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What is menopause? Well, in guy terms, menopause falls somewhere between a ten-year hangover and a 32,000-hour Inception marathon.

Bringing Harmony Back to The V-Force

patty-pappas-and-carrie-mapes-hello-again

This is interview originally appeared on the Fearlessly Facing Fifty podcast with Amy Schmidt and guests Carrie Mapes and Patty Pappas, co-founders of Hello Again.

Amy Schmidt:

No, you are not losing your mind. No, it’s not hot in here.  No, you don’t have to suffer through menopause anymore. That’s what we’re talking about today. 

Hey there, I’m Amy Schmidt and welcome to this episode of the fearlessly facing fifty podcast.  I’m so happy you are here. You know I’ve decided to take that ‘B’ word out of my narrative if you follow me on my blog of the fearlesslyfacingfifty.com, you’ll see I wrote about it.  A lot of people were wondering what the ‘B’ word is. The ‘B’ word for me is Busy. I’m eliminating that from my narrative. As we get back to our regularly scheduled business, I’m not ready to go back to that. 


There are too many silver linings that came out of the pandemic. I know there was great loss. There was great sorrow. There was anxiety and uncertainty, but there also was time, time for us to reflect on really what is important and what we really value time for conversations, time together, under one roof. So you know what? I’m eliminating busy. I’m calling it productive, but you’re going to be hard pressed to ever hear me say, I’m too busy.

Carrie Mapes and Patty Pappas: Their Story

So today I’ve a great show and I’m excited to introduce you to these two amazing women:  Carrie Mapes and Patty Pappas. 

Carrie and Patty go way back to 20 years ago, they met when their oldest children started preschool. Friends ever since, they’ve always been adventurous and open-minded, but it wasn’t until they became empty nesters that they decided to do something crazy and really inspiring.  And you’re going to hear about it today because they’ve launched their company called ‘Hello Again’, it’s kind of like the line of Lionel Richie song.

Hello? Is it me you’re looking for? Hello Again is definitely something you’re going to be looking for. If you are a peri menopausal, menopausal or post-menopausal woman, I’m telling you, you are going to love this. So stay tuned for an insightful and inspiring conversation. Well, this is going to be a great conversation today, and I’m excited about this one because it’s a topic we haven’t talked about.

And I want to just start by saying I received some samples, which was so nice, from Patty and Carrie and I used these samples and I posted it on my Instagram story. And I got a few things coming back to me saying, well, what is this? What is this all about? So I’m so excited to introduce to you the founders of Hello Again, and their products and everything about their story and their journey. So Patty and Carrie, welcome. Welcome to the podcast.

Patty and Carrie:

Thank you, Amy.

Amy:

I’m going to start with a quote that I found when I was doing some research and I don’t know which one of you guys said this, but it said cannabis isn’t treating a symptom.  It’s enhancing your system to bring balance to your body, so you can feel like yourself again. 

That’s a goose bump quote.  I think for women to hear “feeling like themselves again” like that just is transformational in so many ways for women at midlife and beyond. So let’s talk about your story, your journey. I have many women on (the show).  I just had Girls Gone 50 on; I’ve had Grown and Flown on and there’re lots of companies where women that have been friends go ahead and have forged this friendship. They know each other inside and out. They know each other’s kids. They’ve been there through the good, the bad, you know, all of that. And they decide to forge ahead with the business. So let’s start there. Let’s talk about how you started this, where your mission was and where the vision is going forward.

Patty:

Carrie and I have known each other forever. Our oldest children were born on the same day. So we have that bond.  Motherhood, marriage, all the different parallels we shared, but we didn’t set out to start a business. What we did do was go into a dispensary one day when it became legal in California, which was just about the time we had become empty nesters. It started more as a sort of educational project and an exploration project to learn about cannabis. What is this everybody’s talking about?  We educated ourselves on its potential. And then we had that aha moment, that cannabis is a real path to wellness for women our age and that’s how the ball got rolling in the beginning.

