Rebekah Brown was turned away by her GP because she was ‘too young’ to have symptoms of menopause.
So, she found herself trawling the aisles of the local health food store, staring at a vast range of products and ingredients she knew nothing about. Curiosity cut through the brain fog. She looked further into the bio-chemical changes the female body goes through in menopause and what vitamins we all need at each stage, regardless of symptoms. She explored the impact and practicality of dietary changes. She researched what herbs and vitamins have seen results in trials and, critically, what dosages have an impact.
Armed with insight, and a growing sense of frustration that women were under-served with honest information and better options, MPowder was born.
How did MPowder come about?
It began with a personal mission to get well! I just couldn’t find anything on the shelves at the time that felt thoroughly researched and specifically targeted to the bio-chemical stages we went through. The offerings felt dated and lazy. Like going back to the 1980s and the era of generic multivitamins. We know so much more about the power of nutrition now. And I couldn’t see that robustness of research in the products on the shelves. There was no attention to dosage levels. There was no supporting research. There was no sense of authenticity or purpose. I didn’t trust what I was seeing. I was also shocked by the inherent message that these menopause brands conveyed. I felt like I was in an end-of-life aisle!And it made me angry. Our generation views ageing very differently from our mothers and grandmothers. We are also the first generation likely to live 40-50% of our lives in post-menopause. This isn’t a stepping down point. This is a stepping up point. Yet the imagery was all of women with dentures, comfy cardigans…standing in cornfields. I wanted to take something that was evidence-based and honest. That addressed the full range of symptoms that women experience. I wanted something that paid attention to dosage levels and extraction techniques. And I wanted something easy! Where someone had done the hard work and I just had to remember to take it once a day. And I wanted it to be more than a product – I wanted an environment where I could explore other practices or interventions that could help me further. A curious space for curious minds that applied the same rigour to alternative therapies or life hacks as it did to the sourcing of ingredients. That is the DNA of MPowder.
What differentiates MPowder products from other supplements?
We have worked really hard to take the data from clinical trials (of which there aren’t nearly enough – but that is a whole other story!) and then overlay the experience of nutritionists, naturopaths, herbalists and functional doctors working with women transitioning through menopause every day. It means that each recipe has ingredients that are either selected for the potential shown in those clinical settings and/or on the ground results seen by our experts with their clients. We then test our recipes with our community before we launch them to ensure the efficacy we’ve designed for is realised. And this accountability is then built into our range for customers too. We actively encourage women to track the impact our blends have on their symptoms for the first month. We know everybody is different and that every woman’s menopause journey is unique too.
By providing a free symptom tracking service, women are able to evaluate the effect our blend has on them – and we are able to actively intervene with additional support if we can see persistent symptoms aren’t getting better.
The final point of difference, and perhaps the most critical one is that we are very clear that MPowder is not a silver bullet. We cannot cure menopause with a powder. This midlife point has a massive impact on how we feel about ourselves, what we want to do next, our sense of purpose. It is why we’re more than a product range. We’re a community. The programmes and courses we facilitate support the nutritional impact of our powders. They encourage women to adopt a curious mindset. To try new things. To find their path. We believe that midlife is a superpower. You just need the right tools and support to harness it.
”MPowder believe that the way we experience menopause could be intrinsically linked to nutrition –that our diet can have a significant bearing upon this transitional phase of our lives and the founders have analysed data, and worked with a legion of experts to lessen the symptoms and make the experience, well… easier! Together they’re ‘changing the change’ and encouraging you to take charge of your menopause – there’s nothing hush-hush or taboo about ageing, and MPowder’s natural supplement makes it refreshingly, rightfully positive”
Why do you think the menopause is so poorly supported?
I could talk on this for a LONG time! It begins with a fundamental lack of insight, as a result of a long-held assumption that women are tiny men. This has been exacerbated by the fact that until very recently the doctors were men, the researchers and clinicians were men and the people innovating and bringing to market new and better products were men too. The biology of the female remains a black box. We know more about our first puberty because fertility is a focus for all of society. But menopause – this reverse puberty – has been largely ignored.
A lack of insight leads to a lack of education. Menopause was not part of the biology curriculum until this year! And this change has only been brought about by grass roots lobbying in the UK. So you have generations of girls entirely unprepared for menopause. And, critically, generations of boys who don’t know what it is either.
