At the age of 48, founder of Esteem – No Pause, Jane Hallam was troubled. She had convinced herself she was going through a nervous breakdown. With symptoms including personality changes, mood swings, and feeling depressed and lethargic, she visited her GP. She presented him a four-page letter she’d written detailing her thoughts – and was referred to The Priory for CBT treatment.
Soon, her symptoms changed and her night sweats began. Jane quickly realised she wasn’t suffering a nervous breakdown at all, but the menopause. At a crossroads in her life and experiencing night sweats associated with the peri-menopause, Jane looked for suitable clothing to wear in bed to avoid waking up cold and damp.
When she couldn’t find clothing that was both stylish and able to keep her dry and comfortable, Jane sought to develop a range that could meet these needs. She also wanted to appeal to a wide range of women. In June 2015 Jane left her full-time job – which as a single parent of a teenager was not the easiest of decisions to make – and began her journey developing Esteem – No Pause.
The initial capsule collection launched Spring 2017, its aim to improve the lives of women like her.
Jane tells her story:
My inspiration came from personal experience of night sweats and the desire to find a stylish and effective loungewear, nightwear and lingerie solution. Trawling the web for suitable clothing I became increasingly disheartened by what I saw. I thought to myself “Liz Hurley wouldn’t wear these items, so why should I?”
I had a a personal collection of Agent Provocateur that would make the V&A envious. Why wasn’t there clothing that would make me look and feel good? I also wanted it to be effective in addressing excessive perspiration caused by the menopause.
I wanted to play on the word menopause, and to embrace the fact that the clothing helps boost self-esteem, through its effectiveness, luxurious look and fit on the body.
What are you hoping to achieve with the brand?
I want to help women find better solutions to their problems than those that were originally available to me. I’m building a network of entrepreneurs like me, who are no longer willing to put up with menopause symptoms. We’re here to make it far more bearable. Through campaigns like Don’t Pause the Talk, we’re also making it okay to talk about it. This should be similar to conversations about pregnancy symptoms.
I hope to bring this specialist area of clothing into the mainstream market. Those who need it most should be aware of its existence, and how it can improve the quality of their lives.
Esteem clothing makes the wearer much more comfortable and drier during the night. In turn, it makes people better able to function during the day by tackling sleep deprivation. If worn as lingerie, nightwear, loungewear or exercise wear, the clothing will make the wearer feel much more comfortable during periods of excessive perspiration.
How have you developed the range?
I am a peri-menopausal woman who experiences night sweats on a regular basis. I am acutely aware of the need for clothing that can handle the sudden surges in perspiration.
My time has been spent researching the range of wicking fabrics available and how they work with feminine designs. Wicking fabrics are designed to move moisture away from the body. Modern technical fabrics are often made from high-tech polyester which absorbs perspiration.
We use the latest advances in fabric technology, combined with versatile designs. They boost the self-esteem of the wearer and, more importantly, can handle sudden surges of perspiration.
Who do you see wearing your clothing?
75 per cent of all women experience night sweats as they go through the menopause. This will therefore be the main demographic. In addition to significant hormonal changes, it will help those experiencing periods, pregnancy, and transgender transformation. It will also help with post-hysterectomy, cancer treatment, hyperthyroidism, stress and anxiety.
Hormonal changes, illness and medication can mean that sufferers will experience sudden surges in volume of perspiration during the day or night without prior warning. This is very different to gradual exercise related perspiration in terms of how it impacts the body.
The typical customer is 45–55 years old, however we have had customers as young as 17 due to the fact that teenage girls can experience night sweats during their periods. I have also had men requesting a t-shirt which can be worn under day shirts.
When developing the range, we carried out market research via surveys, focus groups and meetings. Esteem’s typical customer doesn’t make do with just any solution to their problem, they want a stylish and effective solution during their discomfort.
What makes your clothing different?
As an independent retailer we are able to be specialists in our specific, functional offering. This enables us to fully understand the needs and wants of our customers and work with them to develop and extend the range.
The clothing can be worn flexibly as lingerie, daywear, nightwear, lounge wear and exercise wear. It is hard working, effective and economical. All vests have hidden bra shelves and adjustable bra straps. They therefore fit securely during the night.
The high lycra content and soft texture of the fabric ensure a comfortable and luxurious fit which helps in boosting self-esteem. The design and fit of the clothing is close to the body and therefore the fabric is able to work at wicking the perspiration away, drawing any moisture from the skin as soon as sudden surges arise.
Wicking fabric technology has been around for some time now, primarily used in sportswear. Both natural and man-made versions are available. We use the most effective and tactile fabric in our clothing, harnessing the latest advances in fabric technology.
The fabric has an open honeycomb construction, which allows air to circulate between the fibres making it breathable. It’s also moisture repellent and more hygienic. The structure of the fabric ensures that drying time is short and it feels soft and luxurious against the skin.
Through my own personal testing and further testing from customers, we have been able to gather some great feedback. This feedback allows us to make decisions on product amendments and developments to create the best possible clothing.
Where is Esteem clothing available?
The full range of clothing is currently available at www.esteemmanchester.co.uk. Customers can try on the clothing in the comfort of their own home, to ensure it fits perfectly.