When the pandemic forced salons to close and we were left with quarantine hair we didn’t know how to get rid of, we realized how the simplest act of getting a haircut plays an important part in our overall well-being.
Marqed Salon, a Greenhills-based hair salon that advocates for total hair care, is easily one of the salons people missed during the strictest lockdown periods. Their innovative expertise on the craft of hairstyling and their commitment to giving the right care every hair needs are only two of things their patrons love. It’s no wonder it became the go-to hair salon of celebrities like Gabbi Garcia and Mariz Racal, which both had news-worthy hairstyles some dream to have.
And just like the dream hairstyles they help achieve, Marqed Salon is also a dream come true. It took a long time for its founders, Monique Morales and Mark Rosales, to find each other as business partners and finally establish a salon that embodies their vision to create a brand that a lot of women can come home to.
A Re-Marqed-able Journey
Prior to establishing Marqed Salon, both Mark and Monique didn’t know each other and had personal journeys that led them to discover—and grow—their love for hair care.
For Monique, learning how to take care of her hair is something she learned since she was young. “It started with my Lola. She raised all of us na kahit anong suot mo, basta [ang importante] maayos ‘yung buhok.” Because of this, Monique has always looked for a salon where she can feel good and be absolutely certain that her hair will be taken care of. “Being a mom, isa ‘yun sa mga cheapest and most effective ways to feel good about yourself or feel empowered that you can face a challenging day or week.”
Meanwhile, Mark discovered his love for hair styling in his early 20s when he was still trying to figure out how he’d like to fit in the fashion and beauty industry. “It all started when I had a relationship with a make-up artist. Siya ‘yung nag-encourage sa’kin to be a hairstylist,” Mark narrates. “Dati ginawa ko lang [‘yung hairstyling] kasi sabi ng partner ko gawin ko, up until the time na I’m investing na. Iba ‘yung happiness ko when I see people happy and maganda. Du’n na nagstart ‘yung love ko for hairstyling,” he continues, describing his journey as “late but sure.”
Their mutual love for hair led them to meet each other in 2018. Thanks to a common friend who became their matchmaker.
“You get lucky with your hairdresser just as much as with finding a business partner,” Monique tells us, saying that she has been looking for someone like Mark for more than 10 years. She really wanted to establish a salon that puts total hair care more than anything else.
“At the time na nag-meet kami ni Monique, it’s not even a business meeting,” Mark chimes in. “Casual lunch lang. Kwentuhan lang talaga. And sinabi nya ‘yung vision nya sa’kin.”
"Total hair care. Those are our magic words."
Mark, during this time, was still gathering himself after the closure of his first salon venture. So he took the time to think about opening another salon, introspected what went wrong in his first attempt, and asked himself, “What would be my legacy as a hairstylist?”
And the answer? Total hair care.
“Du’n kami nag-match ni Monique. Those are our magic words,” Mark says. “Some other business partners, [they will ask you agad] ‘Ano bang ROI n’yan?’ [or] ‘Latagan mo ako ng business plan.’ [Pero] kami, hindi kami doon nagsimula,” Mark adds, saying that the most important matter they agreed on at that time was the kind of impact they want to leave to their clients.
“Just like skin, hair is unique for every person,” Monique says. “My hair is different from yours so I have specific needs [and] you have specific needs. And hindi ‘yun nakikita on the surface lang eh,” she further explains.
Because of this, both of them knew that in order for them to fulfill their vision of providing total hair care to their clients, they needed to take the hair industry to the next level.
“With the help of the hair scanner, [we’ll know] your current hair status. It will give the right cure for your specific problem, and at the same time, it will tell us if your hair is ready for a specific service.”
“What I’ve noticed kasi in the Philippines, what we do lang is give regular treatment without knowing the status of the hair, or curing the problem your hair has,” Mark says. This prompted them to research ways on how they can make a change in Marqed Salon—and that’s when they discovered hair scanning.
“With the help of the hair scanner, [we’ll know] your current hair status. It will give the right cure for your specific problem, and at the same time, it will tell us if your hair is ready for a specific service,” Mark explains. According to him, this technology came from Japan.
“Sometimes, [people] want to look a certain way so magpapakulay sila. [But] kaya ba? Baka it’s not the right time yet. We have to fix [for example] your dandruff first,” says Monique.
When you #GetMarqed, it's a beauty mark. It's a mark of excellence. It's a mark of total hair care.
And the best part? Marqed Salon clients don’t pay for getting their hair scanned. It’s part of the whole experience. This is what it means to #GetMarqed.
Monique says that when you #GetMarqed, “it’s a beauty mark. It’s a mark of excellence. It’s a mark of total hair care.”
