The Refined Lifestyle Lounge for Gentlemen

The Refined takes pride in being a community for CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs, and the like. It is a cross between a bar, a retail store, a barbershop, a spa, and a co-working space.

It all started when founder, Noel Naguiat was based in Toronto working in the advertising industry. “I was actually born in the Philippines but moved to Toronto when I was four years old. I studied to be an art director in advertising and eventually landed a job in that industry. I did that for twenty years,” he recalled. He eventually moved up the corporate ladder and became a creative director. Midway through his career, he got what they call an entrepreneurial itch. “That was my tenth year in the advertising industry and I realized that I wanted to put up my own business. I opened Mankind Grooming Studio for Men, the first men’s salon in Toronto. Like it literally was the first one and our competitors were barber shops that were your typical corner barber shops and female salons. When I say female salons, it’s because a lot of women go there even if it’s open for men. A lot of guys don’t feel comfortable going there so that’s where I saw that there was a market for an all men’s place,” he shared. Noel eventually sold his shares to focus on his job as a creative director.

Founder Noel Naguiat

He visited the Philippines back and forth to party and nothing more than that. It was in a golf session with his brother-in-law from the Philippines that gave him an idea on how the economy was in the country. “I visited Manila two months after our conversation. I realized that there is a huge economic boom here. The whole startup game is just starting right now,” he shared.

The Refined was finally launched in December 2017. “It’s called The Refined because it’s the next level version of Mankind. It isn’t just a typical barber shop for men. It’s more than that. It’s a place to build  connections because through that, we are able to grow together, work together, support each other, and hopefully build the Philippines as a first world nation,” he pointed out. A majority of their members are expats, foreigners, and balikbayans. “When I say balikbayans, those who have studied and worked abroad but are back in the country to share what they have learned from North America and Europe and implementing that style of work to the country’s economy,” he added. They also partnered with retailers such as Masanting Sastreria for bespoke suits, Sapatero Manila for bespoke shoes, Dant shoes, and School Satchel. †The Refined was finally launched in December 2017. “It’s called The Refined because it’s the next level version of Mankind. It isn’t just a typical barber shop for men. It’s more than that. It’s a place to build  connections because through that, we are able to grow together, work together, support each other, and hopefully build the Philippines as a first world nation,” he pointed out. A majority of their members are expats, foreigners, and balikbayans. “When I say balikbayans, those who have studied and worked abroad but are back in the country to share what they have learned from North America and Europe and implementing that style of work to the country’s economy,” he added. They also partnered with retailers such as Masanting Sastreria for bespoke suits, Sapatero Manila for bespoke shoes, Dant shoes, and School Satchel.

The Refined works through a Membership Program, which currently has 175 members. However, Noel mentioned that they will be capping it to maintain their customer service. “We accept walk ins but eventually, they will need to join the membership to enjoy our facilities and services,” he shared. Members enjoy perks such as unlimited haircuts that include scalp treatment, facials, massages, shoe shine, and a cocktail drink. They also get one free spa every month, unlimited access to the lounge area and twenty percent discount in the bar. Membership is only 2750 pesos monthly. “It’s cheaper than a cup of coffee a day—here, you get unlimited coffee per month,” he added.  They also launched a mobile application exclusive for members. “Members can conveniently book their appointments, check events, and communicate with others through the app. We’re really creating a brotherhood and fraternity of business guys,” he pointed out.

The success of The Refined has inspired Noel to expand and create something similar for women as well.  “We’re opening Maven—it’s just like The Refined but exclusive for women. It’s next level. We got a bigger space for the spa, salon, bar, lounge area, meeting areas, and co-working spaces. Basically, you can have a hot desk for your membership. Our membership is monthly as well and there are three tiers. Tier 1 consists of unlimited manicure and pedicure, one free massage, one free wellness service (like acupuncture), twenty percent off the bar, the use of the lounge area, unlimited coffee, use of the meeting rooms all for 8,000 pesos. We also have day rates for nonmembers who want to use the co-working space. I have a team of women running this whole thing because it should be women driven,” he shared.

The lounge area
Members get discount from the bar

Aside from Noel’s experience in advertising, what brought him to where he is today is his grit and perseverance. It took a lot of courage for him to leave his life in Toronto and open a business in Manila. When asked what advice he can give millennials who are afraid to do what they want to do he said, “you need to let go of the fear of failure.  People say they don’t want to fail but you will fail. It’s going to happen but it’s how you fail that’s important. If you fail then quit then you are a failure. But if you fail and learn from it, fix it, and move forward—you actually become stronger. If you’re afraid to fail, you are going to be afraid to try. Young entrepreneurs need to let go of that. You have to let go of expectations because you cannot control that. Don’t focus on the competitor and just focus on yourself.”

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/therefinedph/

Instagram: therefinedph

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s