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Business News/ Science / Health/  Is the Menopause product boom finally here?

Is the Menopause product boom finally here?


With State Of, the brand incubator arfa joins a small number of other founders in a market they consider underserved

The brand incubator arfa is launching State Of, a line of beauty and wellness offerings designed for perimenopausal and menopausal women.Premium
The brand incubator arfa is launching State Of, a line of beauty and wellness offerings designed for perimenopausal and menopausal women.

Lina Krakue, 49, never wanted to clutter her bathroom or dresser with creams or supplements that looked like prescriptions from the doctor. But when she went shopping for wellness products related to menopause, that’s exactly what she found. “I went into the store, I think I ran out clutching my purse," says Krakue, an early-childhood educator in the Bronx, New York. “The words they had on these things: ‘symptoms,’ ‘alleviate,’ ‘cure.’ It was like I was coming down with one of the 10 plagues. It was so unsexy."

A friend had recently asked if she’d be interested in joining a consumer research group developing a menopause line for women like her. Krakue was in. The group was created by arfa, the brand incubator launched earlier this year in New York by former Glossier president and COO Henry Davis, 36; the former publisher of Vice’s now-shuttered women’s interest site, Broadly, Ariel Wengroff, 31; former Glossier CTO Bryan Mahoney, 43, and former Glossier chief of staff Shabdha Chigurupati, 30.

On August 25, arfa is launching a brand called State Of, a line of beauty and wellness offerings designed for perimenopausal and menopausal women that sprang from the research group. (Perimenopause refers to the time leading up to menopause, when women might start to experience its first signs.) They’re one of a small but growing number of brands betting that this market is underserved and potentially lucrative.

Last year, an AARP survey found that 70% of women 40 and older wanted to see more perimenopausal and menopausal beauty and personal grooming products. (The average age that women enter menopause in the US is 51, and most women start to experience perimenopause symptoms in their 40s.) Recently, a variety of menopause wellness brands have debuted to address these needs. Founders include menopausal women themselves frustrated with limited wellness offerings, as well as corporations like Avon and Procter & Gamble.

Part of arfa’s business model is to identify markets that are overlooked by the personal-care industry and then work with people who represent them, like Krakue, who then become members of their research group, which they call The Collective. Collective members across the country test products and give feedback. Arfa refers to members as stakeholders, since they receive 5% of arfa’s profits for their contributions.

Wengroff and Davis got the idea for State Of while working on arfa’s first brand, a genderless antiperspirant line called Hiki that launched sales in June after giving away about 20,000 products to healthcare workers, first responders and those who participated in a social media campaign. Hiki’s products include an anti-chafe stick and body powder, and some of the women in The Collective who worked on Hiki would talk about how they were sweating all over, getting hot flashes and feeling as though they were burning from the inside. Wengroff says many of them felt they couldn’t talk about their experiences with their friends or partners but started to open up during Collective meetings. (Meetings used to be in-person and social, like members going to someone’s house for wine night, but have since migrated online.) “We started to understand that the perimenopause and menopausal experience was under-researched, underlooked at and under–cared for," she says.

With State Of, they wanted to target issues like joint pain, skin dryness and, of course, hot flashes. The brand’s first offerings fall into four categories—moist, cool, relief and repair—and include body creams, bath salts, body oils and a cooling spray designed for perimenopausal and menopausal women. Their facial moisturizer ($32), for example, is designed for “really, really dry skin" but without any of the thickness some similar products have, which can also become goopy if the wearer starts to sweat. The products, which sell exclusively on State Of’s website, start at $10, for the cooling spray, and go up to $38, for a CBD body oil designed to help with body pain and inflammation. There’s also a line of supplements (evening primrose oil, turmeric, and skin, hair and nails) that retail for $35 each. They wanted products that their customers wouldn’t be embarrassed to have at their desk at work. They landed on packaging in rich blues, pinks and greens embellished with a signature crest.

“It’s a space that people are now starting to recognize as having a huge potential," says Rochelle Weitzner, 51, who launched her menopause beauty company Pause Well-Aging after having her first hot flash, which made her feel like she was dying. “There’s a customer here, and this customer actually has more money than the younger customers that most [beauty brands] are focused on."

Weitzner spent two years developing Pause Well-Aging, which has what she calls an “accessible luxury" price point with hero products that include a hot-flash cooling mist ($39), collagen-boosting moisturizer ($72) and a fascia-stimulating tool ($115). Pause Well-Aging’s products are based on a peptide-vitamin-antioxidant complex that target loss of elasticity, radiance and collagen in the skin, as well as excessive dryness.

Both traditional beauty brands and consumer-goods corporations are entering the market, too. The Greek beauty brand Korres launched a White Pine Meno-Reverse line with a serum-moisturizer ($58) and a wrinkle plumping and age-spot concentrate ($78) that they worked on with the University of Athens’s pharmacy and biology departments. Earlier this year, the cosmetics company Avon published a report on menopause in conjunction with an announcement of its own forthcoming line, Avon Adapt. And last year Procter & Gamble’s start-up studio, P&G Ventures, created Kindra in partnership with the venture capital fund M13. Kindra is a menopause brand that currently includes a vaginal-dryness treatment and applicator, as well as three supplements.

Kindra CEO Catherine Balsam-Schwaber says customers have told her that the treatment has helped them sleep better, enjoy their sex life again and get back to workouts like spin classes they previously couldn’t do. “It’s a real problem for women and one that nobody warns you about," says Balsam-Schwaber, 49. “You spend about 40% of your life as a woman in menopause. You shouldn’t feel ‘less than.’ This is part of the natural progression of your body."

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