The Marq-ed of Commitment
March 15, 2020, the day of the country’s first day of lockdown, was Mark’s birthday.
“The first time they announced that there will be a lockdown, we said, ‘Okay, let’s just plan for two weeks,’” Mark tells us. “We have a commitment to our clients so we launched #GetMarqedAtHome.”
#GetMarqedAtHome is a series of videos about DIY hair treatments you can do at home.
True to their promise to provide total hair care to their clients despite the pandemic, Mark and Monique launched a series of videos of DIY hair treatments. They collaborated with artists, including a Dubai-based make-up artist and a brush expert brand, to be able to reach their clients at a time when their salon was temporarily closed.
“Okay pa kami kasi two weeks lang,” Mark says. But when the lockdown kept on extending, Mark and Monique had to regroup to figure out a way to help their staff.
“People in the salon are compensated on a daily basis. So, if there’s no work, there’s no pay,” Mark says. “Nu’ng first two months of extension, kaya pa ‘yung ayuda from the salon. But nu’ng third month, du’n na kami nag-start to sell products online.”
“Nag-meet kami sa salon, hinakot namin lahat ng products,” Monique recalls, saying that the checkpoints didn’t make it easy for both of them given that they both aren’t San Juan residents. They divided the items they have and committed to sell those online. Monique even set up a Lazada shop for the salon. “And the proceeds from the sales, we distributed to our people.”
They eventually ran out of products to sell but instead of giving up, they took it as an opportunity to create their own hair care line.
“We have a mini line now,” Monique shares with us. “We brought out our first hundred bottles of purple shampoo and conditioner—all locally made,” she continues, saying that this is also their way to help our local manufacturers. They are also working on a new hair treatment product as they educate their clients more about hair care.
Aside from this, they also offered their clients remote personalized hair color support. “Inuwi namin ‘yung mga pangkulay,” Mark says. “Then we’ll do an online consultation for me to check their hair, tapos I’ll mix the colors sa house ko, and ipapadeliver ko sa [client].” This comes with a step-by-step guide from Mark himself on how to DIY your hair.
When asked how they came up with such creative initiatives for their people and their clients, Monique says, “I guess it’s true what they say that necessity is the mother of invention.” Mark supports this by saying, “Maybe because we just really love the brand. Love namin ‘yung Marqed Salon kaya ayaw namin syang mawala.”
The Future of Marqed
Mark and Monique, since the beginning, have always been guided by their vision. As they continue to survive and thrive in the midst of the pandemic, they are staying optimistic about the future that lies ahead for Marqed Salon and the beauty services industry.
Without even realizing, getting a haircut or a new hair color becomes our way of reinventing ourselves, especially when we’re entering a new chapter in our lives.
“It’s our dream to become a one-stop shop,” says Mark. They are also currently exploring opportunities for expansion, “and in that way, we’ll be able to spread the experience of getting Marqed.”
Without even realizing, getting a haircut or a new hair color becomes our way of reinventing ourselves, especially when we’re entering a new chapter in our lives. And while we continue to navigate the uncertainties brought about by the pandemic, Mark and Monique would like to encourage people to try and visit salons—maybe not as often as the pre-pandemic world allowed, but every once in a while.
“We already prepared ourselves to be a safe space for all, and we’re not the only ones,” Monique says. “We’ve done everything we can, and we continue to do so, to keep it a safe space for everyone—those who visit us and those who work with us.”
While salons may not be a place you need to visit daily, maybe it’s essential to the well-being of people.
“With all the uncertainties na nangyayari, there is one thing that is certain: your hair,” Mark says. “And taking care of your hair is therapeutic.”
Mark and Monique think that maybe it’s about time we reevaluate what being essential means. Because while salons may not be a place you need to visit daily, “maybe it’s essential to the well-being of people.”
“Going to a salon is a simple joy. It’s self-love,” Mark adds.
“It’s not about being vain. It’s about being happy.”
In chorus, the Marqed duo says, “It’s not naman about being vain. It’s about being happy.”
“For some people, the right lipstick will do it. For some people, the right pair of shoes can make them rule the world. But for some people, and I know I’m not alone, it’s the crown that you wear,” Monique says.
And if there’s one thing that makes them proud of being a part of the beauty services industry, it’s the immediate happiness and impact they deliver to the clients they serve.
Visit Marqed Salon at the Ground Floor of Ureana Design Center in Connecticut, San Juan City, Metro Manila. Soon, they’ll open a new branch in Muntinlupa City Check out Marqed Salon’s Parlon page to know more of the services they offer.