Future Favorites: A look at innovative skin care brands making waves in the marketplace.


Melissa Meisel • Associate Editor

Skin care, the largest product class in the US cosmetics and toiletries market, increased between 3% and 4% in 2011, according to Kline & Company’s preliminary market projections. And consumers are willing to spend a little more on products they love, as particularly seen in the prestige category.

In the first half of 2011, prestige women’s and men’s skin care dollar sales increased 14% and 9%, respectively, compared to the first half of 2008, according to The NPD Group. And, with 35% of shoppers turning to at-home beauty treatments as opposed to spa treatments, noted SymphonyIRI in its recent Times & Trends report, medicine cabinets are expanding with crèmes, serums and other SKUs that treat common quandaries such as aging, sun damage, acne or even daily stress.

Happi scoured the marketplace for the latest brands that have a unique approach to skin care and are gaining ground (and shelf space) within healthy and beauty aisles across the nation.

Magic for Men

Mënaji Skincare
Southport, CT
Key Personnel: James Fisher-CEO; Eric Groberg-CFO; Michele Probst-president/founder; Pamela Viglielmo- executive vice president 


Major Products: 911 Eye Gel

New Products: Camo Concealer (January), Eraser Anti-Aging (Spring 2012)

Distribution: Warren-Tricomi Salon at the Plaza NYC, The Bathroom NYC, Nordstrom Nashville, other select boutiques; online at www.menaji.com, www.nordstrom.com

The idea for Mënaji came about in 2001 when celebrity makeup artist Michele Probst, who specialized in male clientele, found that the traditional “pancake” foundation and cover-up being used at the time was not “cutting it” on high-definition television. Her vision was to create a line of men’s cosmetics that would be natural and undetectable on camera and off, according to the company. The line has since expanded to include skin care products for men in addition to the original HDPV Anti-Shine Powder and Camo Concealer.

“Mënaji is unique in that it was the very first line to develop high definition powder and undetectable coverage for men that specifically addressed a clientele that was in front of the camera like celebrities, CEOs, politicians and athletes,” said Pamela Viglielmo, executive vice president of the company. “It was groundbreaking to have a line made precisely for a man’s specific skin care needs.”

According to Viglielmo, in 2010 a new management team was installed and this led the way to many improvements in the company and the efficacy in which it was run, which in turn, has contributed to its expansion and growth. The line was consolidated, and manufacturing and distribution processes were streamlined.

Most recently, Mënaji expanded to a new Nordstrom store in Nashville (where company president Michele Probst is a native) and the brand participated in red carpet events as well as Prostate Cancer Awareness charities. Celebrity fans of the brand include Kevin Bacon, Antonio Banderas, George Clooney and Johnny Depp.

Special plans for 2012 include increasing the presence of Mënaji at trade shows, marketing and sales events; expanding distribution; starting a sampling program and of course, working on extending the line, noted Viglielmo.




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