Confident and cool. This is how I would describe Andrew Baltazar, one of my close friends and business partner. Andrew’s gift is that he can sell anything to any one. He is one of the best sales people that I have ever met. The thing with Andrew though is that he hardly talks about himself and about all of the experiences that he has gone through. He’d rather listen to your stories than talking about his own. I know this fact, since it was only recently that I really got to know more about the things that he has went through and all of the challenges and obstacles that he had to overcome to get to where he is right now. After more than a year of friendship , I have to admit that I have learned a lot from this crazy dreamer. I decided to interview him so that you, too, can learn from this inspiring entrepreneur.

Andrew or “Dru” as we fondly call him is a the founder of Urbane, an organic hair loss prevention tonic for men. He is also the business owner of a few start-ups and a consultant for a research firm. He lives a busy and active life, constantly juggling professional and personal tasks. He is constantly on the go so it will be hard to catch him in just one place. He also a member of social organizations, offers charity assistance, joins networking events and does other thing that enables him to meet other people. He has a son, Joshua, and a girlfriend whom he says “If I play my cards right, I wish to marry sooner rather than later.”

“I must have switched jobs at least a dozen times before finding the thing that I love doing, and it’s ok. Doing something you enjoy is very important in being an entrepreneur. Those experiences are not put to waste because I believe that gaining experience is just as important as making money. ” Andrew adds. “My goal is to bring my brand to the global market. I would love to live in multiple countries in the next few years. I always design and align my plans around globalization — to always look at the bigger picture.”

Interview with Andrew Baltazar of Urbane

Ginger: Hi Dru! Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed despite your busy schedule. Can you tell more about your business? 

Andrew: The brand is Urbane and by definition it means “the modern man” or “the man of today”, confident and self-assured. He is in control of his life. He is driven by ambition and understands the value of success. The Urbane Man knows how to care for himself. He lives an active lifestyle accentuated by good nutrition, grooming and hygiene. He believes in choosing only the best for himself, recognizing that quality begets quality.
Urbane is a men’s grooming line, and I have launched it recently with the main product, which is an organic hair loss prevention tonic.

Urbane Logo Urbane Product

Ginger: What makes your products different from your competitors? What is your unique selling proposition?

Andrew: My approach is pretty unique. I’m the only one in the men’s industry that’s tackling this in a holistic angle. As you know, hair loss is a combination of 3 things: 1. Genetics – it’s either we have hair loss problems or not, similar to asthma; 2. Hair hygiene – if we use chemicals in our hair such as wax, commercialized shampoos, etc.; and 3. Nutrients – what we put in our bodies affect how our hair grows since hair is mostly protein.

Urbane FB Profile Pix

I’ve started The Urbane Lifestyle, a way of life for the Urbane community. I share tips on how to live healthy – healthy food & proper diet, effective fitness regimen, grooming principles and other men related topics to help people like me live on the healthier side.

This year, I’ll be adding some new features in my packaging – starting with healthy living tips and/or fitness tips. I’ll also be partnering up with different establishments so that in every purchase, they will also get gym memberships from some of our top fitness center’s around the city, or maybe get to try some delicious meals from the healthiest restaurants you see in the metropolis.

I want to share with my clients the process of fixing the hair loss problem, we shall solve it by fixing our overall way of living.

Urbane

Ginger: Sounds, exciting, Dru! How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?

Andrew: This idea came to me when I was in my late 20’s. I was living in New York at the time when I started noticing I was having my own problem with my hair. My forehead was somewhat getting bigger by the day.

Andrew A Year Ago (Nov 2013)

Andrew A Year Ago (Nov 2013)

Andrew 2 Months Ago (Oct 2014)

Andrew 2 Months Ago (Oct 2014)

 

Andrew Today (Dec 2014)

Ginger: Who is your market?

Andrew: My audience are men just like me. Starting from late 20’s up to mid-40 who have an active lifestyle. They are constantly juggling numerous tasks between work and personal life. They are active with sports or a fitness program inside a gym. They are business owners, managers, supervisors, VP’s, or entrepreneurs. This can be a highly stressful lifestyle, therefore it affects the performance of our hair growth.

Ginger: I know that on the onset, the product undergoes a lot of lab testing, but after you get toe final product, do you need to have a particular skill for this type of business?

Andrew: Absolutely, Branding or Band Positioning.

Ginger: What do you enjoy about your business?

