Tom Murphy is the Founder and Managinging Director of Mayo based, Pamex Limited, a 100% Irish owned family company. Tom reveals to IIBN that, we source, market, distribute and promote innovative personal care products, which help to make life more comfortable for people. We are in a number of different sectors including Dental and Dry Mouth and promote a number of international brands including Carmex Lip Balm and the precision biotic IBS support called Alflorex, which was researched and developed in Cork.

Information about Pamex is available here: www.pamex.com

What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

We are currently celebrating 25 years since out foundation and I’m now planning the expansion of the company for the next 25 years. In addition, I have set an objective to make our wholly owned De Facto Shaving Oil a world brand within 5 years. www.defactoshave.com

What are your biggest challenges?

With De Facto, it’s trying to convince people to switch from wasteful shaving foams and gels to use De Facto Shaving Oil. For most shavers, it’s a completely new concept, it gives you a far superior shave and the feeling on your skin has to be experienced to be believed. And if just 1,000 people switched from using foams or gels to De Facto Shaving Oil, you could stop more than 500,000 cans/gel containers going to landfill. The numbers are staggering and most shaving cans cannot be recycled because they are pressurized and therefore can’t be cleaned out. It’s very simple, one small switch can make a very big difference.

We know we’re going head to head with the big boys, but because we have a much better product I’m offering a personal guarantee that if someone isn’t fully satisfied, I’ll give them their money back. You won’t get that from the foams and gel brigade! In my opinion, I have no doubt that De Facto is the best ANYONE can get!

How has your business strategy been adapted in the context of the Covid-19 crisis?

Yes it has. Across our full range of products, as well as promoting to the general public, we also engage with Doctors, Dentists, Pharmacists and Dietitians. During the Covid “lockdown” none of our Representatives was able to visit their customers, so working from home became the new norm for most employees.

How do you keep your team/staff motivated?

We operate a very open management system here in Pamex and by that I mean, we are always open to new ideas and we encourage them. We have a wonderful cohort of employees who are dedicated and fully engaged. Everyone knows that their efforts contribute to the general health of the firm and each has to play his and her part.

Comments and criticism are encouraged and we’re always looking at ways to improve our efficiencies and to make our customers happy. After all, customers are the reason we’re in business.

What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?

I think in Ireland that bureaucracy and general “red tape” are a huge challenge, and it’s not getting any easier. I firmly believe that if there were Olympic games for bureaucracy in relation to the SME sector internationally, no other nation on earth should enter, because Ireland would sweep the boards and win all the medals!

What new trends are emerging in your industry?

Without doubt, introducing sustainability in business methods is becoming quite a hot potato. Looking seriously at how we can have an enjoyable lifestyle without damaging the planet is top of most ethical firms’ agenda nowadays. Outstanding creativeness is emerging in both thinking and design regarding sustainable packaging, reducing carbon footprint and I sense an open mindedness which wasn’t evident heretofore.

Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?

Yes, reduce the bureaucracy which could in turn reduce the cost of starting up in business and help to encourage the younger generations to believe in themselves and start their own business. Also, I’d like the powers that be to give a 6 months PRSI holiday to an employer for each new employee hired. I believe that that incentive would make a positive difference to both firms and their employees.

Are you finding any skills gaps in the market?

Yes, in written and spoken English! With the rapidly expanding world of electronic communication, more and more people are relying on emails and electronic forms of communicating and won’t engage verbally. I shudder to think how difficult it’s going to be for some of the youngsters growing up when they are asked to speak and express themselves, rather than do so electronically. Also, one of the downsides is relying on predictive texts, and when used in more formal written forms, it can be result in extremely poor presentations. I have to stop there or I’ll go on a rant……

How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?

The short answer is that we don’t know yet. Covid took the spotlight away from Brexit and the greatest fear surrounding Brexit is actually fear of the unknown. We are approaching it with extreme caution and let’s see what emerges.

How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?

Success for me is happy customers and happy employees. Put simply, without them, we don’t have a business.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?

I always remember in my “past life” on winning promotion to the top job of an International Pharmaceutical company based in Ireland, a colleague from another firm congratulated me and said: “Tom, always be nice to people on the way up because you never know when you might meet them on the way down”! I’ve always remembered that and tried to live by it. My wonderful parents always reminded us to “treat everyone as an equal with respect” and I’ve always remembered that.

What have been your highlights in business over the past year?

Without doubt it was launching our own shaving formulation De Facto Shaving Oil, after many years of research. It was worth the trials and tribulations and great to see our very own product on the shelves in most Irish pharmacies and online at: www.defactoshave.com  It was also a terrific achievement to complete 25 years in business from being on the dole to employing 20 people in an extremely competitive market.

What’s next for your company?

Plan for the next 25 years for Pamex expansion, investigate commercial alliances in export markets and make De Facto Shaving Oil a world brand within 5 years.

What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2020/21?

In spite of Brexit, we are seriously planning for U.K. market entry for our dental business along with other commercial opportunities further afield.

Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?

I want Pamex Limited to be spreading its influence, to increase our product offering to the general public and to save the world one shave at a time!