Michelle Houp: She’s a No-sweat Entrepreneur

April 16 - On The Dot


Have you heard of the phrase “boy mom”? It’s exactly what it sounds like. While there’s no tried and true way for a boy to be, there are keen differences between boys and girls that find some boy moms seeing things a little differently than girl moms. One of my girlfriends with sons has accepted frequent toot humor. Another hits up Costco on the regular to feed stomachs that don’t quit, while one is on a first-name basis with those at the urgent-care clinic due to frequent playtime injuries. If this sounds like your little boy, we get it! Pour yourself a glass of your finest Costco wine and congratulate yourself for hanging in there.


Once you live with a man or raise a little man, you definitely notice one key characteristic: They are stinky! How can sitting on a couch playing video games result in such stench? And it’s like dudes don’t even notice. I’ve always known my sense of smell is stronger than that of the guys around me, and now a study is backing me up. According to researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center, which surveyed men and women about how well certain fragrances hide body odor, men felt that 19 of 32 fragrances masked body odor. But women’s noses were more perceptive, with female study participants saying only two fragrances were strong enough to mask sweaty stench. That gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “keeping your nose clean!”

WOMAN TO WATCH: Michelle Houp, Founder and CEO of Prep U

I recently read an article in which one boy mom referred to her sons’ body-odor-masking fragrance product as “a cocktail of testosterone plus Agent Orange plus a very powerful taxi air freshener.” Yikes! Thank goodness today’s Woman to Watch has a great understanding that growing up is a dirty job, and she’s utilizing her years of experience as a boy mom to bring the world a suite of safe, effective—and age-appropriate—personal-care products designed specifically for stinky boys. Her name is Michelle Houp and she’s the founder of Prep U, which features products that combine all-natural ingredients with clean scents to offer some welcome relief from the funk of boyhood.

Michelle is a mother of two growing boys who knows all too well about boys’ inherent stinkiness and the world of hygiene products. But she was frustrated she couldn’t find the right stuff for her boys. It was all baby products or overpowering frat-boy colognes. There wasn’t anything specifically designed for young boys. That’s when Michelle came up with the idea for Prep U.

Aside from featuring age-appropriate personal-care products, Prep U offers stink-destroying products that are effective, minus that whole taxi-air-freshener aroma. With currently available and soon-to-be-released products like body spray, deodorant, active dry powder and post-sport soak, Prep U has active boys covered. And best yet, all products are dermatologist-tested and free of chemicals and additives.

A resourceful entrepreneur, Michelle relied on real subjects when testing Prep U products: her sons’ smelly friends, and also got intel from their fathers about what works and what doesn’t for the male species.

This isn’t Michelle’s first experience with entrepreneurship. She has a background in retail strategy and brand identity. And for the past nine years, she’s been her own boss at branding and design studio Creative Tonic.

There’s no doubt Michelle could launch any brand she wanted with great success. But we’re glad she opted to create a line of products that encourages boys to be boys while also ensuring the rest of us can breathe easy!


Today’s quote comes from Prep U’s wonderful “Boyifesto,” which says:

“Fun is the best teacher, and the lessons we learn lost in moments of pure joy and exhilaration are those that last a lifetime.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

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