Andrew: I love the difficulty of penetrating into the consumer market. It’s entrepreneurship at its finest sense. I can’t get enough enjoyment every time orders come in, especially when it is bigger than the last. Experiencing the growth from concept, designing, into fruition is the biggest enjoyment for me.

Also, when it comes to product development, hearing testimonials from the customers is just incomparable. When you know your product is helping people out there, and they become your advocates in exchange of what you have given them, is an experience I never expected. I mean, I went into the business to help men like me, because I had a problem myself, but when they start thanking you, that’s a humbling experience, where you don’t go “I knew it all along”…

Ginger: What would you advise people who want to get into this industry?

Andrew: Do your homework/due diligence. The industry I am in, the health & beauty specifically, is one of the most competitive and congested industries to get into. So before stepping into the arena with the rest of us, be sure you have done your due diligence. Know your brand identity and positioning. Know your strength’s & weaknesses in comparison with ours. Know your target audience because you cannot sell to the world, it’s just impossible.

Ginger: For those who would want to purchase your product, how much is a bottle?

Andrew: P1,995 for a 120ml bottle, that’s good for 4-6 weeks. As a token of appreciation to our customers, for every customer that purchases 3 bottles, we will shoulder the 3rd (the last month’s) bottle. We totally understand that solving the problem with hair loss doesn’t take overnight. Its consistent use over time.

Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an entrepreneur? What are these?

Andrew: In my early years, books were my best sources of information. My mentors were Robert Kiyosaki, Robert Greene, Sun Tzu, Napoleon Hill, to name a few. My role models were Michael Douglas from Wallstreet, Giovanni Ribisi from Boiler Room, and Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting. Sad to say, I thought I could build my empire from having read these books or by having been inspired by these people. I thought having all the enthusiasm in the world was enough, only to realize they weren’t.

I learned that having the right mentors to be around to guide you especially in the early stages can be the difference between a successful venture or a pipedream. You could never have enough advisers or consultants in entrepreneurship, nor enough experiences.

Ginger: That’s good advise, Dru. A lot of people think that drive is the only thing that they need to have. What do you think are the three top traits that an entrepreneur should have when starting their own business?

Andrew: The consumer market has never been this competitive in history. We have supermalls of today that possibly carries everything under the sun. Not to mention, the giant supermarkets we have in every city around the world. In order to stand out from the competitors, I believe entrepreneurs of today who plan to go into the consumer market must have certain discipline…

Stay hungry & aggressive: Having the constant urge to outperform your competitors!

Keep your integrity intact: Always keep your promises and follow-through.

Mind your own business: When your competitors rest, capitalize on the opportunity. When everyone’s enjoying the long weekend, go out and sell to your audience, get to know them, and let them get to know you.

Ginger: Any unforgettable lesson that you learned as an Entrepreneur?

Andrew: Pick your business partners carefully – this is one of the biggest challenges you will have. You and the entire company will be put to work, nothing personal. Putting together a start-up company is no joke, you will endure long hours of work, be challenged by your competitors, you and your partners will be tested. Make sure you and your partners complement each other, and not get into each other’s skin. You know when they say, don’t mix family and business because it can get messy? The same principle applies when choosing partners. It might be a good idea in the beginning, but are you ready to lose a friend in the process?

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?

Andrew: Have a large gas tank equipped with reserves if possible. Before setting your destination, study your paths and be aware of your resources. Treat your funds like your gas tank, you want them deep so you can go far. What you want to avoid also is running out of finances mid-way, your operations come to full stop and suffer. Instead of finding that momentum, starting from square 1 can be costly, not to mention your most valuable commodity, time.

Ginger: Thank you for your time, Andrew, and lots of luck with Urbane. I’m sure that a lot of men will want to join the bandwagon and live that Urbane Lifestyle.

Urbane Contact Details:

Website: www.Urbane.ph
Email address: Andrew@Urbane.ph
Mobile Number: 0917.796.5254
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/Urbane.ph
Twitter account: Urbane.ph
InstaGram: UrbaneLifestyle

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About The Author

Ginger is the General Manager of ManilaWorkshops.com. She is also the co-founder of a tech start-up company called Turn Up Trumps, Inc. She is a business coach and has her own program called Love the Leap. She has been a blogger since 2005, writing for MommyGinger.com, ManilaFitness.com and ManilaReviews.com. She graduated MA in Communications Major in Integrated Marketing Communications from the University of Asia and the Pacific. She worked as an account executive for a couple of ad agencies. She also managed a food franchise store. Her longest corporate stint was as a product manager for a known bank in the Philippines.

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