Men’s makeup, a booming category, has been receiving substantial investor and industry attention as of late, although the practice dates back to historical times. BeautyMatter spoke to 5 brand founders and executives including MENAJI CEO & President Pamela Viglielmo to get an inside scoop on the category’s development, future narratives, and success strategies.
MENAJI: Founded in 2000 by a professional makeup artist, Menaji is a range of professional-grade products accessible for both makeup artists and everyday consumers. Since becoming Vice President at the Menaji in 2010, Pamela Viglielmo expanded the company’s color range, reformulated products to be all natural, and streamlined the selection of products. Today, the brand is sold in over 20 countries, with products including high-definition anti-shine and bronzing powders, camo concealer, and liquid powder shine eliminator..
Pamela S. Viglielmo, CEO & President of Menaji Worldwide, LLC: “This wasn’t an overnight matter. Back in 2009, Karen Grant was talking about how the men’s category in general skincare was about 20 years behind women’s, and fast-forward 10 years, it’s gonna be the same. We were first to market concealer and a tinted moisturizer for men, but back when I acquired Menaji, you didn’t use the word makeup or cosmetics. God forbid men were going to use it. So undetectable skincare was one of our taglines. Six years back, when we actually then introduced a kabuki brush, men were not using them. Everything we do covers the gamut from guys who just want to cover something to professional dancers who want to use it for contouring. Men’s skin is thicker, oilier, has larger pores and facial hair—all these things play into how a formula is made.
“At a macro level we’re seeing steady growth—the number of men who feel comfortable using product will continue to grow” says Pamela Viglielmo. “There’s no question that more and more men are using cosmetics, but they may not talk about it. What’s interesting is that so many of the marketing tactics used in women’s products, like referring a friend, are not helpful here.
There is no question that the number of adapters continues to grow. Someone who perhaps starts using a product for special events, but if it gives you empowerment and makes you feel better about the way you look, it very often moves on from that. For guys in their late 30s, early 40s, sometimes a prestige brand is more aspirational. Our demographic is broad—we meet the needs of men at different points based on their own grooming likes and dislikes. We know that the consumer is male; very often the customer can be female. We emphasize kits because they are a way for a woman to be able to give product to her husband, boyfriend, son. What does work is being in the market as long as we have, and being the first on that curve of identifying what the man’s challenges are and being able to meet them. Really early adapters are often through urban centers, although if you look at our DTC sales, we sell into rural places as well. Which products and when they use it varies, but why they use it is what’s universal. Everyone wants to put their best face forward, and we’re about making sure that you look great, whether you’re on camera or off.
“20 years later, we’re still going strong. We continue to find younger people coming into our product world, and at the same time, the ones who’ve been with us 10-15 years are still with us. And now rather than using two to three products, they’ll use four to five. I am a firm believer—the more brands that are in the market, the better it is for all of us, because it brings more attention to the category. Some of the ones that have come and gone, that had some good legs to them, got sucked down the drain because they doubled or tripled down on certain things that didn’t pan out. The key to longevity, is to continue to develop products that work, and that are a little bit ahead of the curve, but not so far that you’re not going to have the adoption you need. And to have them deliver results. That’s what it’s all about, and not to double down on inventories. You’ve got to start with fewer than that, so you can see if it’s gonna work or not, and then build your way up. You might be paying more per unit in the beginning, as you develop your formula, but you’re also not going to sink 50 grand into something that doesn’t go anywhere.”