Men into self-care, too; this entrepreneur banks on it
When entrepreneur Ralph Layco lost 11 outlets of his barber shop chain to the lockdowns brought on by the pandemic, he knew he needed to adapt.
Without steering away from his advocacy to continuously challenge masculinity norms, he decided to be a purveyor of personal care products for men by co-founding Noah Solutions.
From being a no-name brand in 2020, Noah Solutions has steeply climbed in the third top spot of personal care brands for men in the largest e-commerce website in Southeast Asia.
For Layco, this is just the start.
“Growing up, I was insecure and lacked confidence. When I started this brand with my sister, I really wanted it to be more inclusive and reflect the different spectrum of masculinity. We want to challenge and elevate the conversations when it comes to men’s problems,” the 33-year-old entrepreneur says.
Layco personally experienced the limited offering of personal care products for men and wanted to create a solution by creating a skin and hair care line specifically for men.
With men’s grooming gaining widespread popularity, thanks to a more inclusive cultural shift, Layco took advantage of the opportunity.
From receiving 20 orders a day, Noah Solutions started booking 30,000 orders a month 10 months after launch. In fact, just one month after it started distribution, the brand reached P1 million in total sales and served over 10,000 customers in over six months.
Layco is no stranger to putting up various ventures, being the man behind Sonny & Marsha Holdings Inc. Under it are several brands including Macho Mucho Salon, the largest barber shop chain in Davao City.
He is also the founder of New Bold U, a week-long pop-up school for entrepreneurs and passionate individuals.
Noah Solutions’ direct-to-consumer retail model is propelled by strong customer service, says Layco, adding that all representatives are educated about the products.
The brand’s line includes Niacinamide face bars (their bestseller), oil regulator toner, glow boost serum, pomades, and antihair loss serum.
They are also developing a wide range of products that could address erectile dysfunction, nutrition problems, anxiety, and depression to help erase the stigma that comes with these challenges.
“I think Noah is an outlier in the market space because we actually reflect the evolving and changing demographic of men. These are men that no longer feel the need to abide by the norm where they always have to be strong and [display] machismo. These are men who are into self-care,” Layco says.
“We’d like to usher these changes and help our customers improve their well-being. For example, when we talk of erectile dysfunction, it’s all about sex when it is not. We want our customers to feel that when they purchase something for us, they are understood. We’re also about educating them as well,” he adds.
Although Noah Solutions is based in General Santos City, most of its customers are GenZs and millennials living in Metro Manila.
Going into 2022, Layco says his group is looking to build the first “mega” store at SM Megamall to touch base with customers in the capital, as well as further elevate the brand into a household name by partnering with celebrities and ambassadors.
The entrepreneur is also looking to bring Noah Solutions to North America next year through the Bespoke Post Boxes, an elite monthly subscription box service for men.
“If I’m going to create a brand, I’m going to create it with all my heart. This sounds like a banner statement but for us, this is really more than just a purchase,” says Layco.