When he was much younger, Brian Baylosis, the 22-year-old CEO and Founder of Man Pomade and Gears Corporation, was already fond of experimenting with different hairstyles. He had his hair shaved, grew it long, cut it short, sported emo bangs, and even once had a mohawk. It's safe to say that, even as a kid, he was not afraid to take risks, always game to experiment with his mane. The problem was, back then, men's grooming products were very limited. There were so many haircuts and hairstyles to try, yet, there weren't too many hair products specifically made for men.
"Before, I used clay, wax, and gels," Brian tells FHM.com.ph. "But as I grew older, I became curious with what oldies called pomada. So when my cousin asked me to try it, I obliged, and true enough, I was satisfied. I used it every day since then. Then one day, an idea came to me, 'What is pomade and what if I make some on my own? I researched, sought help from professionals, and eventually, Man Pomade was born."
Two years ago, Brian started building the business all by himself. Driven and determined to succeed, he used the knowledge he'd learned studying business at De La Salle Lipa to fuel his passion.
"Mag-isa lang ako nung simula kasi ayaw pa maniwala ng parents ko na papatok yung pomade business. Binigyan lang nila ako ng puhunan, tapos ako na bahala sa lahat, he remembers. I started selling my products online. I created an Instagram account and Facebook page for it. Dati I would do meet-ups sa Batangas City and distribute my product sa mga local barbershops. Naalala ko dati nung meet-ups, naghihintay ako for two hours para lang sa isang customer na bibili ng isang product, yung smallest pa."
From his backyard to the big malls
The young boss started the business in their backyard. "I remember, sa simpleng kawali pa kami nag-be-brew ng pomade nun, he fondly recalls. But through the years, the demand for his product has increased, forcing him to hire more people and open two workstations, one in Batangas and another in Manila.
My parents were shocked with the sales. Kahit ako di ko in-expect na dadami yung orders. Dahil sa lakas ng demand, we decided to put up a store sa Taft, sa tapat lang ng DLSU. Noong opening day, nakakagulat kasi yung pila hanggang sa labas ng building. Ako pa mismo ang nag-cashier noon.
In September of 2016, Brian opened two branches in SM Sta. Rosa and SM North to test if his pomade could actually compete with other more popular products. True enough, there was a growing market of grooming-obsessed men to be tapped. Sales were beyond good. There were also a number of franchising inquiries. Most of them were and still are shocked to know that the big man behind the business is only 22 years old.
The sticky, sleek secret formula
Baylosis says it's hard to determine what exactly makes a hair product great. With so many choices in the market, it's hard to figure out what will suit your hair best. Some like a shinier look, while others prefer matte. Ingredients used also factor in to a customer's choice; oil-based and water-based being the most popular. Then there's also the level of hold and stickiness, which ultimately determines if the style will survive the elements of a full workday. Baylosis knows that there are numerous factors to consider and that's where his products comes in.
"Maybe the reason why they love our product is that, maliban sa effective ito, ay napapaganda rin ang buhok nila," he explains. "I made sure that the formula that we created suits any type of hair, and won't leave your hair damaged, unlike yung ibang products na nakakasira ng buhok. Iba pa rin kasi pag di lang maayos yung buhok mo tingnan, kundi maayos din ito pag hinawakan at binanlawan mo na yung pomade. Para na rin silang nagpapa-hair treatment pag gumagamit sila ng Man Pomade."
Man Pomade has gained a cult following among grooming-loving Pinoys online, thanks in large part to various forums and websites that have featured their products. "We are really thankful for all the positive reviews sa Internet," he shares. "Kundi dahil sa kanila, and sa word of mouth, di naman makikilala ang Man Pomade."
When asked what makes a hair product, specifically Man Pomade, stand out, he presented the following criteria: First, it should be easy to apply. Dapat, na sa fingers mo pa lang, nararamdaman mo na okay ang texture niya, okay ang amoy, at tama lang yung pagkalagkit niya. Second, it should help you achieve the hairstyle you want. Dapat flexible siya na pwede mo magawa kahit anong style na gusto mo. Third, it should be easy to rinse. It should leave no hard-to-remove residue on your hair. Fourth, it should be long-lasting. "You just need to apply once and that's it! No need to retouch." Last but not the least, it should also take care of your hair. "It should have no harmful chemicals, and shouldn't leave your hair dry, brittle, or irritated."
He also proudly adds that Man Pomade products are made from local organic materials, such as virgin coconut oil and jojoba oil.
"I'm not into the business for the money. Gusto ko lang talaga na merong choice ang mga lalaki na magandang product for them. And gusto ko makatulong sa local industry. Kaya kung tatanungin niyo ako, ang secret lang sa pomade na ito ay passion, and I want to make the country proud."
Started from the bottom now he's (pardon the pun) hair
In the last two years, the business has clearly attained a level of success with its over 190,000 Facebook likes, 14,000 Instagram followers, and 20 branches nationwide.
"I've always wanted to venture into business. And since there's a growing demand for men's grooming products, I just decided to give it a try."
At 22 years old, the young CEO has proven that, with focus, you can be successful and mold your life into something greater.
"I think everybody deserves to look good and feel good. I want to make a competitive Filipino-made grooming products that we can showcase worldwide. Products that we can be proud of. I believe that as long as you have the passion and the drive to succeed, you can achieve the things you want in life."
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This story originally appeared on Fhm.com.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors.