To mark National Menopause Month, we’ve been sitting down with some of the phenomenal female founders of some of our favourite brands! And today’s conversation is also with one of my favourite humans too - the wonderfully talented and generous Annee de Mamiel, of the eponymous skincare brand, de Mamiel.
Annee’s reflections on midlife are insightful and thought provoking. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
First, tell us a little bit about you and how de Mamiel came to life. What motivated you to create it? What moments, life experiences and perspectives got you to ‘here’? What principles drive its evolution?
I have had quite a varied and adventurous background, I love a good challenge! From rural Australia via Futures trading floor to Iron Man Triathlons and Round the World yacht racing. I guess has shaped my unique approach to skincare and clinical practice. I sort of think I would love to do that and make it happen by throwing myself into what it is!
I have a deep fascination with the body’s innate intelligence and how it functions at a cellular level to heal itself, this drew me to study Anatomy and Physiology at University along with Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. Further studies in Clinical Aromatherapy, Breathwork, Craniosacral Therapy followed. It was during my residency at Guangzhou Hospital in China that drove home the efficacy of Chinese medicine and the power it can wield treating both body and mind as one. This started my journey combining East and Western practices
The inspiration is always my patients – and the need to live with the stress in their lives. They are my biggest teacher and starting point.
The brand wasn't planned but came out of a need for effective at-home aftercare for my patients. I wanted products that worked on an emotional level, on a physical level and at a much deeper cellular level to create real change.
The response from my patients was overwhelming and this ultimately drove the wider brand launch. Everything I create addresses the root cause of a problem or symptom that's manifesting on the skin, I go deeper to see what’s causing the problem. People love my bespoke approach to dealing with the effects of stress on face and body and it seems to resonate with their needs.
de Mamiel is centred around performance and wellness, it is born of a philosophy that blends the wisdom of ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture, aromatherapy and modern botanical science to create treatments and products that work on an emotional, physical and cellular level to make a real difference to unite skin and soul.
Performance, Neuroscience, Sustainability, Innovation continues to drive how I formulate the next product, understanding the needs of my patients and giving them what they need before they realise it.
How do you define success for what you do and also yourself individually?
For me the raison d’être has always been about my patients and making a difference, so success is when we receive incredible feedback from customers – nothing brings a greater sense of satisfaction than customers taking time out and sending us a note, so very grateful to say what a change they see and how much better it makes them feel – magic!
Practically of course we have to have metrics of success for the business, I love knowing the data and understanding it – revenues, growth, customer retention, profitability – we have such an incredible loyal customer who continues to come back, which is incredible because it really reinforces that what we are doing is right and there is such a need for it.
Has your definition of success changed over time as an individual?
For me, I tend to be my harshest critic, always seeking more and ways to make things better, so can be really tough on myself. In sport I was always about the data and metrics shaving seconds off my time in a race was essential, hours spent in just training through transitions could make a difference in the winners circle. Now, less so, turning up and just doing it some days is a win! I am learning to slow a little – Willow, our puppy has taught me so much! Learning to look at the small wins and to take a step back for some perspective to appreciate the many things I have indeed achieved.
What correlation, if any, do you see between age and ambition?
I love this question!
I think as long as you love what you are involved in, the purpose is what is important and the drive and vision to make it happen can be effortless.
The wisdom we accumulate with age allows that ambition to work in our favour – creating joy and happiness in our worlds, seeing those accomplishments come to life but being able to do it working more smartly rather than furiously working every hour given to us.
Sometimes when we lose our way, the ambition becomes stressful and harder to manage s we put that pressure on ourselves but finding the balance and comfort within our mind, body and life situation is what is important.
Many of your clients are females navigating midlife and menopause. What conversations do you find them wanting to have? What bothers them most? What are they looking for?
The thing I think is most prevalent is mostly that woman want to be heard, and to know that they are not going through this alone, that they are not going mad!
I think perhaps there is still so much fear and impeding doom around it, that they way they feel is going to last forever, is what they are feeling and going through part of Perimenopause/menopause or something else?
It is sometimes difficult to cut through the noise and understand what is right for them – where to start to find the right information and support– how to mix HRT and natural methods.
With so many conversations going on, it has become so much easier to find information and support but so much of it is about acceptance that you may need it and its OK to ask!
What are your aspirations for your business over the next 24 months?
In the current environment it's a matter of survival! Just putting our head down and doing what we do best. It is really about growing our community and educate about managing long term stress, how this impacts our whole body and
What do you wish your younger self had known about:
Life: you don't always have to fly by the seat of your pants!
