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Awa Mballo Tall, E-commerce and Cosmetics in Senegal

The AMFA group is in full expansion headed by a Senegalese woman who juggles several hats: business manager, wife, mother, sister. Today I present to you the boss lady behind AMFA!

In this article, Awa Mballo Tall talks to us about her journey, where she is today and gives us key points essential to getting started in E-commerce, and which make the success of her Amfa Beauty brand.

Awa Mballo Tall Today

She is a young female entrepreneur who wants to mark the world, a very simple person, yet very joyful! And that's what she tries to convey through her products and her brand.

“The products are very lively and colorful because I am like that. »

Another important point for her is that she works a lot with her family.

"On Amfa's photo campaigns, that's my sister; the website was made by my little brother, my niece manages the social networks, etc. But it's all very professional. My sister passed the casting to be accepted. As a legal advisor, she also takes care of drafting our contracts. But everything is framed within the framework of the workplace, they are employed and remunerated by the company. If I can give work to a member of my family, I do. »

She also has several other people from different backgrounds who work with her. The Amfa group has about thirty employees, the majority of whom are women. What allows her to manage the entire organization of the group is his “Support System”.

“I always say that I have the best husband in the world. Because without him none of this would be possible. The fact that he supports me... we chose the name together, the slogans, everything. When I do a shoot, if he doesn't validate, I don't post. He is a very present person! He is my economic and financial advise, my lawyer, etc. He really is the most important person in my system. »

Being also a mother of 2 little girls, it is difficult to always have time to be with them with such a busy job, but she spends as much time as possible with them.

“I hope that one day, if they go to great universities, that they will thank me when I succeed and they will be proud of me. But it's very difficult, there's a twinge in my heart when I can't be there all the time. »

Having studied in the legal field, she nevertheless made a 180 degree turn to do something that she is passionate about, hence the success of her projects.

“I parcoeurized a civil code for nothing. But today I am doing something that I love. And I want to show young people and women who are embarking on entrepreneurship that it is possible to achieve something. It's that simple. »

Amfa Beauty: from an e-commerce idea to an international brand

The Amfa Beauty brand has many clients abroad, including a strong Lebanese community here in Dakar as well as in Lebanon, and clientele in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi).

“I met a makeup artist by chance while traveling and offered her my products to try. And she happens to be a well-known makeup artist who takes care of big bolliwood stars. She works with women who have 20 to 30 million subscribers, the Indian population being huge. She used our products with her customers who liked it a lot and shared on social networks, it went from there. Since then, they regularly buy on our website. »

Getting started in E-commerce in Senegal

Human beings like to touch what they buy. Especially for makeup, people need to see and test to buy. This is why Amfa Beauty House was created.

Awa tells us about the African market in relation to e-commerce:

“I sell a lot abroad because I have people who have samples of my products abroad and who talk about it. Otherwise it wouldn't have been so easy.

Afterwards, if we are distributed by big names like Sephora, Galeries Lafayette, etc., it's different. Once you are on their site, it means that their customers are convinced that this product is of high quality, and will therefore buy easily online.»

But in Africa, it is very difficult to sell a product that you cannot touch. Afterwards, at Amfa, there are points of sale where you can test the products in Dakar and Ivory Coast, as well as people who have the products abroad (Lebanon, Dubai, etc.). The brand also occasionally does private sales in France. So people who buy often have already tested the products.

“We hope one day to be distributed by the big names and that will make things a lot easier. We are currently in full negotiations with a major distributor in France. »

To launch an e-commerce site, there are essential bases to have according to Awa:

  • a good infographer

  • a good site that works

  • a fast and efficient delivery system

  • And finally good communication!

The Senegalese consumes regardless of the budget he has. He likes to have new things (clothing, jewelry, accessories, makeup, etc.). So you have to find something that really interests them. You should not do a business just because someone has done it, because these are not the same realities or the same budgets. This is why many people fail. You have to do something that you love and find useful for society, regardless of the field, and there will always be customers who will follow.

The most important thing after all this is marketing: social networks are the basis! You have to make quality products and quality promotion.

"You can't invest a lot in the product and tell yourself that you're going to do a quick shoot. You have to highlight your product and invest to earn in return! Money calls money! »

The biggest challenge is to be able to surround yourself with the right people to work with. Human resources are a big problem in Senegal. You don't have to have any moods in business and above all be mentally strong.

Price policy

“For price versus customer, my strategy is that the price will always be as low as possible for the customer to have access to. As long as I meet my expenses, the price will be as low as possible. I'm not doing this to be rich. But it's still high end products. It will not be a low-end product since the product initially purchased will be more expensive than very low-end products.

But when you want to stay in the mid-range / high-end, you still have to pay the price. My first target is my current clientele. The customers who most often buy my products are students, women who have just entered the business world, people who do not have big wallets to buy these products. So, I will try to make them as accessible as possible for these women. »

Launching a brand of products

First, you have to think about structuring your ideas.

“I can wake up at 3am and write something. I have a lot of notebooks, diaries, etc. I write everywhere! I can open my bag and take a piece of paper to write because as soon as I think of something I write it automatically. »

Then, you just have to believe in yourself, avoid bad company and do with the budget you have. If you have the budget to make a gloss, you start with a gloss. Afterwards you can have the budget to make 2 glosses, and so on.

«I started with 2 lipsticks and a palette, which weren't even my formulas. Afterwards I was able to make my own formulas, then a whole line of make-up. Little by little, we are doing great things. »

To maintain the interest of the products, in addition to having good quality, you have to learn to reinvent yourself and innovate.

“The first thing I do when I create a product is think of my mother. She loved to wear makeup when we were little, every morning after her prayers. I wonder what she would use, what she would do. »

Awa is also inspired by what the big brands do through social networks.

"For me, we shouldn't look at what the local girlfriend is doing to imitate, but rather observe the people who have succeeded in our field and have been there for 50, 60 years. What new things have they released? Why did one product work better than another? etc… It is a constant work to be done and a lot of research.»

The future of Amfa Beauty

The next step for Amfa Beauty is to have a major distributor.

The brand aspires to sign and be distributed by giants like LVMH.

We talk about “black owned” business, and Amfa Beauty is a perfect example!

“A Made-in-Africa brand, made by a black African woman, and where everyone finds themselves, there are not many in Africa. The LVMH group must be interested in brands like us. Unfortunately, we don't necessarily have the resources to approach them. »

In the meantime, the Amfa group is a magnificent business model to draw inspiration from and develop a brand, whether in cosmetics or in any product creation that we want to market.

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