A conversation with Deborah Garlick, founder of Henpicked
At Emepelle we love working with other organisations who are raising awareness of menopause. We were therefore delighted to team up with Henpicked, an online community of 100,000, where mid-life women share advice, stories and inspiration.
We caught up with Henpicked’s founder Deborah Garlick to get her view on current attitudes towards menopause and find out more about the Henpicked community.
What is Henpicked and when did it begin?
Henpicked is an online community and one of the UK’s largest, fastest-growing websites for women aged predominantly in the 40 and over age group. Or as we like to say, it’s for ‘women who weren’t born yesterday’.
Henpicked began in 2013 and was the combination of two like-minded websites – Henpicked and totally4women, which was created by the late Carolyn Lazarus.
Why did you create the Henpicked community?
We saw a need for Henpicked as there were lots of online resources for young adults and pregnant women but not much for mid-life women.
So, Henpicked is here to give women a place to have their say, sparking discussion, promoting healthy debate and, we hope, bringing about positive change.
What have you learned since creating Henpicked?
When we published our first article about menopause on Henpicked it resonated with so many women. We got a lot of traffic from people who left comments like “I’ve got no idea what’s going on in my body” or “I’m not getting any support” and many more comments that just said “there’s not enough awareness about this”. My biggest learning has been that there is still a huge lack of awareness around menopause and women often don’t understand what’s going on in their body.
What are people looking for when they come to Henpicked?
People are looking for reliable honest advice. Every time we publish an article on menopause, people still want more. They want help, advice and support from others in the community.
During menopause, there’s lots going on. There are the physical symptoms but then there’s also the psychological symptoms. You might start to feel anxious or begin forgetting things and that can lead to a loss of confidence. This creates a perfect storm where women feel the need to hide what’s happening. We hope that our community provides the help and advice to normalise menopause and make it easier to talk about.
Why do you feel that menopause has traditionally been a subject people are reluctant to talk about?
Menopause has been around as long as there’s been women, and they’ve lived long enough. The difference is, if you go back a hundred years, menopause occurred towards the end of a woman’s life which I think contributes to the view that it’s when you’re old. So, it was widely ignored as a topic. Now times have changed but the perception of menopause hasn’t caught up.
Today women are living for longer, working for longer, and have more responsible roles. A mid-life woman may still have children at home, may have elderly parents that they’re looking after, may have a job, may have big responsibilities. Then comes along menopause, and something’s got to give.
How would you like to see attitudes towards menopause change in the future?
I’d like to see attitudes in life and the workplace change. There are still some negative assumptions and women don’t want their boss thinking they’re coming towards the end of their working life or that they’re not good at their job anymore.
It’s time to shift our mindset. It should be as easy to talk about menopause as it is the weather or puberty or pregnancy. We’re focusing on menopause in the workplace to normalise it.
Where do you think the gaps are when it comes to information available to women about menopause?
Menopause is something all women will experience in one way or another. The perception in the past was that menopause only affected older women. But when you look at the figures, you realise it actually occurs in the middle of life, not the end.
Our message is that going through menopause can be a positive experience if you know what to do about it. It’s not even the beginning of the end, it’s a new chapter. So, we want to look at how we can change the stereotype and provide the information that helps women regain their confidence during menopause and thrive.
For me, Emepelle is on the essential list.
When were you first introduced to Emepelle?
I first became aware of Emepelle in October last year. And if I’m being honest, I’m really hard to sell face cream to. Having headed up internal communications at Boots, I’m always delve deeply into the claims made in marketing. So, when I was given a free sample of Emepelle, I didn’t use it straight away. But when I ran out of my usual cream I thought, “This looks gorgeous. I’ll give it a try.”
And Emepelle really did work. It does deliver on its promises. My skin is menopausal, it’s sensitive, it’s dry. The year before, I’d finished a year using Roaccutane (an acne treatment) and was left with very fragile skin, particularly around my top lip and my nose and Emepelle is the only thing that’s sorted that out.
So I was a fan as soon as it started to kick in. Then I talked to one of the doctors with me at an event – Dr Jo Hobson - who’d also been given an Emepelle sample. I said, “That cream, did you use it? Any chance you could give me yours if you haven’t?” And she replied, “You’ve got to be kidding me. It’s really good stuff!”
The amazing thing about Emepelle is the MEP. For me, it’s the first time, since using the acne treatment that I’ve been able to lose the dry skin around my nose and top lip.
The difference in the moisture in my skin is fabulous. It’s not as cheap as my old brand but actually, a lot of the things you buy over the counter have got very limited active ingredients whereas Emepelle really does have ingredients in it that work.
Would you recommend Emepelle to others?
Absolutely. For me, Emepelle is on the essential list. I think a lot of other brands need to learn a lot more about menopausal skin. It’s not just about dry skin. It is about the things that happen to the skin during menopause.
And this comes back to the stereotype, doesn’t it? Menopause can really affect your personal identity and how you feel about yourself. I think having products that really do work is essential to help you feel your best. And that impacts on everything doesn’t it?
A huge thank you to Deborah from Henpicked for talking to us.