Love: Don’t be afraid
Health: is Wealth!
Work: Don’t be afraid to trust in yourself and stand by your core believes and values
What would be your key advice to women transitioning through menopause today? What practical steps could they take to better support their bodies and minds?
Find your people! Everyone’s journey is different, but this does not define you, if something isn’t working, figure out why and make changes- you don't have to suffer through it. It’s not always a straightforward pathway as the hormone system is complex, but it’s so important to work through it with a support network around you.
There are a few key factors that can make an incredible difference in managing the symptoms – understanding how to manage your stress, knowing where you hold it in your body and how it effects your mind so as soon as it appears you can start to tackle it, before it spirals. Good nutrition and Exercise are also essential in finding your flow. As our hormones change, so does the way we metabolise foods, the way we react to stress and generally our mental well being. Get to understand what triggers you, and what relieves and eases these triggers. We can help balance our hormones through the right nutrients (either whole foods or supplements), different forms of movement nourish and support our whole physiology.
My advice is, most importantly, educate yourself. That way, you know you are not alone and that this is maybe a ‘normal’ manifestation. You also then have the ability to take control and make this transition as smooth as possible.
There is help out there, in so many areas and the more you know, the more you can do to help yourself, the easier you can identify if this is right for you don't have to put up with feeling so awful! Don't let it consume you either. Find a few key people who share your views, of how you would like to manage things, if it doesn't work for you don't be afraid to change things – there is no wrong or right way and ask your girlfriends! It’s not always a straight forward pathway as the hormone system is complex and its OK whatever path you choose.
One of my mantras to almost everyone is Be Good To You! As women, we apply additional pressure on ourselves to do everything for everyone and we don’t have enough energy for ourselves as we put ourselves last. Find time for yourself and most importantly guilt is not an option.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the MPowder community about our second spring?
Life is about seasons and cycles in Chinese medicine, these are poignant in the way our lives flow. With our teens, from our first period comes Spring, the season of exploration and discovering who we are and what our world is about, our thirties are the Summer years where we feel the strong drive to manifest our unique offerings into the world. The Autumn years bring perimenopause, a time where we start to see more clearly what is happening around us and prepare to let go of what is not serving us.
The cross-over into the choppy waters of Autumn as we arrive into perimenopause can rock us because we are not expecting this inward journey to happen. We spend so much of our lives being there for other people, to be hyper-productive and open, the change to an inward focus feels foreign, before heading into the Winter of menopause for healing and repair. Then we begin again!!
Second Spring, begins a whole new cycle of expansion. It’s exciting, we emerge from the quiet of Winter wide eyed, wondering what is going on and as our energy builds, we start to explore who we have become.
We can explore new ways of being, but this time, without the pressure of who we ‘ought’ to be. It’s both an exciting and tender time, as we learn to hold our vulnerability alongside our authority and find our path in this new cycle of life. Take your time as Second Spring is followed by another season of manifestation in Second Summer!!
Finally, we all know that stress can exacerbate menopause symptoms and we’re all living with a constant underlying anxiety - from the pandemic, from the disproportionate impact it has had on women, from political upheaval, from the cost of living crisis…from unprecedented job insecurity. What have you done to better support yourself in the last 12 months? What have you learned?
We are so blessed living in the country, our office and lab is on farm, not far from our house, being so immersed in nature ignites and at the same time calms the soul. That nature connection is so often lost in modern day life, and what I found leaves us a little lost or unfulfilled hen there is no other reason for that
I have found that the rhythm I used to have no longer works – so I changed my exercise routine so it is more balanced – Running, Peloton with Yoga and Pilates and long, long walks.
I make sure of course that I take all my nutritional supplements (always a Vitamin D, Iodine, probiotic, omega 3 fish oil from Bare Biology, MPowder- of course!). I find cooking a stress relief, so being in the kitchen most weekends is my real happy place and always a good excuse for a dance around the kitchen!! I am an early riser and so getting to bed early is essential otherwise it is just jibber coming out of my mouth! Acupuncture is something I can’t live without as it helps me to cope with stress. Over the years I have used several types of meditation practices and continue to do so but at this stage in my life, Breathwork is it.
On a more personal level, I am getting to learn to speak to myself in a calmer way, as I would with friends or a patient - with empathy and compassion. I haven’t totally cracked it yet but slowly getting there!
For me it’s all about balance – a little bit of everything is essential but you also need a little sassiness, with a huge dose of laughter and the rediscovery of joy!!
Thank you Annee. To learn more about the de Mamiel range and in person services, head to their website HERE.
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