Machado Men’s Grooming is a small Irish start-up based in Portlaoise, Co. Laois, which was founded by Síle Headen.

Speaking to EVOKE.ie about her business, Síle revealed she was inspired to set up the brand after attending a Beauty & Well-being trade show in Germany in 2016.

She said: ‘I noticed a real lack of high quality men’s products in the marketplace. I was working for a company developing natural female cosmetic products at the time and was immersed in a world full of high quality products for women but when it came to high quality men’s products there was very little available.’

‘I started researching men’s skincare needs and well-being. I decided to formulate some products just for men.’

As for the brand name, Síle said the inspiration came from her partner and creative director Joáo’s surname ‘Machado’, which means axe in Portuguese.

‘The biggest learning curve for me as a businesswoman was that while the formulation and manufacturing of the products came naturally to me the marketing side was not as natural.’

‘I had to get out of the lab and market the business. I am not shy but marketing new products is time consuming and costly.’

‘Luckily, eBay approached us in January to take part in their Retail Expansion Programme which I jumped at immediately because I knew the support they were offering would be invaluable to us as a brand in the long term.’

eBay’s Retail Expansion Programme supports up to 50 Irish companies by opening up opportunities with 179 million buyers across the 190 markets in which eBay operates.

Describing the brand, Síle said: ‘Machado men’s grooming is a new Irish brand which focuses on high quality and functional products for men.’

‘The Machado range so far consists of beard oils, beard balm, shaving soap, rescue balm and gift sets.’

‘The products are made using natural and sustainable ingredients and are free from SLS, parabens, mineral oil, artificial fragrances & silicone.’

‘Our signature scent of Myrtle oil lends a clean fresh and uplifting scent to the range. Our products help condition and sooth both beard and skin. The balms control unruly beard hair while the oils are great for the skin.’

‘Machado is different as the business is focused on developing products specifically for men which are natural, high quality, no-nonsense and value for money.’

As for her best business advice, Síle said she was told ‘to be careful with how you spend money as a start-up’.

‘You may feel like you need to spend thousands on having your packaging perfected or tempted to having the best web designer in the country do your website but it may not be the best way to be using funds. Unexpected costs pop up regularly so start out lean is the best advice I received.’

The most rewarding moment so far for Síle has been winning the ‘Business Innovative Award’ in the County Laois Awards for the National Enterprise Awards.

‘It is nice to get recognition for all the hard work that goes into developing a business and especially an award for innovation as it shows what we are doing is authentic, innovative and original.’

As for advice for other women seeking to start their own business, Síle says support is key and to ‘trust your gut and be your true self’.

Machado Men’s Grooming products are available from their website: www.machado.ie and on www.ebay.ie.

As for their ‘best seller’, Síle said the rescue balm is a hit with customers, with many people using it as a lip balm, for chapped hands, cracked heels and as an after shaving healing balm.

Her plans for the future involve increasing brand awareness in 2019 and launching some new products, as well as launching a vegan range.

‘As we are part of the National Biodiversity Pollinator Plan it is important to us to not only expand on sales but to also expand on how to be a sustainable environmentally responsible business.’

Someday soon you might be seeing Machado Men’s Grooming products being sold all around the world!

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