Sleeplessness. Anxiety. Brain fog. Hot flashes. Vaginal dryness.
The symptoms of menopause can make a woman feel less like herself as she ages. It’s what happened to Hello Again Co-Founders Carrie Mapes and Patty Pappas, which started the one-time stay-at-home moms on their path toward entrepreneurship.
“We had no relationship with cannabis,” Pappas said. “We visited a dispensary for fun when it became legal and were pleasantly surprised at what a great experience it was.”
The staff at the dispensary — The Pottery in Los Angeles — was friendly and spent a lot of time educating the women about all the different products available and what they can be used for.
Mapes and Pappas learned that many cannabis products can be used to relieve the symptoms of menopause, which they both were experiencing.
“As we explored more and more, we couldn’t find a product we wanted to use — we didn’t want a head high, we didn’t want to smoke, we didn’t want to vape, and edibles were inconsistent,” Pappas said. “We thought the potential was there, but the product was not on the shelves.”
But that got the friends to thinking: What if they could come up with a product that relieved the symptoms of menopause without giving them a head high?
In their quest for a product that would fit that bill, they did a lot of research on cannabis and came to the realization that the product they needed to develop was a vaginal suppository. Cannabis in that form bypasses the liver and won’t get you high.
Mapes and Pappas knew they wanted the formulation of their product to include soothing botanicals like lavender and chamomile as well as hops and valerian root to help with focus and temperature regulation. They started by creating a suppository using just the botanicals before layering in the THC and CBD. The whole process took about four months.
Today, Hello Again offers products for both everyday use and for sleep, and the company is working on formulations for younger audiences.
At the same time they were formulating their product, the women also were creating their brand and packaging.
“We felt time was of the essence,” Mapes said. “By doing those two things in tandem, we were able to get onto shelves before COVID hit.”
The women worked with Los Angeles-based Clever Creative to come up with packaging that doesn’t scream cannabis and that’s discreet. It was also important that the messaging not come across as whining about menopause.
And the name Hello Again?
“Hello Again came from a nice dinner with our husbands and maybe a martini or two,” Mapes said. “The idea behind it is to welcome yourself back.”
Hello Again is sold in retail stores throughout California — including The Pottery, where Mapes and Pappas had their first cannabis experience.
Hello Again also will be carried at Joy Reserve, a delivery service that’s opening the first dispensary in a mall — between Bloomingdale’s and J. Crew at City Center in San Francisco.
“You can order it and it will be delivered to you later,” Pappas said. “You’ll be in an experience in a mall that is safe and familiar.”
The company’s goal is to reach 3% of the menopause market in California. It also wants to expand into other states — it’s even had inquiries from Japan and South Africa.
Since Mapes and Pappas first visited The Pottery dispensary about three years ago, many more brands with wellness potential that are interesting to women have been developed.
“The teas, the drinks, the bath balms are nice entry points for people who have never tried cannabis,” Pappas said. “We like to include ourselves in that category.”
“We creatively solved our own menopause, and we hope other women will do the same,” Mapes added.