Macho Mucho: The Balance Between a Unique Vision and Exemplary Execution

December 8th, 2016

Two is definitely better than one in the case of the award-winning barbershop Macho Mucho by siblings Ralph and Kaye Layco. Go Negosyo crossed paths with these two at last year’s Youth Entrepreneurship Development Workshop (YEDW), a project in partnership with the U.S. Embassy, wherein Kaye ultimately took home one of the top prizes. Today, their verging enterprise is taking the men’s grooming services and products by storm – filling up a market that few entrepreneurs have successfully garnered or even considered.

The vision behind Macho Mucho was Ralph’s initial problem with finding the ideal and affordable barbershop for men like him. This frustration turned into the inception of Macho Mucho – a hybrid barbershop that combines the masculine and detailed stylings of high-end barbershops and the service & pampering that salons offer, all at an affordable price.

Packed with this vision and the marketing experience, there was only one thing that stopped Ralph from making Macho Mucho a success: the operational know-how. This problem pervaded in his other initial business ventures as well. He shares that it led him to an existential crisis, “I asked – why were my businesses failing?”

Siblings Ralph and Kaye Layco. Photo courtesy of Entrepreneur.

Siblings Ralph and Kaye Layco. Photo courtesy of Entrepreneur.

Enter in his younger sister, Kaye – an industrial engineer and natural problem-solver. She never saw herself owning a business but a slip of fate and extra cash led her into the world of entrepreneurship – becoming the essential piece missing in Macho Mucho’s success.
With Ralph’s marketing prowess and Kaye’s knack for operations, the pair decided to team up and formed what would eventually become SAM Asia, Inc.

With Ralph in charge of marketing and Kaye at the head of operations, the two proved to be an unstoppable duo. The siblings’ respective strengths were brought to a new level upon collaboration – leading them to commercial success first in General Santos and then in Davao.

However, the two believe it was their involvement with Go Negosyo that served as their launch pad to greater success. It doesn’t happen all that often wherein a brand from the provinces is able to successfully enter the very competitive Manila market. But armed with a unique vision matched with exemplary execution, Macho Mucho has proven itself to be a force to be reckoned with especially when they joined YEDW.

“Go Negosyo took away a lot of our doubts – it made us feel that we are capable. We had a probinsyano complex before – we thought our reach was only in Mindanao. It was during YEDW when we talked with the mentors and our peers that we realized we could make it in Manila,” Kaye shared.

Today, Macho Mucho has expanded to Manila with a franchise in SM North EDSA already running and one in Mckinley Business Center about to open soon – something the two Mindanao natives consider a personal success.

“We used to get comments from our earlier customers in Mindanao that they thought we were a franchise from Manila and even from abroad, which we chalked up as just compliments but not something we could achieve,” Kaye shares.

Ralph believes that the validation they received in the Go Negosyo community proved to be invaluable in expanding their business. “But it’s not because of pride or ego. It’s more of the consistent network of support that celebrated what we were doing and showed us we weren’t alone in our struggles.”

Kaye was also grateful for the wisdom mentors imparted to them. “A lot of what the mentors share is inspiring and practical. But I remember Sir Edwin To (Owner, Budgetwise) and his talk on business being about practice and innovation. It really taught me that success doesn’t happen overnight.”

Ralph happily shares that they’re passed the point of doubting. “At the start it’s natural to have lots of doubts. But thankfully we’ve found a formula that works for us. So, we’re now at the point where we can be more creative and think about our social impact.”

Looking forward, the future looks bright for the Layco siblings.

“We have this vision of waving the Filipino flag – we want to dream big and go global. Also, in some way, we want to do what Go Negosyo has done for entrepreneurs like us. We want to validate other young people’s ideas – that they can do what we were able to,” Ralph shares.

Kaye added that although the vision of going global seems farfetched right now, she will do what she does best by stitching everything together for the bigger picture. “We have a small, but talented and driven team. We have a vision; we stick to it but we also play around with it. I see my role in that – being the one to put everything together and keeping my team in line.”