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NEW YORK — Here’s a survival kit that doesn’t include batteries or duct tape: The Hot Nights Menopause Relief Kit. The concept is the brainchild of Gale Epstein, president and designer of Hanky Panky, a 25-year-old, Manhattan-based lingerie firm with annual sales of $10 million.
The kit, which comes in a reusable sheer mesh silver zip envelope, will be available at next week’s market at both the Lingerie Americas and Intimate Apparel Salon trade shows, as well as the Hanky Panky showroom here. It will feature several items that Epstein described as “essentials” that offer comfort and confidence for the menopausal woman: a battery-operated minifan with neoprene blades; an embroidered hanky; a lavender and bergamot aromatherapy spritzer for hankies and pillows to help enhance sleep, and two 41-inch sleeveless, mercerized-cotton nightgowns.
She added that mercerized cotton was selected because of its seasonless, lightweight quality, coolness and absorption properties.
The first-year sales projection is “several hundred thousand dollars,” said Epstein. Suggested retail for the kit is $98. Distribution is aimed at ready-to-wear and lingerie boutiques.
Janie Press, national sales manager at Hanky Panky, said the company did not embark on this project without researching the market potential. According to Menopause.org, the Web site for the North American Menopause Society, the average age range for the onset of menopause is 43 to 57.
Press said research was also culled from Demographics.com, which reports there are 20 million Americans in the 34-to-49 age bracket and 17.5 million in the 50-to-54 range, 52 percent of whom are women.
“A new Baby Boomer has been cropping up every seven seconds for the past six years,” Press said.
Epstein added that she gleaned inspiration to produce the kit from celebrities such as Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep, Lauren Hutton, Goldie Hawn and Rene Russo, “who are still gorgeous and over 45.
“We originally called it a survival kit,” she said. “But it’s really about a different point of view. Menopause is not about surviving and it’s certainly not a disaster. It’s simply about living through menopause and you can have a style kit for help.”
The kit also contains a menopause tip sheet on health issues and how women can deal with another chapter of their lives.
“There is only one alternative to aging and that is one we want to avoid as long as possible,” said Epstein. “Growing older, change of life, these were expressions we never wanted to associate with ourselves. But the operative words are growing and changing, and we all want to continue to be capable of those.”
Regarding distribution overseas, Epstein said: “We are considering Japan because we have a big market there. It is also a consideration that we might exhibit at the Salon International in Paris and the Lyon, Mode City Show in Lyon.”
Epstein added that the company also is looking at other avenues to exhibit Hanky Panky products, including the menopause kit, such as gift and spa shows. “We have 16 sales reps around the country, eight of which represent specialty lingerie,” she said.