Amy:

Amazing. So this dispensary visit…

Carrie:

Yes. We went in and said, “Well, what is it?” It was the first time I’d ever been to dispensary. I think it was Patty’s too. “What actually is this, what do you do with that?”  We were asking really basic questions. And we were hearing that this product treats anxiety, this one helps with sleep. This one over here provides focus. I couldn’t believe that cannabis can help provide focus. I mean everything that we were hearing about cannabis led us to draw almost an immediate line between what we were experiencing, or we knew our friends were experiencing in menopause, and cannabis.

Amy:

And what you say with that is so powerful because we all go through this, you know, we all experience menopause differently. And all of a sudden, it’s at the forefront of conversations, which is because of women like you that are creating these incredible products for women to move ahead at a time when they really feel a lot of frustration and challenge. I want to go back to that.

Carrie:

Well, you’re almost in a silo when you’re going through it, because I know for me, symptoms just layered on so subtly, I was getting edged further and further away from myself in a way that I didn’t quite recognize until I was so far away from feeling like myself, that I knew something was wrong.   I didn’t even draw a line to menopause. Really my symptoms were a little less typical. And so I really struggled for quite some time and worried about myself for quite some time before I realized I was feeling the way I was feeling because of hormonal change:  menopause.

Amy:

That’s incredible. It really is incredible. And it is true. Women suffer in silence sometimes because we don’t want to bring it up. When you go meet your girlfriends for a walk or you go out for a glass of wine, you don’t want to mention these hot flashes or these, these periods of anxiety or these heart racing moments or what you’re experiencing. Sometimes it’s really challenging. So, to open the dialogue on something that affects everyone is so important.

I want you guys to take me back to that dispensary, that first visit there. So I’m just picturing it. Okay, you two have been friends forever. I can think of my friends that I’ve had forever and my kids are similar ages and, and I call her up and I’m like, you know what? We’re going to a cannabis dispensary today. I mean, what was that like? As I picture it, are you driving around these dark alleys and like, you know, circling in, I mean, that’s what you think. So let’s take the, take us back there.

Patty:

That is exactly what happened. I believe I called Carrie. I said, come on Carrie, we’re going to go check this out today. I picked her up and off we went and we thought it was going to be like you described. I think we both had this idea that it was going to be this dark alley type thing. We walked in and it was honestly one of the most beautiful storefronts I’d ever seen. If it had been a jewelry store, it wouldn’t have surprised me. It was beautiful and thoughtful. And everything was well presented. And the staff was really great to us. They were thoughtful. They were all young and mostly young men at that point. 

Amy:

What did they say? What were they like? Oh boy. A couple of moms.

Patty:

Yes, exactly. They were patient with us. Luckily, I think we were there at a time when there weren’t too many other customers there. So, they had the time to sort of go through things with us. And we took it; we ran them through the ringer. I mean, we were like, “What is this?  What is this? What does this do? What does that do?” We asked a thousand questions and it, and then the thought that there was potential here for us to feel better kind of bubbled to the surface that day.

Carrie:

But, we also saw that there was nothing there that we wanted to use. For sure, nothing was either packaged or marketed to us backing that day. Things are prettier now. But back in that day, things were packaged in black glossy little packages with gold and green writing.  There was nothing that really appealed to us to purchase. And, more importantly,  there was nothing for me because I didn’t want to get high. I wanted to feel better, feel healthy, but I didn’t want to get high. And there wasn’t a lot available for us.

We tried a couple edibles those didn’t work for us. Edibles were too inconsistent, too strong. We quickly realized that what we needed to create wasn’t just a marketing solution, but we really needed to create a product that wasn’t on the shelf. And that was when Hello Again started.

That’s when we realized,  fundamentally, we wanted to feel like ourselves again. And we really believed that that’s what women in menopause want to do. They want to feel like themselves again, to be able to use some at the beginning of the day, to feel good, to feel like yourself and get on with the business of your day. So this is not the end of the day relief or recreation product at all.  Hello Again is a wellness product;  part of a woman’s wellness routine.

Amy:

Which is so important because yeah, I mean, I think coming out of this pandemic too, I spend a lot of time chatting with different experts around topics and self-care is the buzz right there. I mean, that’s the word.  We’re walking out of this past year and it really was a reset for a lot of people figuring out where value is being added to their lives, slowing their cadence, figuring it out. But self-care is so important. And it’s something that women just, we just shelve. I mean, we just put it off.  

