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Ralph Layco is a 29- year old Filipino serial entrepreneur, marketing expert and an expert disruptor. He is currently founder of a million-dollar company, SAM Holdings he co-founded with his sister managing brands he started, Macho Mucho Salon For Men, HairFood Co., Crown & Glory, Patriot Coffee, Goodtimes Pomade and more personal care brands. He has created more than 30+ personal care products and help aspiring entrepreneurs find their gift too working with the country’s trade department.
He’s best known in his work as a cultural provocateur in the southern Philippines having renamed an entire region, Sox/Soccsskargen and branding the biggest beach festival in the country, SarBay Fest.
Yaman Gensan, #1 Most Oustanding Entrepreneur in the Philippines 2017
One of the 5 Most Outstanding Young Entrepreneurs, awarded by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry 2016
One of the Country’s Marketing Maverick, Philippine MArketing Association, 2014
#1 Most Outstanding Marketing Student, Philippine Marketing Association 2009
City where you’re from: General santos city
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”- Jack Kerouac
Tell us about Sonny And Marsha Holdings, Inc. managing brands he founded Macho Mucho, HairFood Co., Crown & Glory, Patriot Coffee and NewBold How did you come up with this idea?
I started being an entrepreneur not originally to be one but because I am naturally deeply empathic about people’s needs, what makes them tick, what they yearn for. Understanding these, I’m drawn to solving people’s needs so they can lead better lives. I see creating businesses as not only an expression of my talents and obsessions of finding the “solution” but also because this is a way to give birth to the ideal. How customers SHOULD be served, how they deserve the ultimate solution, how can we do things the right way others are not doing right. It’s this service of justice that made me inclined to start businesses.
How did you promote your company in the early days?
I have tons of businesses so each one has their own way of being sold. When one start a brand, it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility to do so to create unique value. When you mix unique, helpful value and also amazing, divine branding, these mix up the chemicals of the customers. They become naturally allured to the business or should I say, the solution. It’s dressed the way they like it, it communicates to their desires and it serves their need.
Marketing channels like radio and PR were really just extra to increase awareness. Your awareness curve expedite when you have active advocacy from people.
How have you been able to grow your business? Go specific.
Ralph Layco: One must create a good foundation before they scale. Scaling businesses are given when you have a profitable, validated businesses. When you start a business, it’s very important to pair up with someone who balances your weakness. In my case, my co-founder, my sister made it smooth for the company to grow because the unsexy part of it, from operations to spreadsheets were handled by her.
-Ensure that the business model works well with your ideal future for the company. Is your model scalable? Does it provide the desired impact you wanted? Are you working with the right partners or people?
-See big picture. The growth of a company is about nurturing potential
-People. It’s important to hire really good people. Declare your company’s values from early on, the kind of work expected from them. They are the blood of the company, treat them right and provide them growth and they will definitely make everything fluid.
How did Macho Mucho start? How did you market it? (specific)
Ralph Layco: Macho Mucho was a solution I created scratching my own itch. With the evolving needs of the modern men, there’s an opportunity in serving the gap between barbershops (an old hair grooming model and salons, mostly a feminine setup) Macho Mucho is a hybrid barbershop-salon for the modern man who deserve better service and a better environment that reflects their values in life.
I started it in Gensan and it flopped after a year because of bad location. After two years, I started again in Gensan and it worked well. We expanded to Davao and it became a perfect match and has since gone viral. Macho Mucho will be 10 branches in total by Q3.
– What are the top 3 things that changed the way you do business?
- In business, producing extraordinary solutions are a given. But branding/masterful positioning is the magic. Capture the imagination of the target market, communicate their desires, validate their lifestyle and the values of the target market and position your brand unfairly to the competitors and you win by design.
- You don’t create businesses to work in it but ON it. We are trying to overcome the limiting belief that the owners should be inside the office all the time. I’ve learned that you have to zoom out and reassess why you’re in business. We are in business to earn FREEDOM too. So creating systems are very important in the business where you as the owner is not part of the system, where people are not reliant to your function so that it can run smooth.
- Here’s the key in creating surefire successful businesses: Create businesses that are highly disruptive. Innovations are not all disruptive, they are just “better”. Better is relative, but disruptive shakes things. Make the competition irrelevant by offering solid services that competitors can’t compete on directly. Be in the business really to create a new market.
What do you think you do better than most people? How are you able to do it?
Ralph Layco: My ability to see POTENTIAL in what could be commonly seen as a regular thing, place, product or human being. My imagination runs wild when I see potential. It’s my gift. I try to dissect, reimagine and introduce possibilities and match it with empathy or what I call relational designing.
What are some of the best books you’ve ever read?
The 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson
The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani
Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
Willpower isn’t Enough by Benjamin Hardy
Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout
How do you see yourself in the future?
My dream is to make SAM Asia an innovations company that incubates businesses that are disruptive and solves global problems especially in health and personal growth categories.
Some facts about SAM Asia;
-I founded the company with my sister, Helen Kaye Layco
-Brands We Own: Macho Mucho Salon For Men, HairFood Co., Crown & Glory, GoodTimes Men Pomade, Cacai Hair, Patriot Coffee
-We have currently 19 total stores; 11 HairFood Co., 8 Macho Mucho shops with shops in Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and its hometown, General Santos
-We currently employ more than 80 employees
Human Consciousness and Personal growth
From events organising, magazine publishing, his first barbershop, an online startup and small projects in between, Ralph bravely mentions his long list of failures.
“I was a mess and a public failure. I felt like a big mistake and was depressed for months after consecutive failures. Having had a good education, a supportive family and ambition, why was I failing?”
Early on, like any passionate kid, he wanted to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs with a dash of Tony Stark personality.
With these successful people as his career goals, he mentioned that he later on realised that he is unlike them (after years of denial)
He had an early diagnosis of his former self as an “undiagnosed ADD with heavy talent on branding and marketing but zero skills on operations and HR and anything that is routinary”
Having failed countless of times in the early years of his career, he discovered that zeroing in on yourself is THE BIGGEST HACK in the path to success. Not to be like the celebrities or the IG influencer or the popular success story but to be unlike them as much as possible. The common thread amongst all successful people is they have nothing in common.
The ultimate goal then is to be “the highest expression of our unique selves”.
This is not coming from a place of arrogance, or reassurance but revelation.
And this was deeply interesting to him because this insight helped him create massive success in a short amount of time. Not in any narcissistic way, but because he believe now that social reformation begins — always starts with the individual.
He realised that this must be infused in universities or before anyone even attempts to decide his grand career. People’s choice for their career has a big impact in their happiness and overall success in work and in life.
People try to look outward from themselves but it’s really when we go back inward and start there that we find confidence to live life, owning their DNA, their life story and their strengths. “People must go back home, back themselves”
This became his grand work, five years in the making. “This secret or underestimated code must be told once and for all. The reason we have an imbalanced society is people are struggling to express their gifts because they don’t even know if it’s the right path to take”
“But it IS the path to take or highly consider. The truth is no one can’t fight nature. Then the ultimate path then is to Nurture Your Nature.”
Ralph Layco is now finishing a much-needed framework entitled Born Original, a course that doesn’t only help a person learn about his strengths and his gifts but also the mindset shifts, tools to guide people to own their story, alter unnecessary conditioning by society and build on their gifts so they can live an empowered, authentic life”
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.-Howard Thurman”