for friends, family, coworkers etc. This is how I saw a need and also saw a responsibility to help. As you know, in the natural hair community we often see beautiful pictures of afros, curls, twist outs and amazing styles inviting our women to start growing their hair naturally, and most of the products and videos are focused on achieving these styles. I saw a need to address that as much as we have these beautiful naturalistas with full thick heads of kinks and coils, we also have those who have hair and scalp damaged after years of wearing tight traumatizing hairstyles, chemicals, or those experiencing thinning because of health conditions. These women want to grow their hair as well and they need products that will help them not just style their hair, but also nourish and heal their scalp!! My product is addressing haircare, and there cannot be healthy hair if the scalp and follicles are inflamed or dormant. Ronnie’s Scalp Oil has an invigorating blend of essential oils that helps heal and stimulate the scalp, to promote hair growth. It’s also used by many women to soothe itchy, dry scalp as well as to routinely moisturize their hair.
In your opinion, why is it important for the Haitian community to support Haitian owned businesses?
Haitians are naturally entrepreneurial. Entrepreneurship is in our blood. However, as transplants into this country, Haitians are sometimes discouraged by all the logistics that has to align to achieve that dream. As a result, support within the community is important. Supporting a Haitian business, doesn’t only mean to purchase their product or services. You can do so by spreading the word, being a champion or connecting the business owner to people and resources who can help them advance further.