I think with menopause, probably the women that you spoke to when you were researching this, which I want to talk about probably said, “Oh, you know, I just deal with it because I think that’s what we get.”  We just deal with it and say, “Ah, well, that’s how I’m supposed to feel.  Get through it.”

Patty:

We say that our grandmothers tolerated it because there were no options. Our mothers medicated it with prescription medication, Ambien, probably a little alcohol, and we want to celebrate it. We want to just feel good and get all the things done that we want to do at this phase in life, because we’re doing a lot more at this phase of life. And I think a lot of times, like you said; people aren’t talking about it because they don’t even want to admit that they’re in menopause because for some reason it’s connected to being old. We’re trying to push that idea away. We’re not old.   Menopause does happen. It’s going to happen to all of us. We just need to take care of ourselves better so that we can feel good and live more life.

Amy:

Right. And by talking about it, by putting yourself on that list, you know, we talked about putting ourselves first and sometimes that’s too strong because I’ve had several guests, one in particular that challenged me on it and said, you can’t always be first on the list, but you’ve got at least make the list. Let’s go back before we talk about R and D. I would love to go back to this dispensary.   You take all your notes, it’s a couple of moms walking through, you know, you kind of wonder what they said when you left, don’t you?   Where they kind of chuckling?

I love it. I love it because you do kind of wonder what that undercurrent was. So you get in your car and you look over at each other. What do you do next? I mean, did you have Hello Again, as the product name that you were thinking at that point?  What were your next steps in creating this business?

Carrie:

We had a fantastic dinner with our husbands where we brainstormed for a name. As a result of that dinner, Hello, Again, came up because we want women to welcome themselves back. And you know, I just love the name. I love it. It’s happy. It’s positive. It can apply so many things that you’re welcoming into your life.  

Amy:

It’s like a Lionel Richie song. Lionel Richie is too old for this, but it’s “Hello. You know, is it me?” You’re looking for that in his words. And it’s so true. That really is true. So that’s what you did. You had dinner with your husbands. What did your kids think of this?

Patty:

They were so excited. They thought we were going to come out with an edible, something fun. You know, the idea of vaginal suppositories certainly never crossed their mind nor did it ours until it was presented to us as an option and really just the best option. So everybody was on board.  It is an investment that all our families had to make. I mean, financially and time-wise, it was something that everybody kind of had to sign on to. Luckily everybody was great and excited;  even when it became a vaginal suppository!   They’ve been on board and we’ve had so much fun.

Carrie:

I would say there they’re our biggest fan club. The kids have been really terrific about it. 


Patty:

We have 4 daughters between us who all use the products.  Carrie’s son was like, oh, well, now I’m out.

Amy:

Right. But you know, it’s funny because I have young adult kids too. And I think it’s so great for this generation to see women like ourselves doing things, because it’s not our mom’s 50. It’s not our grandmother’s 50, it’s so different. And you know, I’ve had the ability to have a 23 year old home. She usually works in New York City and she’s had to work remotely. So she’s been in and out of being here, but she views me completely differently now. And I bet that for your kids too, saying that they’re your biggest cheerleaders. That’s very empowering, isn’t it?

Patty:

A hundred percent. And it’s funny because now if somebody calls and says, “Mom, I need something.” I respond, “I can’t, I’m on a phone call” or “I won’t be home until four.” They’re okay. I think I had set up a pattern when they were younger, to drop everything. Now, I am so happy that at least in this later phase, I’m offering this other picture of what I provide for them, which starts with my health. 

Amy:

Well, there’s a lot of fear that comes in to play at this time of life. You hear about it a lot, women getting stuck, women wanting to step outside their comfort zone, create businesses, take on new challenges, maybe volunteer, and maybe even meet some new friends because friendship is a challenge at this age. How were you able to overcome the fears? I mean, you launched a business. Did you have any background in doing something like this?  You did it soup to nuts, so how did you  do that and put the fear aside and keep forging ahead.

