In 2009, Martinique was experiencing a social and economic crisis due to the high cost of living and social inequities. Shirley faced two choices: leave her island, as many did, or stay and fight for it. Shirley chose to stay and fight.
She wanted to reduce the interracial and intergenerational gaps contributing to the crises. Shirley believed there was a way to bring together all farmers -- poor or wealthy, black or white -- to help her community.
Shirley focused her efforts on the banana industry, a central contributor to the economy.
Martinique is a small island with limited natural resources. The banana industry helps Martinique to be less dependent on tourism and the exportation of rum and sugar cane.
Shirley saw this as a possibility for change, especially since she was aware of the therapeutic benefits of bananas. Bananas also represented an opportunity to be more sustainable.
Shirley spearheaded an in-depth research program. She developed proprietary active ingredients from yellow, green, and pink bananas. These potent bio-actives then gave birth to the creation of Kadalys. They also helped Shirley bring her vision for social change to life.
Shirley always believed capitalism should be more inclusive and reward those who create value. That’s why she decided to incorporate 100% of the banana growers as shareholders of Kadalys.
Together, Shirley and the banana growers are changing the future of their island, improving planet health, and helping skin glow.
“I founded KADALYS to make the world a better, healthier, and more equal place. I wanted to make it better by actively addressing the challenges of tomorrow: tackling food waste and creating long-term and sustainable employment.”
Born in Djibouti, Shirley grew up between East Africa and the Caribbean before moving to France.
At an early age, her mother initiated her into traditional Caribbean medicine, much of which centered on the Banana Tree plant which is well-known in the French West Indies for its cosmetic, curative, and well-being benefits.
Shirley Billot created Kadalys to marry her desire to promote the virtues of her Creole heritage and the Banana Tree with her passion for plant research.
Through a research program she launched to study the virtues of the banana tree, she developed new cosmetic active ingredients, called "Musactif," that help preserve the health and youthfulness of skin.
THROUGH KADALYS, I WANTED TO CREATE ETHICAL SKINCARE PRODUCTS, WITHOUT COMPROMISE BETWEEN HIGH PERFORMANCE, NATURAL INGREDIENTS & ECO-CONSCIOUSNESS.
Following her discovery, Shirley launched Kadalys with patented Banana Bio-actives in 2012. It was the first eco-conscious, high-performance skincare brand.
I BELIEVE IN INNOVATIVE, ECO-RESPONSIBLE & ORGANIC BEAUTY.
I BELIEVE IN ETHICAL, INCLUSIVE CAPITALISM. THAT'S WHY I ENSURE 100% OF MARTINIQUE'S FARMERS ARE PART OF THIS UPCYCLING AND ECO-EXTRACTION BUSINESS.
In 2012, I created KADALYS, the first eco-conscious brand, world expert in banana science, which develops ingredients by upcycling agricultural co-products from the banana sector and transforming them into ethical and high-quality skincare products.
As activists, my parents made me aware from my childhood of the environmental and societal causes in the countries where we have lived. Preserving the environment and its resources was, and still is, a cause near and dear to our hearts.
My travels and my mixed origins (African, Asian, Native American, and Caucasian) inspired a desire to formulate products and textures that work for all skin types, skin tones and climates.
I also wanted to make the world healthier by creating ethical skincare that helped consumers look radiant without having to compromise on quality, natural ingredients, or eco-consciousness. And importantly, I wanted to improve equality by creating a company that empowers and supports growers and workers.
KADALYS reflects my my vision of a benevolent company that fits in with its times and whose pillars are the circular economy, green chemistry, and inclusive capitalism. Beyond holistic beauty, it is a vision of beauty that is committed to health, gives back, and preserves our environment.
Receiving the National Order of Merit, 2017
Representing France and Overseas at the G20 Young Entrepreneur Alliance, 2019
Receiving the "Coup de cœur" Award, 2017