How I Decided To Start My Business During Menopause

I’m Rochelle Weitzner, the founder of PAUSE Well-Aging™, a skincare line developed to find solutions to the pain points experienced during menopause. Still, there’s something you should know: I knew nothing about menopause before it happened to me. I vaguely knew that menopause had to do with estrogen fluctuations and periods ceasing forever. I didn’t have any idea that there were three stages of it and that once you started menopause, you were in it for the rest of your life.

Navigating the Uncharted Territory of Menopause

I had heard about hot flashes but had no clue what one would feel like… until it happened to me. During the summer of 2017, I was driving to the beach and suddenly found myself sweating. I mean really sweating. So, I cranked up the A/C and was ready to crack a joke about the heat when I noticed everyone else in the car was shivering. And then it hit me: I was 48 and this was my first hot flash.

So, I did what anyone would do. I panicked.

From Panic to Purpose: The Birth of PAUSE Well-Aging™

I felt like my life was over. Beachside lunches and long walks along the surf would be the sentimental last act before the credits rolled – not the climactic sequence of the life I'd been working towards. For the first time, I felt my age and the limitations that lay ahead, as well as the turning point in my looks. Because you see, I was a cosmetics executive. I had been expected to represent the brands I worked for, and I always stayed close to a mirror to make sure every hair was in place, every line was concealed, and everything appeared as it should. That day, I knew things were about to change.

I’ll be honest, my vanity took over. I started thinking about what products could get me out of this so-called mess. But I realized, to my horror, that I was grasping at straws. Sure, there were tons of products for anti-aging, but I was aging. And there was nothing on the market to help me and every other woman my age to embrace that reality. During a career spent promoting beauty as youthful radiance, I'd not only neglected the millions of women older than me – I'd neglected my future.  

With no great resources to turn to, something had to be done. I couldn’t be the only one struggling through menopause, right? My panic very quickly turned into productivity (possibly the one upshot of menopause-induced insomnia) and six months later, PAUSE was born. I wanted to focus on Well-Aging™, not anti-aging, to inform and equip women to make the most of all three stages of menopause. 

Breaking the Silence: Menopause in the Modern Conversation

Do you even know about the three stages of menopause? Most women don’t, and like I said, I certainly didn’t. There’s perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. When I was young, my mother told me what to expect when I got my period, but she never told me what would happen when it stopped forever.

Three decades after the Golden Girls, in the era of third-wave feminism and #metoo, menopause was still a taboo subject spoken about in a whisper. When I started PAUSE nobody in the marketplace knew how to talk about it, magazines weren’t using the word menopause, and brands were overlooking this market. However, +2 years after PAUSE launched, I’m proud to say we are seeing changes.

When I met with magazines in 2019, I got the same feedback from every beauty editor “We don’t talk about menopause – we don’t want women to feel bad about themselves”. But I knew the impact of their silence had the exact opposite effect. We needed women to know that they were not alone, that what they were experiencing was normal, but they didn’t need to suffer in silence.

Instead of giving up, I got louder and bolder. Now, menopause has been a feature in every major beauty magazine, celebrities are opening up about their experiences, and while we still have more barriers to break, we are no longer alone in this conversation.

I hope that my story and PAUSE can be an inspiration for other women. I want women to feel empowered, beautiful, and capable of thriving during this time that, for a lot of us, might feel scary, confusing, and even a little crazy. I want to offer PAUSE Well-Aging™ to the women before and after us as something beyond a beauty brand. Through education, practical advice, and stories from everyday women dealing with menopause, I want to demystify and take the fear out of this experience that every woman eventually goes through.

For me, that drive to the beach was a pause in more ways than one. It made me think about what I had been doing. But more importantly, it made me think about where I needed to go and what I needed to do to help women like me age the way we want to. As a woman in my 50s, I’m here to show that menopause does not have to be an end, it can be an exciting new beginning.