Female Fridays : Rebekah Brown

Rebekah 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. We chat to her our what inspired her and her greatest challenges.

What inspired you to start your business? 

It began as a personal journey to get well. I entered peri-menopause and it was like hitting a brick wall. I didn't really know what 'it' was. And I had no idea that it started so young. For me menopause was for people in their mid-50s. But for most of us, the transition actually begins around the age of 43 and it can manifest itself in a huge range of symptoms. As I explored what I needed to nourish my body and mind, I became more and more frustrated by the lack of robust research and open conversation about what really worked. So our community, and then our product range was born out of a desire to make what I couldn't find. Today, we're a destination for curious minds. We provide programmes that explore everything from HRT to CBT. From meditation practices to cold water therapy. From acupuncture to moving with your cycle and your hormones. And, sitting as the foundation layer is a range of carefully researched and tested nutritional supplement that ensure your body is nourished as well as your mind.

What have been your greatest challenges ? 

Early on in our journey as a business, a seasoned entrepreneur told me that, if you ask a founder how their day is going, it will always be full of challenges. The trick is to look back over longer periods of time - because that is when you get a chance to see how far you've come. I now review, wth the team, each month's wins. It keeps us in balance - and the challenges of every day in perspective! But, for us, we've launched a business in a global pandemic. That was tough. We've had to find new ways to source ingredients as a result of Brexit. That was not easy. And our beautiful Moringa was stuck in the Suez traffic jam in March leading to a period of time without any product to sell just as word of mouth was spreading and orders grew by 300%. But I also believe that making good stuff that works in midlife was always going to be hard. If it wasn't, we wouldn't be here.

What have been your greatest rewards? 

Getting the opportunity to collaborate with our community and to then see the impact our products and programmes have has been the greatest motivator for all of us as a team. We develop our recipes with our naturopath, herbalist and medical doctor - and we base those recipes on clinical data around the potential of individual ingredients and the direct experience of our experts working with women in midlife everyday. But it is our community that then trials and verifies our blends. They track their symptoms with us for 8 weeks. And we learn so much from their feedback - from how and when they see an impact to their symptoms to how and when they take our powders. We get to see the difference in how they feel - and over that timeframe, we also become friends. Their feedback, their input to all we do makes us better. 

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

I'd tell her not to fear menopause. We, as a generation, are incredibly privileged to be likely to live 40-50% of our lives post-menopausal. Growing old is a gift. We can't just ignore it. We shouldn't want to. Wisdom is a superpower. So reframe it. Seek out the role models, the media sources, the brands that help you harness that power rather than hide it.

What advice would you give young, female entrepreneurs? 

To be bold. You don't have to look like the people sitting opposite you in the fundraising meetings. In fact, it is highly unlikely that you will! Women entrepreneurs receive a fraction of VC funding and you're likely to get even less if you're a sole female founder...or creating a brand focused on women as your core audience. Unconscious bias means you're going to have to pitch from your view point. What you know to be true will not be obvious. Do your homework. Quantify the opportunity in terms that can be easily understood. And remember that they should be pitching for a bit of your brilliance. You hold the cards.

What’s your vision for the future of your business? 

We have two products available today (and listed with Oxygen Boutique - thank you!). And they've seen phenomenal results both in trial and in the data we analyse through our free symptom tracking service which comes with every pouch. MPowder Peri-Boost is designed to support bodies, regardless of symptoms, from around the age of 43. And MPowder Meno-Boost is to be taken 12 months' after your last period. Our focus next is on our Post-Boost blend. And post-menopause is basically the rest of our lives. Too often post menopause supplementation is purely about brittle bones and heart health. But we have so much more living to do! Our recipe will support nutritional deficiencies that can lead to osteoporosis and cardiovascular health issues, but we're also testing the impact of nootropics and how we can feed our brains to ensure we remain vital and vibrant.