Updated: Sep 30
Although “celebration” is not the first word that usually comes to mind when we think about menopause, we are encouraged during National Menopause Awareness Month to embrace this time in our lives rather than dread these very natural changes. We spoke with two company CEO's with great product lines. Sheilisa McNeal-Burgess, Co-founder and CEO of Fria Jewelry, shared with us how her lifestyle brand is helping women “keep cool.” Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, CEO of Kindra, explains that women deserve not only answers but solutions. Both Fria and Kindra utilize a scientific and technological approach to provide those solutions when counteracting menopausal symptoms.
We wanted to learn more about both Sheilisa and Catherine as well as their products.
Sheilisa’s Career Prepared Her For Creating Fria
Sheilisa is currently an Adjunct Instructor at New York University’s School of
Professional Studies and has had a successful career in writing, marketing
and public relations for over 30+ years, she shared. “I’ve loved words all my
life and have been writing since I was 9 years old. So, it's no surprise that
most of my work experience has been in fields where I’ve been able to make
my passion my profession. However, I now have a new professional “love”
You might think it is an odd transition from a career in writing and
communications to a tech start-up, but as Sheilisa explains, she has always
loved solving problems and Fria came into existence because there was a
problem that needed a solution.
How Does Fria Work?
Fria Jewelry connects with the body's major cooling zones around the neck
and wrists to deliver instant relief from overheating.
The name “Fria,” means cold in Spanish. While the product is tech based–it’s not an electronic device. “We use nano-thermal cooling in a passive application to help women "keep their cool" without altering their biology in any way as most menopause relief remedies do” she said. When Sheilisa first embarked on the journey to address the discomfort of hot flashes, the Fria team didn’t know exactly what technology they would use or how it would work, but were determined to find the right one that could be integrated into fashion accessories easily and without any harmful side effects. When asked how she came up with the idea she replied, “I literally woke up one day after a miserable night of sweats with the idea of cooling jewels. I was neither a tech nor a jewelry person but I didn't let that stop me from believing I could create what I envisioned.”
Despite not having a professional background in technology, Sheilisa has
always had an interest in how things work. “Necessity is the mother of
invention, and technology is an infinite phenomenon that can be used in both
traditional and non-traditional ways” she says, so creating a solution that is
biologically safe, environmentally friendly and pretty is something she’s proud
to bring to market.
Fun, Fashionable and Functional Designs
With the help of renowned jewelry brand Swarovski’s design team, Fria
Jewelry will offer several options of fun, fashionable and functional bracelets.
They are currently expected to launch a limited run in time for the 2020
What Else Can We Expect from Fria?
In addition to the jewelry product line, you can find Sheilisa hosting “The
Pause – Reclaiming Our Time,” an online show where topics related to mid-
life are discussed candidly and honestly. (The show can be viewed on the
MyFria.com website or Facebook Watch).
“There's a lot of mystery and dare we say, ignorance surrounding the subject
of menopause and mid-life - so we created the show, to give women (and
men too) a "safe space" to have real, honest and uncensored discussions that
can help them be the best version of themselves, professionally, mentally and
relationally as they navigate this time often filled with life altering transitions.”
Sheilisa's Two Recommendations to the Hello50 Community
1) Eliminate any idea or limiting self-talk that says "you're too old" to start a
new business, make a career change or anything else. It's not true.
Actually, once you reach the 50-year milestone you have the value of
both wisdom and experience to help you succeed in anything you do.
Use it to your advantage. Start that business, pursue that new job
opportunity outside of your relative work experience. Let your passion
become your profession. Nothing is impossible. The minute you
conceive an idea, it becomes possible. Let no one tell you otherwise.
2) Recommendation #2… Repeat #1
Visit Fria by going to www.myfria.com to learn more about their jewelry and The Pause - Reclaiming Our Time.
Kindred Spirits, Community and Kindness
Kindra offers a collection of estrogen-free products to help soothe menopause symptoms. They also connect women with resources and expertise through their blog and menopause quiz. The name Kindra comes from the idea of not only kindred spirits and community for women but also with an emphasis on kindness along with a dash of humor.
CEO Catherine Balsam-Schwaber Path to Kindra
Catherine Balsam-Schwaber’s professional background in business always included uplifting women and building community. Catherine explains that she takes a science based approach to find the solutions that are helping women through menopause. She works with medical professionals and women’s health practitioners to address both the physical and psychological aspects of this phase of life.
Kindra’s Mission to Support WomenThrough Their Menopause Journey
Catherine believes women should be supported through menopause and not be made to feel “less than” for 40% of their lives. She explains “In the U.S. especially, this is a real issue. Just listen to Michelle Obama’s podcast. We have been conditioned to be ashamed, embarrassed, and hide menopause.” Look no further than google, as Catherine gives as an example, and you will find the word “menopause” treated almost like a disease rather than a natural part of life experienced by half of the population. Catherine believes “We need to do better by women. Kindra is here to make sure that we really DO better on every possible level.”
Kindra’s Estrogen-Free Product Line
All of Kindra’s formulas are clinically tested using nature's most effective treatments. The products are all estrogen-free which is not only appealing to women but often a vital option for women not eligible for prescription hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or concerned about HRT side effects. Since a prescription is not required, the products are accessible and safe and effective.
Catherine emphasizes that “Another critical aspect of Kindra’s focus is to normalize the experience and take away this sensation that you are alone in this experience and that menopause sneaks up on you or steals your youth.” This all plays into Kindra’s mission which is to provide products that soothe and relieve symptoms as well as provide community to women going through menopause.
Catherine’s Favorite Kindra Products
The Daily Vaginal Lotion is their best seller. Catherine is so moved by the reaction by women who are so appreciative for the product. She explains that they have called it a miracle and even a "game changer." Women tell Catherine that their sex lives have been improved. "It’s humbling and rewarding. It fuels us to keep going.”
Catherine also loves the Core Dietary Supplement which is a personal go-to product for her. “It’s an all-in-one supplement that is designed to nourish skin, boost immunity, enhance brain function, support heart health and even improves my body’s response to stress. It also happens to keep hot flashes and night sweats at bay. I take it every day!”
Catherine’s Recommendation to the Hello50 Community
1) Find time to care for yourself. It may seem suspiciously simple, but put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others. Take walks, read a book, workout, set a virtual coffee or wine date with your best friends. Self-care does not just happen. We need to make it happen.
2) Join a community of women on this journey. The support, information and sense of camaraderie I see in our Facebook community helps me every day.
Visit the Kindra website to learn more about Kindra products and their community.