The founder of Wales’ largest advertising agency has set up a new male grooming business with the ambitious aim of redefining masculinity for the 21st century.
Matt Jones is no stranger to entrepreneurship, having created S3 Advertising in his attic and nurtured its growth into a multi-million pound agency with clients including NHS Wales, Airbus, University of South Wales, WRU, S4C, Deliveroo, and bakery firm Brace’s Bread.
He sold the business to its management team in October 2019 after eight years at the helm. Since then he has been busy with the creation of his new business, which he has called Mesoa for Men.
The men’s hair and skin care business is now poised for significant growth, and is seeking investment to help finance its projected expansion. Matt is looking for investors through the Elevate digital investment platform.
If the record of S3 is any guide, it should be a good opportunity.
“When I launched S3, then known as Studio Tri, I intended to build an advertising agency that would rival the big boys in London and work with challenger brands from Wales and beyond, showing them that talent did exist outside London,” Matt said.
Between 2011 and 2018 S3’s turnover grew from £229,000 to £6.6 million. Staff numbers expanded from 3 to around 45, and the company that had been set up in an attic moved into trendy new offices in Cardiff’s flagship Central Square development, complete with ball pit, a golf course and lion sculptures.
Awards accompanied the firm’s growth, including Advertising Agency of the Year from The Drum in 2016. For Matt, there was a feeling of having done what he wanted to do with S3, and that the time was right to hand the company to other hands and seek a new challenge.
“What I set out to do I achieved. There was nothing left on the table for me that I didn’t set out to accomplish,” he said.
It was his own difficulties finding a simple moisturiser that inspired Matt to look into the male grooming sector back in 2018. He spent 15 months researching men’s hair and skin care products, and talking to the UK’s top experts about care routines for all skin and hair types.
But Mesoa for Men is more than just another seller of male grooming products; it is, in Matt’s words, a skin and hair care brand with a passion for men’s mental health and wellbeing.
“For generations, men have always had to bottle up their thoughts, feelings and emotions. It was seen as weak to open up and talk about things that challenged us or made us upset.
“Likewise, it wasn’t normal to have skin and hair care routines. Talking about your skin and hair-related issues or concerns would never be a topic of conversation you would have with your friends. Our purpose is to break the stigmas around male grooming and redefine masculinity for men.”
The company launched its online trading platform in October 2019. Six months into trading the Covid-19 pandemic struck, bringing a temporary slowdown in sales. Matt reacted by doubling down on innovation, launching 18 new products and designing 10 new care routines.
The company has already acquired around 2,500 customers with a 76% repurchase rate and is about to launch a subscription service. It is rated excellent on Trustpilot with more than 250 5-star reviews.
Through its website Mesoa for Men doesn’t just sell products, it educates men on how and why to use them, with routines for dealing with skincare issues. Community pages allow customers to read and share stories on everything from moisturising to mental health.
Mesoa for Men is now looking for investment through the Elevate investment network to finance the next stage of its growth.