MËNAJI 2015 Keynote Speaker for Women in Business Luncheon

Founder and President of Menaji Men's Skincare Michele Probst
Founder and President of Menaji Men’s Skincare Michele Probst

On March 11, the men’s skincare entrepreneur who made men’s concealers cool for the “everyday man” will deliver the keynote address at the 2015 Women in Business luncheon, held in Mufreesboro, TN.

Michele Probst, president and founder of Menaji Men’s Skincare

, will speak about her life as a celebrity makeup artist and what inspired her to launch a line of makeup marketed directly to men before the men’s grooming explosion.

“I’m thrilled for Michele to speak at our event because I believe her story is one that any business professional absolutely needs to hear,” said Laura Beth Payne, editor of Murfreesboro Magazine and presenter of the luncheon.

The luncheon will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center on Conference Center Boulevard, off Medical Center Parkway in Murfreesboro, TN on Wednesday, March 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The celebration will honor 10 women from Rutherford County, who have made great strides in business. The honorees will be revealed at the event.

Payne said Probst’s unconventional success story is an inspiration to others.

“It’s refreshing to hear someone who owns her journey so completely and who can share it with such humor and candor,” Payne said. “Michele is a fabulous inspiration for women, but also for anyone in business who wonders if following her passion is worth it; I think she proves that it is.”

Probst, who resides in Nashville, TN, was the daughter of a Vanderbilt University English professor, who grew up with the pressures of an academic’s child. Probst said she did not know what she wanted to study, but went to college anyway to please her father.

After briefly attending the University of Mississippi, she left to pursue a career in the modeling industry in Chicago. However, being behind the camera and creating gorgeous faces for the camera quickly became her passion, so she enrolled in classes to become a professional make-up artist.

“I’d always been interested in art and fashion. Makeup was the perfect marriage of my two passions. Doing professional make-up for fashion shoots is just like creating a work of art, conveying as much emotion,” Probst said.

Then in the late 90s, while working as a professional makeup artist doing makeup for men for music videos and commercials, Probst had an epiphany.

“Almost every one of my clients kept asking me what they could buy or take home to keep them looking good every day,” said Probst.

Probst began to research skincare formulations and by 2000, she had developed Menaji, the first undetectable, professional-grade concealer for men.

Now Menaji has grown into a global company with a full line of 15 products that range from anti-aging to sunless tanning and is the only such line in men’s luxury grooming, found in stores such as Nordstrom.

“The formulations make it a prestige line, however the price points make it affordable,” said Probst. “They are also Made in America and include natural, healthy ingredients.” She also wanted to remove the taboo against men wearing cosmetics, so instead of marketing it as concealer, Menaji uses the terms “urban camo” and “undetectable skincare” in order to appeal to a diverse masculine market, and gift sets are shipped in re-purposed cigar boxes.

“Men’s vanity is swelling. This is the new version of grooming for men. In the old days it was a fine, polished wingtip shoe and a handsome hat. Now, it’s all about looking healthy and well-groomed, and smelling clean,” she said.

Since Menaji launched in 2000, the men’s skincare market has grown to more than a $33 billion a year industry and one in every five plastic surgeries are on men, Probst said.

Probst said she, like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, wouldn’t be the success she is today without “dropping out” of a traditional college and pursuing her passion. She said people shouldn’t feel pressured to go and then feel ashamed if they “drop out.”

“It’s perfectly fine not to attend a traditional college if it’s not a good fit,” Probst said. “There are hundreds of careers out there and thousands of ways to make a good living in business.”

Tickets for 2015 Women in Business are available at eventbrite.com.

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