Franchise Talk: This Davao-Based Barbershop Proves That It’s Okay to be Macho in an Industry of Chic
Macho Mucho started in General Santos City and expanded to Davao City. It now has seven branches
The men’s grooming industry has experienced a surge in sales in recent years according to a Euromonitor report from March 2016. About 3,000 households in urban and rural areas were surveyed and the views expressed were that they “wanted more gender specific products and were willing to spend more on these.”
With a cornucopia of beautifying products and procedures for men, including facials, shampoos, deodorants, fragrances—sales of which all increased—the challenge for the ordinary guy is where to go for more of these. The floodgates of beauty possibilities have been opened.
It used to be that chaps had only two choices: to go to the traditional barbershop, where services were limited, or to spas and salons where there were more options for grooming services but which still looked “womanly” in branding and ambiance, thus intimidating men.
But those days are long gone.
From brick-and-mortar barber shops and unisex salons, there are now more and more spas and salons catering exclusively to men, many of them with a masculine ambiance that is chic, affordable and inviting at the same time. This new breed of men’s salons has become a big industry today.
Ralph Layco was inspired to strategically position a business to address the needs of modern men. “The barbershop concept is limiting since it was designed to address a specific but outdated niche,” he says. “Men are now more adventurous when it comes to haircuts and styles. They like services with flair.”
Macho Mucho offers services like the Beer Hour and Boss Special (5-in-1 services, including haircut, shampoo, blow dry, hot towel massage, face shave) as well as hair and scalp treatments performed by experienced stylists
His vision was brought to life with the opening of the “The Patrons” No. 1 Barbershop in Davao called Macho Mucho.
“At Macho Mucho, we fused the barbershop concept with the salon concept so that men feel comfortable being themselves in a masculine, urban-industrial designed shop, replete with all the grooming services they need,” Layco says.
Macho Mucho belongs to this innovative category in the beauty business, making sure that all aspects of its physical store, products, services, barbers, stylists and attendants project only the best and create a welcoming atmosphere for men to want to come in and enjoy their pampering services. Brand-building is done through millennial marketing communications and service innovations. Though defying the industry norms of a barbershop, Macho Mucho is able to supply what the market demands.
For Layco, Macho Mucho is a “blue ocean,” which means it is positioned as something that is irrelevant to its competitors. “We are not apples to apples with any salon or barbershop brand. Our shops are designed not to look like the regular barbershop with white walls or a salon, which can be for women, too. We top it off with great music, coffee, a newspaper or reading materials and great customer service.”
The highly trained barbers execute out-of-the-box innovations like the Beer Hour and Boss Special (5-in-1 services, including haircut, shampoo, blow dry, hot towel massage, face shave). There is a service called Happy Feet done by skilled attendants, while hair and scalp treatments are performed by experienced stylists. All services are available in the company’s seven branches spread out in Mindanao and Luzon (Laguna and NCR). Soon to open are two more outlets in the second quarter of 2018.
Macho Mucho's owners say the barbershop is now open for franchising
To further ensure that there is something for every male customer’s experience, each shop has two formats—premiere and original. Premiere is a combination of a barbershop, spa, and salon, while the original is a traditional barbershop with a bar counter serving beer, coffee and light snacks. There is even a Macho Mucho Junior to serve the grooming needs of young boys.
The success of Macho Mucho can be attributed to its unique stand-out concept. For such a young brand, it has already received numerous awards. In 2015, GoNegosyo announced it would “disrupt the barbershop industry” and presented it with the award for Best Concept, besting 60 other national entries. Truly, Macho Mucho has come a long way from its roots in General Santos City.
Today, the company is experiencing another breakthrough. After receiving numerous inquiries from clients from Gensan and Davao City, Kaye Layco, the current CEO and Ralph’s sister, says they are now looking into franchising the brand.
“We now have the confidence in our system,” she says. “To create an impact on more men, I think franchising Macho Mucho is the way to go. This way, we multiply repeat purchases, which redounds to more business success. In the service industry, once you meet a client’s initial expectations, they will trust you more and come back for repeat service and embrace other services.
“Also, accountability is the best credibility builder,” she adds. “This principle has guided us through the years. For example, if a client’s expectations were not met for whatever reasons, they do not have to pay for it or we give them a free service. We also have a customer service hotline that addresses clients' complaints. Hence, from a mere, cold business deal with day-to-day transactions only, we prefer a human-centered or customer-centric business. We express that we care. We are in the business of caring and transforming men.”
Sam Christopher Lim is the Chief Marketing Officer of Francorp Philippines; President of U-Franchise Sales & Management; and Chairperson and Director for ASEAN of the Philippine Franchise Association.