Finally, I think you need to look to how innovation is encouraged. How change happens. You have to follow the money. The reality is that women will change this space. And yet female founders receive just 2% of Venture funding in the world today. And VCs are very slow to back sectors they don’t understand (or see themselves in). Female focused brands are seen as niche (just 51% of the population, right?!). We have to fight so much harder to get support. We have to cap our ambition. Be cautious in our outlook. Think small. Without real investment, innovation is suffocated. But can you imagine a world where the power of the female body is truly understood and realised? Where teenage girls relish getting their periods because of the value of their hormones and their cycle. Where we look forward to midlife and beyond for the wisdom, drive, confidence and creativity it brings. That is what we should be aiming for.
Is a lot of wellbeing about living whole and eating well’?
I think that we feel our best when we take a whole life approach. If I had to prioritise what has the largest impact, I’d start with the symptoms. I think stress is the single biggest thief of wellbeing. And addressing how you respond to stress (we can rarely make it go away), is the foundation of feeling well. Nutrition plays a significant part in that. But so can many other practices. I think what nutrition offers all of us, is a very accessible gateway into looking after ourselves. It doesn’t need to be complicated. But it does require a recognition of your worth. It is about taking time to make sure what you put on your plate is going to nourish you. It is quite literally fuel for life. And what we do now, in terms of nutrition, doesn’t just power our day – it powers our future.
What does MPowder hope to achieve as a business?
We want to build a global community that is also driven by the women it serves. We want to have the best, most effective products available – that are informed by the latest research. We want to agitate for a rethink about what midlife can be. We want to be a catalyst for others; to share what we learn so that women have more brands and choices available to them.
”MPowder is the world’s first plant-based supplement powder range crafted to target the three distinct biochemical stages of the menopause.”
What are your biggest challenges as a business owner and how do you overcome them?
Launching a business during a global pandemic has to be up there! It has been a huge challenge to take our brand to market at this particular moment in time. We’ve had logistical curve balls – from a world-wide shortage of a particular fig powder to issues in sourcing recycled cardboard. Everything has taken longer than we wanted. Fulfilment houses are overworked. Courier services are struggling. And that has huge implications – for our community who want and deserve new solutions and greater support now – but also for our ambition.
We’re ready with a full range and yet we’re fighting to get the ingredients into the UK constantly. We have trialists ready to try new blends, but we’re still waiting on the product to come off the production line. I’ve learned to hustle and think creatively. But also to trust in the generosity of our community. The women who buy from
us know we’re doing our best. They want us to stay true to that – to refuse to compromise on ingredients or packaging sources. They’ll wait because they know that when we’re ready they know that we’ll be sharing something we’re really proud of.
What’s your favourite quote or mantra you can’t live without?
I can achieve all that is possible in a calm and peaceful manner (my mum shared that with me as a mantra when I was at Uni. I love its circulatory nature. And it feels truer with age)
Who or what gives you the most inspiration?
The women in our community. Rediscovering themselves. Making changes. Taking charge of their health. And sharing their story to ensure that the women who follow don’t experience menopause in the same way. The women in this space reframing how we view midlife inspire me too. Check out @and.bloom if you ever need a reference for how beautiful ageing is.
”Launching a business during a global pandemic has to be up there! It has been a huge challenge to take our brand to market at this particular moment in time. We’ve had logistical curve balls -from a world-wide shortage of a particular fig powder to issues in sourcing recycled cardboard.”
What’s your actual typical day look like?
Right now – it’s a juggling act. I have a son away at uni and one teenager in the house navigating secondary school by screen. I try and squeeze my work hours around his school schedule so we can grab lunch together and dinner. But I often fail (he makes better sandwiches anyway). I try and stick to a morning routine of meditation, gratitude journaling and a cold shower.
That is the minimum – and there is no excuse – it’s a 15 minute commitment, maximum. Our team works hard to connect virtually too. Every Tuesday we take a wonder walk – which I’ve shared with our community as a simple concept that has made a big difference to us as a team. Each week we log off, for 45 minutes, and take a local walk and dial into a conference call. We each share one win, one challenge and one ask of the group. And we take a shot of our location – an image that brings us a sense of wonder. Then we return to the warmth of the home. It ensures we breathe, we connect beyond the urgent ‘to-do’ list and that we ask each other for help.
Where can everyone keep up with you to learn more?