Icebreakers with … the fashion icon and now CEO Stacy London
From 2003 to 2013 we took our breath away with Stacy London as everyone What not to wear tried to tell her that a sheer top was appropriate for the office. And of course, not everything holds up (until the inventor of the 360 degree mirror … we just want to talk).
London traded her reality TV fame to become the owner and CEO of State of Menopause, one of the few health and wellness companies to make products for perimenopausal and postmenopausal consumers. The brand was launched in 2019 through the incubator called arfa at the time. Here’s what she had to say for Icebreakers.
What has been the biggest obstacle in your transition to becoming a business leader?
The amount I learned is like, I didn’t know it was possible. And I’m very good at knowing what I don’t know. I had convinced myself that I am a “talent”. That’s all I do. You know, I’m on TV. What do I know about running a business? And I’m like, no one is born CEO and an MBA doesn’t mean much, in my opinion.
So why did you do it?
There are millions of things we don’t understand or learn about menopause. And when I realized what kind of existential toll it took me, I wanted to take over this business because I wanted to reframe the conversation. I don’t think in my entire career there has ever been a time when I was afraid of being vulnerable with my own struggles. And no one talked about menopause without a feeling of fear, shame, confusion, or ignorance.
Where is the best matcha in New York?
Nili. It’s at 360 Smith Street. Also Telegraphe Café on 18th street between 6th and 7th. Both have sweet matcha which isn’t too sweet.
Are you the breakfast type?
I am. And one person at each meal.
Is there a piece of clothing or an accessory that everyone should have in their wardrobe?
No. You know, I used to feel that way. And I think the difference between 2003 when What not to wear started and now is we started from a “how-to” culture where you needed an expert with expertise and 10,000 hours or whatever.
But we have stopped looking for expertise, and we are looking for shared experience. Wear whatever you want. But what I really think is you can wear whatever you want and get what you want if you understand how style can help you control the narrative on your own.