Carrie:

Patty was a fundraiser and I was an elementary school teacher. And then we each had our kids and we were stay at home parents and no, we have not ever launched a business before. We’ve never been entrepreneurs. Honestly, I think that helped us a little bit because we didn’t know what we didn’t know, which allowed us to be probably a little bit braver than we would have been otherwise. And, we just put one foot in front of the other.  I don’t remember having a moment where we thought, oh, well, I don’t know the next steps, so let’s quit.   I know the defining moment of commitment was when we made an investment in a suppository filling machine.   That meant, okay, we’re doing this, we are all in.  In the steps up until then we just kept getting our next question answered.

We just kept meeting the next person and finding out whatever it was they knew about the little bit that we knew at the time. And we just kept moving forward. And I would say that was probably a six-month time period. We just kept moving forward every day and meeting people and getting answers. And then we finally had accumulated enough knowledge to be able to assess whether or not this was really what we’re going to do. And I had no hesitation at all. 

Patty:

And I think having a partner really helps. I mean, Carrie and I, I don’t know how to say it, but we kind of fill each other’s weak spots. So the things that maybe I was insecure about, she felt strongly about and vice versa, so we can sort of nudge each other along in that way. And it’s more fun. It’s just fun.

And having Hallman, our Marketing Director now around, I mean, we have a ball in large part because this is something that we believe in. We believed in it from Day One.  Every time we would sit down in a meeting with somebody that would be nice enough to sit and talk to us for five minutes or have a phone call with us, and we would talk about what we were thinking of doing, we got very positive feedback.   People were generous with their time and their introductions and their advice and that just kept pushing us forward. So, you know, we couldn’t have done it without collecting advice from other people and women especially, pushing us forward.

Amy:

Yeah, I think we’re so collaborative at this stage of life. We talk about that a lot competition over collaboration or collaboration over competition and how that shifts from when you’re in your twenties and your early thirties, and you’re really chasing this and you’re all in it by yourself trying to just figure it all out, not asking for help. Whereas then, you know, you kind of come to this sense of, wow, I can really collaborate and learn from other people in. And that just makes you go so much farther. I love that.

You said you were able to celebrate each other’s strengths and weaknesses. And I think that’s true. That’s collaboration right there, and also knowing and realizing that you have blind spots in certain areas. And also realizing that just because you have those blind spots doesn’t have to mean you have to stop. You can keep forging ahead and figure it out. I think that’s great.

Carrie:

I think that’s really a product of being over 50.   I don’t think that we could have done this in our twenties or thirties. First of all, that very first day, I don’t think we would have stood there and asked as many stupid questions as we did. We probably just would have felt more self-conscious about it. We wouldn’t have wanted to take up too much of the staff time. We would have been really conscious about the people waiting in line. But I’ve noticed in myself for sure, that my confidence and the way I allow myself to fill the room and speak my mind is very different than it was when I was a younger woman. I know timing is everything. I think this was the right project at the right time for Patty and me.

Also, Hello Again is helping people. I don’t think we’d be doing this if this was just a recreational product. We truly believe in the product, but more broadly, we want to help educate women about wellness, taking care of themselves, how great your fifties can be, how great this next chapter can be, cannabis and menopause.   We are all under-educated about menopause and cannabis for wellness. So we really feel like we’re doing something more than selling boxes.

Amy:

Yep, exactly. Let’s talk about cannabis because you know, it’s a word that a lot of people are going to say, oh, cannabis, that’s crazy. And we hear about CBD and so are you getting any resistance from women? Are there women that are saying, oh, this is crazy. This is crazy.

Patty:

There are even some close friends who remember what happened to them when they smoked pot in 11th grade and don’t want any part of it. And we can only go so far with our explanations that cannabis is different today and how it’s expertly cultivated and controlled. We launched a few weeks before the pandemic hit, which is a whole another podcast, but I think as the pandemic happened and people were looking for other ways, for self-care, it has opened up their minds to maybe giving it a try especially because our product doesn’t get you high.

That’s the message that we try to get out there. It’s not something to take you away from yourself. It’s something to bring you back to yourself.  It’s part of our education process. But we’re in California and cannabis an attention to wellness has been around for a long time. So I think for the most part, women are completely open to it, but there is a little subset that’s still a little afraid to try.

