Generation X women, those born between 1964 and 1980, were taught to compete. We were taught scarcity—that the pool of jobs, men, attention was limited, so you better sharpen those elbows.
Stacy London, former host of TLC’s What Not to Wear and current CEO of State of Menopause, is a Gen X woman. But she, like many of us between the ages of 42 and 57, have evolved. We’ve learned from experience and younger generations that collaboration delivers better results than competition. And London is putting the concept to practice with the first Menopause CEO Summit in New York City on October 18, which also happens to be World Menopause Day.
“We have come together and collaborated to do something that is in service of a community,” London said, “that’s so much bigger than each one of our companies is, or could serve. I really hope that this is the future of business.”
The CEOs to speak at the conference include leaders in the up-and-coming field of menopause health including Womaness CEOs Sally Mueller and Michelle Jacobs, Kindra CEO Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, Wile CEO Gwendolyn Floyd, Pause Well-Aging CEO Rochelle Weitzner, and more.
Many of the brands’ product offerings overlap, but they’re putting aside competition to address the bigger picture. London says topics of discussion will include research, education, legislative reform, reframing how our culture views aging women, and why VCs need to stop ignoring Gen X.
“We are able to put aside the fact that yes, Pause Well Aging has a cooling spray and so do I—that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be in the same room, moving the needle, and talking about the culture of menopause,” London said. “That doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about the lack of clinical research or the lack of education for the consumer and work together to serve a community that needs all of us, not just one of us. And I’ve never been in an industry where that was possible.”
The way London was passionate about personal style and helping women feel comfortable in their clothes (and by extension their own skin), she is now passionate about women’s wellness at midlife. Being a CEO is new to London, as is menopause—she says she suffered with symptoms for four years before she understood what was happening. But based on our hour-plus-long Zoom call, you’d guess her current interests were lifelong passions. London bristles with knowledge and excitement for the brand, the issues it addresses, and the women it serves.
This new phase started for London when she was invited to beta test a new brand called State Of, created for people in menopause. The timing was interesting: She had recently tried to sell a What-Not-To-Wear-ish show about middle-aged women and personal style. Zero networks expressed interest.
”I pitched to every streamer and every channel to crickets,” she said. “Everybody said nobody wanted to watch middle-aged women on television. And I was like, ‘I don’t know what you, who you think the Real Housewives are.’”
In the wake of that frustration, State Of Menopause’s parent company decided to pivot in a different direction, and they asked London if she’d be interested in taking on the menopause brand. Leading a company that aimed to improve the lives of midlife women felt right. But she had little interest in simply selling things to people.
“I want the company to have products the same way on ‘What Not to Wear’ I wanted you to wear clothes because they’re instruments, they’re weapons in your arsenal of making sure that you feel and look the way you want to feel,” London said.
State of Menopause offers an array of products to soothe menopause symptoms, including a Cooling Spray and Hand & Joint Cream using arnica, as well as a collection of CBD products. Other products are more in the beauty realm, like the Hydrogel Facemask, and Rejuvenating Face Oil, which addresses London’s severe psoriasis (which she’s had since she was 3 and is the cause her signature silver hair streak). And, by the way, London recently announced a 50% discount across the entire site until Mercury is out of retrograde.
Other brands in the menopause space carry similar products and also strive to bring attention to the often-unseen issues that women face at midlife. And London is thrilled to gather their collective energy at her Menopause CEO Summit and beyond.
“No one of us is big enough to burst through the doors of this consumer market,” London said. “It really is an all ships rise together movement for this community.”