She2.0 started out as a very personal passion project for Jacquie Court and Ramona Gornik-Lee, two longtime marketing and advertising professionals.
Both had gone through early menopause and felt let down by shortcomings in the health system. “We both suffered health issues from our doctor’s lack of a proper diagnosis,” said Court (left in photo below). Hoping to do something about that flawed system, last year the pair started their own podcast—”She2.0 is the better, next version of us,” says Court—to have real conversations about what it’s like to go through menopause.
They are not the experts though. Most of Court’s career has been spent in agencies, and she now runs her own content production company, Once Upon a Brand, while Gornik-Lee has spent almost 20 years in advertising production and is now an executive producer at Tendril Studio.
But they have lived the experience, and act as hosts and curators, bringing on experts to answer questions, discuss the issues and building a community to share information. “We provide women with education, resources and advice from experts to optimize their health through this next phase—body and mind,” reads the introductory copy on their site.
They focus a lot on the many issues and questions women have about perimenopause, the years before women enter menopause. “That is the most confusing time for women… We joke about it, but it’s really frightening,” said Court. Too often, women aren’t getting good information about what it means, what they should be aware of in terms of symptoms, and things they can do to ensure optimal health.
They cover both physical and emotional health, talking about, for example, women who have lost jobs in the C-suite because of brain fog. “The tools aren’t there, and HR isn’t set up [to accommodate women going through menopause]. But if you look around you’ll see—especially in the U.K.—that HR policies are changing to accommodate women through menopause in the corporate world.”
She2.0 was launched at the start of the pandemic. Aside from the podcast, they have a weekly newsletter (boasting a 42% open rate) Facebook, Twitter and Instagram presence and are looking at video. And over time, as the community grew, Court and Gornik-Lee were contacted by brands interested in connecting with their audience.
So Court and Ramona wrote a business plan for She 2.0. The market for products and services targeted to women dealing with menopause is big, and is only going to get bigger— $15.4 billion in 2021 according to one estimate, and expected to grow to $22.7 billion by 2028.
“Every woman is going to go through menopause, so we really want to work with brands to help them create content to connect with those women,” said Court. “We need to help brands connect with these women in an authentic way—because that’s our background.”
Court and Gornik-Lee have essentially adopted the approach of influencers, whose authenticity is the most appealing attribute for marketers. But success, especially for a topic like women’s health, depends on building trust and transparency. If many women don’t trust their doctors when it comes to menopause, they’re even less likely to trust brands, said Court.
“We build the trust between brands and their audience by providing authentic advice and information and vetting the brands we work with to ensure their products are safe and relevant to our audience,” said Gornik-Lee in a release about She2.0. “We want to ensure that the health conditions we’ve experienced due to a lack of knowledge and information doesn’t happen to other women… Our goal is to connect brands to their audience and to break the stigma around menopause.”
“We’re starting to produce content through a sponsored podcast, or they come into the podcast and we talk openly about their products,” said Court. “But we are very clear that it’s sponsored… It’s got to be something Ramona and I feel that the research has been done, because it’s women’s health. You have to be really careful here.”
Their first brand partnership was with Emsella for its kegel chair, which strengthens the pelvic floor to reduce urinary incontinence—sitting on it for about 30 minutes is the equivalent of 15,000 perfect kegels. They’ve got two other branded content projects in the works in coming weeks.
And while they hope to turn She2.0 into a money making content brand, it is still very much a passion project. “There’s an opportunity to change the narrative around this topic,” said Court. “It is still a topic that women shy away from… And we’ve been shamed about our reproductive health from the time of our first period to our last.
“The hardest thing on social media when you’re promoting this sort of thing is that women still don’t want to come forward and comment too much because they still don’t like to be open. Yeah, we have a lot of work to do.”