Amy:

A little resistant at first, trying to figure it out.

Carrie:

Because our generation grew up during the War on Drugs and the messaging around cannabis was so different and our experience of cannabis was different,  I think that our biggest challenge is right now, with women in their 50s; women currently in menopause.  But in a few short years, the next generation of women entering menopause are already going to have a very different understanding of cannabis and acceptance of cannabis and openness to cannabis. So we’re kind of in the thick of it, I think right now, and I think, cannabis for wellness is probably going to be the biggest area of growth in the cannabis space.   More and more messaging is coming out around the use of cannabis for wellness. So we’re happy to be part of that message. 

Amy:

Yeah jumping on the rocket ship. It’s a good place to be. So what about the suppository? Was that really what you had in mind when you thought about a product? Because I mean, I was on suppositories on progesterone suppositories when I was pregnant with my first child. Didyou think about having a capsule at first or how did it transform into this?

Patty:

We had every idea possible. And then somebody had brought up this idea of a suppository and when you look at how it’s delivered, the other benefits that come from  a suppository, the fact that we can utilize the THC, a higher dose of THC without getting delivering the typical high, it took maybe less than a minute for Carrie and I to decide this was the right delivery system.  It was like, boom, yes, that’s it. So it didn’t take much convincing, but we did look at other ideas first.

Carrie:

What really made us pivot to a suppository was when we came across a friend of a friend who was a doctor and had been using cannabis for palliative care. And one of the things that he learned was that the female reproductive tract is the second densest place for cannabinoid receptors in your body, the brain being the first.  So that’s what really pivoted us. And then the more we researched the way suppositories deliver any kind of medication, the more we realized our product had to be a vaginal suppository. Plus we love the poetry of taking this space back and using it for your wellness. It’s been shared space for a long time.

Amy:

If people go to your website, so are they able to order, are you able to ship to all 50 states?

Patty:

This is always the question, and sadly, no, not yet. It’s going to be coming soon we hope.  But no, and that was also one of the things that made it a little bit more of an easier decision for Carrie and I to jump in.  Because in the cannabis business, you have to create your product and sell your product in the same state.

So we are only able to sell in the State of California, which was a little bit more of a manageable business model as opposed to selling everywhere across the country, but we hope to0 soon, but no, sadly we are only available in the State of California.

Amy: 

Okay. But so much more to come!  Well, I just love this conversation. I think it’s great. I’m going to link everything to the episode notes about the company. I love hearing your story and you are trailblazers. I mean, you really are, and you should be so proud of that because it’s an amazing product to make people feel like themselves again, make women celebrate menopause. It’s a part of life and we’ve earned it. You know, we’ve earned this opportunity in our life to feel good and feel like ourselves. One question I like to ask all of my guests and Patty, maybe you can go first and then Carrie, I’ll have you close it out. 

If you were sitting on the couch with your 30 year old self and you look over and there you are, what advice would you give yourself?

Patty:

We were listening to the Sara Blakely masterclass and she talks about the entrepreneurial spirit. And the three things she talks about is this willingness to take risks, daring to fail and not caring about what people think. And I think that that is exactly what I would tell my 30 year old self.  Take risks.  Don’t worry about failing and don’t care about what people think. That would be my message.

Amy:

That’s like the trifecta of a champion right there. Yeah. Love that. Thank you.

Carrie:

Oh my God. You should have started with me and closed with Patty. That was good.

I think just knowing where I was at 30, I think I would say simplify your life. You don’t need to be a pinball reacting to what everybody else wants you to do and what life tells you should be doing. So simplify your life. And, I know so many people say this and I point out to my daughter all the time, wear sunscreen.

Amy:

Ah, so true. Good advice. Well, I love this. Thanks so much, ladies. I appreciate it. I’ll link everything. I look forward to see what’s to come with you guys. So anyway, thanks so much. Thanks so much for the time.

Patty and Carrie:

Thanks Amy.

Amy:

I love that conversation today. I’ve loved it because I learned something and I really encourage you to go check out ‘Hello Again’, they’re only sold in California, but go ahead and follow them, their journey, their story, because there is a lot of value and a lot more to learn. 

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