SusanWho I am and who I’ll be
I think it is important to stay informed, and inquisitive and curious in order to not let the number get to you
19/99 Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Susan Feldman My name is Susan Feldman, and I am founder of In the Groove and co-founder of One Kings Lane. I grew up all over the country, our family moved 8 times before I graduated from high school, I went to three different high schools, then went to Stanford. After graduating I moved to LA, and started working in retail, doing an executive training program, and then went back to school for my MBA at UCLA. After graduating from business school I moved to Manhattan for really the majority of my adult life, and about 15 years ago I moved out to LA. In 2009 I started One Kings Lane, which was an amazing journey, we sold the company in 2016. At that point I felt like I wasn’t quite done and I had the idea for In the Groove, which is lifestyle platform for what I call Age Defying Women. I didn’t feel like there was a good place for, or that there was a lot of people speaking to, my demographic and I wanted to create a place that was fun and informative and inspirational for women in this demographic.
19/99 What does it mean to be an Age Defying Woman?
SF We are all aging really differently these days, so, to me, age is irrelevant. I am 65, and am happy to share my age with people, I’ve never had a problem with that. Part of what we are trying to do with In the Groove is to make people understand that age just isn’t that important. It is a number, sure, and can mark things in your life, but at the end of the day you can defy age in terms of how you feel and what you are doing. I think in previous generations 65 was kind of the age where you retired and did, well I don’t know what you did, but I think in our generation is pretty different; we are healthier, wealthier and more engaged than any previous generation in a lot of ways.
19/99 Has your relationship with age changed since you’ve started In the Groove?
SF I think what has changed is the importance of helping women at a certain time in their lives feel good about themselves. If you think about the arc of your life, you go through puberty, which is pretty traumatic, and then there is this other side around 50, where you go through menopause, if you have kids they leave and you become an empty nester, you may be dealing with things professionally, within one’s relationships. So as far as aging, I really want to try to help women, as we say ‘stay in the groove’. I think a big part of why we age is that we check out, and we don’t know what is going on, and we don’t continue to learn, and move forward. We are in a really fast paced time right now, so if you check out for a month you are lost, so my relationship has gotten strong with aging, in that I think it is important to stay informed, and inquisitive and curious in order to not let the number get to you.
19/99 At what age do you see women starting to feel invisible and left out of the conversation?
SF I think it is really what we just talked about, it is this moment in time, which is the perfect storm and starts with the menopause – which is a pretty big age range, but typically you are looking at late 40s to early 50s. So I think that is really the time that it starts to become more challenging; you go through a lot of change emotionally, physically, quite a bit of stuff is going on. In the past, there hasn’t been a lot of conversation about it. Over the past two years, since I started In the Groove, there has definitely been a lot more conversation about it, more places that women can go to learn more, and get help to navigate, what can be, pretty rough waters.
19/99 What do you think we can do to change this?
SF Not keeping things in the closet. It was interesting, when I was starting In the Groove, I told some women in their late forties about it and they were like “Ya, that is interesting”, and then I’d get calls from them about a year and a half later being like “What is going on?! Why isn’t anyone talking about this?!”. But that really is starting to change. We recently did a story on telemedicine sites that are doing only services related to premenopausal, menopausal and post-menopausal symptoms. So women can actually see and talk to doctors who are trained in this, who can help you regarding anything you should be doing, or taking, and what is happening to you. There are new products that are coming to market for women in menopause. Getting this out on the table and talking about it, so women know that they aren’t crazy and that other people have experienced it is really helpful. Then there is the whole thing with advertisers and marketing; how they are thinking about and portraying women in this demographic needs to change – we are far different than any generation before us, and somebody has to start portraying us this way.
at the end of the day, you can defy age in terms of how you feel and what you are doing
19/99 Can you take us through your daily beauty routine, morning and night.
SF In the morning I exercise, I feel like that is part of my beauty routine because if I don’t do that I am kind of a mess, and then I shower, cleanse my face, moisturize, and sun screen. After that it depends on what I am doing – in the first few months of COVID I didn’t do anything, which was actually nice. Right now I’ve been doing a very light makeup routine, about 5 minutes, which involves a little CC Cream, mascara and lip gloss. At night I wash my face and moisturize, with something a bit more intense, to try to keep things…perky.
19/99 Do you feel pressure to look a certain way?
SF Yeah, it’s an internal pressure though; I take pride in how I look. Something that can happen to women once they get to a certain age, because things start to change, you can’t help it, and I don’t want to say they give up but they do kind of give up. So I really try to make sure I am exercising right, and eating right, and I love fashion so dressing is fun for me. In terms of pressure, I definitely feel pressure but it is from myself; I don’t think anyone else is putting pressure on me.
19/99 Does the term age appropriate mean anything to you?
SF I hate that term. What the hell is age appropriate? I think you should do whatever feels good for you.
19/99 If you could share advice with your younger self, what would it be?
SF Learning how to say no. It took me a long time to learn how to say ‘no’ in a sentence. I grew up trying to please everybody else, and trying to do the right thing. And that is not to say that I am the person that doesn’t want to do the right thing anymore, but I have to do the right thing for me.
19/99 What makes you feel beautiful?
SF That is a very hard question; feeling beautiful comes at different times. I often will feel great if my husband compliments me, that makes me feel beautiful. And I feel really beautiful when I get my hair and makeup done, and I get to wear a fun dress for an event. But really I think it is how I am feeling on the inside, and that has to come first. There are days that I feel beautiful in a white t-shirt and jeans, and I just feel good because I worked out, something good happened at work or something good happened with one of my kids.
19/99 Do you think there is a point where we stop growing and learning?
SF I hope not. I think that would be a terrible thing, and that is kind of what I was talking about before, in order to stay In the Groove, you have to continue to learn, and you need to be curious. I get my cues from my dad – he lived to be 88 and reinvented himself three times. He got his MFA when he was 80, and painted for the last 8 years of his life. He was such a curious, inquisitive person that he was able to do a very rigorous graduated program in his late 70s. I think what happens if you don’t stay curious is not good.
Follow Susan @susankfeldman