Sean Neumann is a journalist from Chicago, Ill.
When Sally Mueller struggled to find menopause products a few years ago, the longtime brand officer realized there was more silence than support — and she could't find the medications and treatments she was hoping for.
So the Minnesota-based businesswoman teamed up with her longtime friend Michelle Jacobs to start brainstorming ways to create products and a community that "celebrate women in this stage of life."
“We wanted to create a brand for women like ourselves,” says Mueller, 58. She and Jacobs, 50, launched their wellness brand Womaness in 2021, which offers products to aid women experiencing symptoms connected to menopause. They also host events where women can hear from experts and discuss their experiences, and the brand also has a private Facebook group called “The Afterparty,” where customers and others alike share stories, health news and advice.
"Education is the number one reason people come to us," says Jacobs. "The second is this feeling of, 'It's about time people start recognizing us.' There is a feeling of being ignored in the market."
Roughly 1.3 million women enter menopause each year in the United States, according to the National Library of Medicine, and Mueller and Jacobs believe there is a large market of customers who have not always been paid attention to.
Mueller, who spent 20 years building brands with Target, says she felt ignored when she entered menopause, often getting misdiagnosed because her initial symptoms didn't include hot flashes — a typical condition many associate with menopause.
"I didn't realize menopause was more than hot flashes, and that's common," Mueller says, noting other common but lesser-known symptoms such as a lack of energy, chills and dry skin.
She and Jacobs, who have been friends for more than 20 years, say a "lack of information, education and product" led to their business idea.
"Why is nobody doing anything to tackle the lack of products and lack of education?" Jacobs asked herself after hearing Mueller's difficulty in getting an accurate diagnosis. "It was shocking to realize how little women understand about their bodies."
The friends and business partners say they've had women from ages of 30-to-70 coming to their events and interested in their products, which range from supplements to skincare items, as well as sexual health and feminine care products.
"It's definitely much bigger than we ever thought it would be," says Mueller. Since launching last year, Womaness products have been sold in major retailers like Ulta and Target, while its founders have been featured in Women's Health and InStyle magazines and on talk shows such as Tamron Hall.
And through their community events and online discussion groups, Mueller and Jacobs hope they've given women going through menopause a place where they feel comfortable and empowered to discuss their experiences.
"It's really about opening up the conversation," Mueller says. "Women do want to talk about it and we wanted to create a brand and a place to celebrate women in this stage of life."
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