Adwoa Beauty is a gender-neutral and clean haircare brand that was created to cater to multicultural hair textures. The name means “one who is philosophical, determined, and filled with intense desire to endure,” so it’s no wonder founder Julian Addo is making a splash in the beauty world. Julian knows firsthand how hard it is to start and launch a successful brand. After just three years, her highly effective, non-toxic line of shampoos, gels, conditioners, and more that are formulated for curly and wavy hair are now available in over 100 Sephora stores. Learn more about her career journey and the progress of Adwoa Beauty below, and add the cleansing and hydrating products to your shower routine at the end.
What has your career path been like?
“I began working in a salon full time as a stylist when I was 14 years old. I grew up in Staten Island, NYC, as an immigrant and was not able to find regular after-school employment due to my status, so I started out helping as a shampoo girl at 12 years old and became a full-time stylist at 14, while attending vocational high school to study cosmetology. Once I graduated high school, I moved to Minnesota, and at 21, I opened my first salon. A life change created a detour for me, so in 2004, I sold my salon and began working in the banking industry for several years before embarking on my natural hair journey and rejoining the industry in 2012. I’ve been here a little while, even though in the global beauty world I am a rookie.”
What’s the core mission of your brand?
“At Adwoa Beauty, our core mission is to lead with excellence, integrity, passion, and innovation in every aspect of our business. This drives every decision I make for the company, including where we will be sold and how customers should experience our brand, outside of our own distribution channels.”
What’s your favorite product you sell and why?
“Seriously?! That’s like asking a mother who’s her favorite child, lol. I cannot pick a favorite—I love and have used them all religiously since the day I approved our final formulas three years ago. I will say that the gel is my baby because I created that one to solve a problem I had. The formula is TRULY unique; there’s nothing like it on the market. The texture and performance are out of this world. It’s a healthy hair gel packed with rich butters and oils. This is something that you do not see on the market, especially with a gel product. It’s very innovative and maybe even a little ahead of its time.”
What has surprised you the most since starting your company?
“How challenging EVERYTHING is when you’re an underdog with little to no resources. Even something as simple as getting attention. You’d think once you have built something amazing, folks will want to come on board, but nope. Everyone does not come on board in the beginning when you’re building and could really use the help or visibility. They come AFTER you’ve done all of that work by yourself. It definitely humbles you. Well … at least, I think it should. It humbles me.”
What’s a lesson you’ve learned as a founder?
“You absolutely have to be resourceful. There’s so much information out there. You have to carve out time to seek the help you need by reading and researching. There’s not a huge need to rely on others to tell you what to do before you learn—it’s ALL on the ‘innanets’ now. I’ve built Adwoa Beauty from scratch. No help, no retail mentor, no investors, and now we’re sold in 100-plus Sephora stores and on Sephora .com. I’ve learned the entire process on my own, with the help of my team. You have to put in the work—physical, mental, and emotional.”
What can we expect in the future for Adwoa Beauty?
“To take the beauty world by storm, globally. Continue to create innovative formulas, top-notch marketing and branding, and provide excellent customer service. To give back to my community in meaningful and impactful ways in present circumstances. To be a voice and a leader for Black-owned brand founders, current, and to come.”
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