How Amadou Used Weekend Markets to Grow His Hair Care Brand

How Amadou Doumbia Used Weekend Markets to Grow His Hair Care Brand

In this interview, Amadou Doumbia shares the approach he uses to grow Wuli Grooming. Rather than relying on e-commerce and online sales alone, Amadou sells his products in person, connecting with customers face-to-face. Read about his growth and future plans for the brand.

👇 Key Takeaways

  • Wuli Grooming products are sold online and at weekend markets throughout Australia
  • Connecting with customers in person at markets allows Amadou to gather valuable feedback
  • Amadou’s ultimate goal for the brand is to be in large-scale retail
  • He’s looking to use a strategic partnership to expand internationally


Business Name: Wuli Grooming
Website URL:
Founder: Amadou Doumbia
Business Location: Australia
Year Started: 2021
Number of Employees/Contractors/Freelancers: 5

How much revenue does the business generate?

We’re an emerging brand just entering our third year now, so sales are still in the early stages. In 2023 we generated approximately $145,000 in revenue.

Tell us about yourself and your business.

My international upbringing has been one of the greatest gifts to building my beauty brand. I was born in Mali, raised in New York City, and have now lived abroad for the last 13 years. Seven of those years were spent in China & Hong Kong, with the current 6 spent now living in Australia (Sydney).

I launched Wuli Grooming in 2022 with a vision of creating styling products suited for curls of all persuasions – from the wavy end to coily. My view was that hair styling products didn’t need to be complicated, multi-step-based, or riddled with synthetic or artificial ingredients.

In my view, plant-based ingredients provide some of the greatest elements for deep hydration and moisturisation of the most sensitive of hair types. So with this goal in mind, Wuli Grooming was born. I leveraged experience gained as a marketing, communications, and branding professional to bring Wuli to life. However, I believe with the right partners, Wuli Grooming can be one of the most forward-thinking, black-owned hair care brands with an audience across a range of cultures. 

How does your business make money?

We’re focused on driving revenue through three main channels:

  • E-commerce: Our online store where we promote our product solutions and engage customers with valuable content and customer service needs
  • Pop-up Shops: Weekend markets across Australia where we meet customers in person, address their hair care needs, conduct live demonstrations and allow customers to sample products.
  • Salon/Retail: We sell at wholesale to professional salons catering to people with curly and wavy hair and boutique premium retail stores focusing on beauty products.

How and when did you launch the business?

I launched Wuli Grooming in December 2021 softly through a weekend pop-up shop for the Christmas period. This was chosen as the best way to introduce a product most would deem a personal one when it comes to the selection process and get people to feel, smell, and try the products upclose. They also help strengthen and position where we best fit in the market. 

Amadou Doumbia at a market
Photo courtesy of Amadou Doumbia

How much money did you invest to start the business?

Wuli Grooming is still entirely boot-strapped and wholly owned by me (Amadou). I invested roughly $45,000 to launch the business.

How did you find your first few clients or customers?

Through the weekend markets. Identifying my target audience and connecting with them in person as they tried my products was the best way to launch the brand. 

What was your first year in business like?

Tough but incredibly rewarding. I was focused on market proof/validation and brand legitimacy building in the first year, which meant aggressive advertising took a back seat. The reason for this is that I believed the brand needed to take time to ensure it was well-positioned in its target market before blindly trying to grow. It was the best decision made to ensure the brand’s longer-term viability. 

What strategies did you use to grow the business?

As a bootstrapped brand, going to market can be incredibly challenging when there’s so much competition for consumer attention. Digital advertising has become increasingly costly, and a lot of it, in my opinion, is a big gamble for early-stage brands.

I focused on weekend markets because it’s a resource available to me here in Sydney. I launched the brand through the markets, which gave me the opportunity to proof & validate my products to the market, get feedback on what type of consumers responded to my products and what they were looking for, and hone my brand pitch in the process while still making direct sales for the business without so many of the additional costs of online (shipping, packaging, etc.)

Amadou Doumbia at a market
Photo courtesy of Amadou Doumbia

I then eventually started to dabble in digital advertising to compliment my online business, while the ultimate goal for the brand’s success is to be in large-scale retail. 

Tell us about your team.

Currently, I am the only full-time employee. I work with a team of freelancers that includes an SEO specialist, social media manager, digital advertising specialist, web manager, and business analyst. Each person works remotely.

What are your future plans for the business?

My future plan for Wuli is to continue building a strong community focused around my core target customer base of people with curly and wavy hair. Second to that, the plan is to achieve national distribution with a strategic retail partner and eventually expand the brand into overseas markets including the US. To do this, I’m looking for strategic partners and investors with an understanding of the beauty industry to help me scale the brand. 

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned growing the business?

Take your time when building a branded product. Authenticity and legitimacy have to be earned when you create something, and it can take time for people to warm up to it. This is actually a good thing because it will give you the time to hone and perfect your positioning as well as your product’s overall value.

Amadou Doumbia at a market
Photo courtesy of Amadou Doumbia

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

Myself. I carried a mindset for the longest time that in order to be successful, I had to be the one to drive and do everything in a situation. Building my self-awareness to a point where I was comfortable in my own capabilities and mature enough to know that I needed people with skill sets I didn’t have to be successful was a huge turning point for me in bringing Wuli to life.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Everyone has ideas, but real Entrepreneurs are those who come up with solutions and actually have the guts to follow through on making things happen. You have to believe in the vision you have for your idea and do everything in your power to bring it to life. It’s one of the most rewarding feelings in the world to create something that people are willing to buy, but there’s so much that can go into making it happen. 

Also, do everything you can to set yourself for long-term success at the start and that includes making sure you have the right company structure in place, your financials are above board, you hire an accountant, register your corporation and trademark your brand. It will save you a lot of headaches down the track. 

Amadou Doumbia at a market
Photo courtesy of Amadou Doumbia

What is your favorite quote?

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

Albert Einstein

What are some of your favorite books, blogs, podcasts, or YouTube channels?

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