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Published March 1, 2021
Published March 1, 2021

By 2025, 1.1 billion women are expected to be postmenopausal. The menopause space is still largely untapped, representing a $600 billion spending opportunity according to data from early-stage investing firm Female Founders Fund. “Only 5 percent of femtech startups address menopause, and overall the opportunity is huge,” Adrianna Samaniego, investor with Female Founders Fund, told Crunchbase News. “Fertility is nine months, typically, but menopause can last anywhere from four to 30 years.”

The Menopause Treatment Market is projected to reach $3.3 billion by 2023, posting a 4.2% CAGR from 2017 to 2023, according to MRFR. Destigmatizing menopause and capturing this opportunity has gone beyond the prestige positioning of indie trailblazers like Pause and P&G Ventures–backed DTC brand Kindra, to Womaness, a new category entrant built for scale launching exclusively with a major retailer at the end of March.

Womaness was co-founded by entrepreneurs Michelle Jacobs and Sally Mueller, who built their careers around creating brands for women. A conversation between the two friends sparked a simple question: Where can women in their 40s, 50s, and beyond go to find solutions, support, and inspiration as they move into menopause? They couldn’t find an answer, so they created it. Sally’s own experience visiting her doctor made her realize her aches and pains and dry skin were, in fact, common menopausal symptoms. After sharing her story with friends and colleagues, they heard a common refrain. “I had no idea what I was experiencing was menopause.”

They saw an opportunity to not only serve the 50+ million women who are unfamiliar with the symptoms of menopause, but also how to treat those symptoms. The pair realized it was time to forge a new path. They set out to create Womaness to address these issues and spark the power of menopositivity—a radiant dynamic outlook that embraces who we are today.

“It was less about disrupting the menopause market,” says Jacobs. “Really, there was no market. We’re creating a space to find solid solutions for the challenges related to hormonal changes, from crepey skin and sleeplessness, bladder leakage to mood swings”—common problems they heard about from almost all the women they spoke with during one-on-ones and focus groups.

“Through innovative products, essential information, and unlimited inspiration, Womaness takes the ‘pause’ out of menopause and sparks the power of Menopositivity,” says Sally Mueller. “We launched Womaness to help women thrive as we change the conversation around menopause,“ states Jacobs. “Our intention isn’t to give medical advice (though we do have some expert clinicians guiding us); we’re here to provide solutions and offer support to the women who are facing menopause but refuse to slow down or as we like to say, ‘press pause.’”

Wellness products were created working alongside a panel of menopause experts—including gynecologists who specialize in menopause and nutritionists and skincare advisors who developed the brand’s unique “Me-No” List.” All products are cruelty free, vegan, nut free, gluten free, dermatologist and allergy tested. Womaness products are also formulated without animal-derived ingredients, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, artificial colors, formaldehyde, mineral oils, estrogen, or added hormones. The clean product assortment ranges from skin and body care to feminine and sexual health to supplements covering the full gambit of menopause needs, with individual product prices ranging from $14.99 to $39.99.

The brand will be merchandised in beauty/skincare and feminine care aisles, because the product range stretches across both categories, and for now, it’s how women shop those aisles. The double exposure is an indication of the commitment by the retailer, and for the brand it’s important to be merchandised where the consumer is looking for menopause solutions, whether it’s something to address dry, crepey skin or a leaky bladder.

Jacobs and Mueller felt so strongly about the idea for Womaness that they self-funded the business for about a year and half investing $500,000, pitching retailers in February 2020 right before the COVID crisis hit and the subsequent shutdown that ensued. Verbal interest gave them the confidence to go to market and raise capital, taking four or five pitch calls a day from their living rooms and working tirelessly to tell their story. With an early goal of $3 million, the brand raised $4 million in an oversubscribed seed round from Unilever Ventures, who led the round with participation by Obvious Ventures, as well as smaller investors and friends and family who wanted to support the Womaness mission.

Society treats the very existence of menopause with anachronistic awkwardness. According to research released by the Women’s Worth study by UM London and Karen Fraser, director of advertising think tank Credos, menopausal women attribute this largely to a lack of understanding (65%) and because people don’t talk about it (62%).

Lack of understanding content is crucial. “Our vision for Womaness has always been to create a comprehensive best product line that is truly useful for our discerning women, but we also felt equally strong about the service component via providing education and inspiration to this woman. I’m going through this stage of life myself, and my God, have I realized there’s a lack of education around women’s health and particularly around menopause—we need to do better for ourselves and for each other,” Mueller said. “That’s what the Womaness community is striving for. From our tone and approach to menopause to the information itself we’re providing, we’re speaking to our audience differently. It’s real talk; no BS or pity but empathy and a wink of humor. We know our audience is consuming information from a variety of mediums, but there’s no playbook or lather-rinse-repeat formula to reaching her like there can be when it comes to Gen Z or millennial brands. This is uncharted territory.”

She continued, “For so long, women of a certain age have been underserved—and why the hell is that? These women are healthy, wealthy, active—they’ve got serious purchasing power. They’ve got opinions and needs and wants. We got the meno—no memo—as we say. And we’re here for that and them!”

“There’s a relatability and inclusion aspect to the content Womaness is providing—whether it’s on IG or on our own site or through our private Facebook group, The After Party, the latter of which is led by a 51-year-old woman aka one of our own. We felt strongly about having team members that are in this demographic for certain positions—so they can build more intimate relationships with our community and facilitate more conversation between women. Her title is Community Concierge, and her passion for helping women is equally matched by a wicked sense of humor, which is what women want and crave. Across the various platforms, we’re providing information from experts who specialize in menopause, from OB/GYN doctors to nutritionists to pelvic floor specialists to fitness trainers.”

Both Mueller and Jacobs ultimately want the brand to change the way the world thinks about the change. “It’s time to let the world in on a secret,” says Mueller. “Women in midlife are the coolest, smartest, most interesting women we know, and they deserve a place. That place is Womaness.”


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