Young GenSan Entrepreneur Redefines the Men’s Personal Care Industry PH

A 33-year-old entrepreneur and marketer from General Santos City, who lost 11 outlets from his barber shop chain amid the pandemic, refused to give up. Relentless and persistent, he used the crisis as an opportunity to reinvent his business, leading to a direct-to-consumer retail model that is now disrupting the male personal care industry in the Philippines.

Noah Solutions Founder Ralph Layco

Ralph Oliver Layco is the founder of Noah Solutions which offers a wide range of products for men. Noah is considered by Lazada Philippines to be the top 4 personal care brands for men and by Shopee Philippines as one of the potential “motors of personal care for men”. Noah Solutions has emerged as a strong brand this year based on Layco’s in-depth understanding of the segment. A successful entrepreneur before the pandemic, he created Sonny & Marsha Holdings Inc., based in General Santos City, at a young age, which is behind several brands, including Macho Mucho Salon, Davao’s largest barber shop chain. City and all of Mindanao. He has received several awards such as the Most Outstanding Young Marketer in Asia 2019 from the Asian Marketing Federation and one of the Best Young Entrepreneurs in 2017 from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is a tourism provocateur, having helped rename SOCCSKSARGEN to SOX. Layco is also the founder of New Bold U, a one-week pop-up school for entrepreneurs and enthusiasts. He graduated from the University of the Philippines-Visayas with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration majoring in Marketing and Communications in 2010. He was awarded the 2009 Philippine Marketing Most Outstanding Marketing Student Award in the Philippines. Association. Layco’s businesses were doing well until the pandemic hit the country in 2020 and forced the government to restrict mobility and close commercial establishments such as barber shops. “Initially, I was scratching myself with my own itches when I thought about a way for us to get back on the horse, as our current activities were affected by the pandemic. After losing 11 branches last year, we were challenged but nonetheless became relentless to start over in a new space, ”Layco said in an email interview.
Personal experience

“Growing up, I suffered from bullying because I had severe acne and acne marks. I also suffered from the hair loss triggered by the pandemic. Rather than tackling these challenges with emotion, I used my product development hat and learned formulations and ingredients, worked with teams of chemists to tackle these challenges as men today. hui also cross, ”he said. “I have used my past and current struggles in a creative challenge. I believe that today’s men, represented by Millennials and Gen Z, who make up 75 percent of the Filipino market, respect continuous innovation and also seek out authentic and fresh brands that are in the personal care stories. , inclusion and demystification of outdated models of life. , says Layco. “As a millennial myself, I want to live in a world where men are not marketed with stories of objectifying women and putting women to bed,” but stories of self-improvement, growth. and reinvention. This is what we are trying to build on a day to day basis through Noah Solutions, ”he says.


Layco tries to move away from the label of “entrepreneur” and believes it is his curiosity to find solutions to everyday problems that has brought him to where he is now. “I just consider myself to be a rather curious person. I have naturally come to see problems as opportunities since I was 10 years old. I am amazed by the real exchange of value, from a unique offer that ends up enriching the customer. I sold Power Rangers playing cards when I was 10, ”he says. He started his business when he was 21. “I borrowed money from my father to start a chain of hair salons. I have finally started different businesses since then, from a flight aggregator app to magazine publishing. I’ve been through multiple setbacks which I think have prepared me and made me resilient and allowed me to understand what ideas and business models are working and not working, ”he says. When the pandemic derailed most businesses, Layco looked at the DTC or direct-to-consumer model that sells products directly to the consumer, skipping the wholesaler, retailer or middleman in the process, making it less dependent on third. He says it allows for a more enriched customer experience, increased opportunities for SKUs or product offerings.

“This paves the way for more innovation, which isn’t limited to retail shelves. It also allows companies like ours to truly offer customers niches with more customer service as today’s market is crowded with pioneers and larger cap companies, ”he said. Since the launch of Noah Solutions in January 2021, the company has taken off quickly and achieved national exposure, thanks to online shopping platforms. “We’ve grown by 1,300% since we started nine months ago, with over 20,000 customers and it’s not over yet. We reach over 400 orders per day with a retention rate of over 60%, ”says Layco. Noah Solutions is now the fourth men’s personal care brand on Lazada, after multinationals such as Nivea, Unilever and P&G. Layco links Noah’s success to his understanding of men’s changing preferences. “First of all, we strongly differentiate Noah because our mission is to reinvent the ‘men care’ space, not just an afterthought or brand extension. Men today are different from 10 years ago. They are more value oriented, they read the label first before buying. They first check the integrity of brands online before building loyalty. They listen to the experts and openly discuss issues like skin care and even mental health. This is something new ten years ago, ”he says. “Men’s needs have always been the same, but their way of life, their goals and their values ​​are changing and different. We reverse engineer that information and truly focus it on the products we create and the messages we communicate. Plus, we’ve improved our customer service experience, making it more personal and responsive. Rather than simple transactions, we believe in lifelong relationships with our customers, ”says Layco. “With Noah as the innovator of the men’s skincare space, we have a great opportunity to serve the market versus other brands that add ‘men’ to the brand and often see men as a reflection. after the fact, ”he says.
Continuous growth

Layco expects this segment to keep growing in the coming years as the personal care (skin care to hair care) market in the Philippines is expected to reach $ 2.4 billion by 2025. Value of 35 billion euros. In 2015, the men’s personal care space has tripled and will grow many fold, especially with the emergence of the Gen Z market, ”he said. This will also be supported by the growth of the e-commerce sector. The Philippine e-commerce market was valued at $ 3 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $ 12 billion by 2025. Layco says that over the next two years, they plan to increase Noah’s product segments, to become a major player in personal care. space and be known as a company of innovations. “Our goals are to expand our product portfolio to meet strong customer needs and to be a leading brand for Gen Z and Millennial men,” he said. “Next year, we will be offering innovative products for hair care, hair loss, nutrition and even sexual health, using internationally available and highly effective formulations. We see that there aren’t many strong brand leaders in said categories dedicated to younger men and we think we could lead this space with our intention of innovation and genuine care with a wise brand message. “, did he declare. “We also plan to be available at partner physical superstores where appropriate so that we can be increasingly accessible and convenient for our market and other customers in areas inaccessible by current couriers,” Layco says. “Noah isn’t just a skin care brand that people are familiar with now. It is a company of innovations that will encompass more areas of male needs. The well-being of our customers is our business. Without a strong and reliable leading brand in many men’s skincare segments, Noah has great potential with its speed of innovation and current DTC / e-commerce installation to meet the growing needs of our customers wherever they are. found in the country, ”he said.

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