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Story By: Brigitte Coles

 

 

 
 
 
   
   
  Originally Published on: 9/4/2014

A local based African-American hair care products company, Ora K Beauty Products,  has been selected to be part of a new Kenyan Youth International Trade Program.

Ora K Beauty Products was founded in Mississippi in the 1800's by slave, Ora Lee. It was passed down from generation to generation. Ora Kay Eatmon decided to market her grandmother's all natural hair care products. Eatmon is the president of Ora K Beauty Products.

The all natural hair care manufacturer roots can be traced back to American slavery with its herbal hair growth formula.

The Vijana Tuendelee Group of Kisumu County Kenya and the Kisumu County City Manager has recently partnered with St. Louis based non-profit organization, The Risen Foundation, to form the first of its kind Youth International Trade Platform (YITP). The YITP is a bilateral trade platform that allows Kenyan youth and American youth to import and export both African goods and American goods to each respective country to market and sale through the International youth organization. Both the African youth and the American youth will learn international business and trade while enjoying a profit sharing opportunity through the program.

The Risen Foundation, executive director, Anthony McDonald Sr., invited Eatmon be part of YITP to launch her products internationally.

"We want to empower youth, teach them about business and finance. Ora Kay has a great business that our youth will enjoy learning about," McDonald said.

Eatmon is excited about the opportunity share her grandmother's all natural beauty products.

“She truly loved doing hair and helping other women look and feel beautiful,” Eatmon said. “Coming from a rather poor family, she would create her own mixture of different herbs and vitamins which resulted in a formula that made her hair become astoundingly longer, healthier, more lush and beautiful than she could have ever imagined.”

After letting friends try the formula prior to 2006, Eatmon started making her grandmother’s secret hair growth formula out of her kitchen.

“I made if for a couple of friends then suddenly others began requesting it including those from out-of-town and patients taking chemotherapy and radiation treatments,”Ora Kay said.

With so many requests it became impossible to keep up with and made it necessary to have it professionally bottled and packaged in a laboratory.

Ora K Beauty Products will officially launch in the East African Countries of Kenya of Uganda in Mid-September 2014. The Vijana Tuendelee Group will be hosting a hair care seminar on Sept. 19 for beauty salon owners and hair stylists from all 8 Kenyan counties. The Tooro Kingdom of Uganda with be hosting their Ora K hair care seminar on Sept. 21 in Fort Portal, Uganda.

“This is a big deal for the youth of Kisumu and others. We are so excited about the social- economic impact that this will have on our community,” said Doris Ombara, City Manager of Kisumu County.

Ora K Beauty Products, COO Harold Eddings said YITP is a wonderful opportunity for Eatmon.

"This is a prime example of a smart woman starting a line of products locally and taking the products internationally. Most importantly Ora Kay is giving back to youths internationally," Eddings said.

Ora K Beauty Products have been tested among other popular hair care products beating out some of the top brands. The estimated worth of the line is about $22 billion.

For Ora K the idea of launching the Ora K Beauty brand in Africa has sentimental values to her and her family.

“Just the idea that my grandmother was a part of the American slave experience and her formula will make it back home to the motherland is overwhelming,” Ora Kay said.

Ora Kay’s mentor is the late Alex Haley the American writer best known for his 1976 book Roots: the Saga of an American Family. Ora Kay said Haley was a father figure to her and inspired her to reach her goals. Just as Haley had once journeyed to Africa in search of his roots Ora Kay will soon enjoy the experience of launching her grandmothers’ formula in the land in which her descendants once enjoyed true freedom.

Ora K Beauty Products will be available locally starting Oct. 1 at Comfrey Corner Natural Foods, 1145 Park Ave. West and 625 Lexington Ave, and Hair Systems, 1494 Park Ave. West.

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