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#TabooSmasher Spotlight: Nelli Kim, founder of RĒDEN

Nelli Kim is the founder of RĒDEN and an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the fashion and footwear industry, working for retailers and brands including Bergdorf Goodman, Shopbop, Anthropologie, and Vince. Nelli founded RĒDEN the same month she was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, she knew she wanted to create a purpose-driven brand that solved real-world problems for people experiencing pain. After developing chronic foot pain following her cancer and chemo, Nelli realized that her purpose was to help others and give to charitable causes by creating her shoe company.

Where are you in your hormonal health journey?

I am an ovarian cancer survivor and experienced premature menopause as a result of my treatment.

What’s one word or phrase that comes to mind when you think of menopause?

Mysterious. Menopause is this great mystery that no one seems to talk about. I’m not sure if it’s because no one wants to admit they’re getting older. It isn’t treated the same way as other big life changes, like menstruation or pregnancy, which seem to create a shared, community experience. There was so much I didn’t know that my mom, and even my doctors, didn’t share with me and warn me about.

I am the first of my friends to go through this, so I think of myself as a bit of an explorer. I hope I can help my friends when it’s their turn.

“The truth is that we are all unique, and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to optimal health.”

Which menopause symptoms did you experience?

Menopause for me coincided with so many other major changes happening in my life and body, including post-surgical recovery and chemotherapy. Therefore, it was hard to pinpoint the source of my symptoms. Once I finished chemo and my body recalibrated to a new normal, some of the symptoms I experienced included brain fog, fatigue, and hot flashes. The only one that I initially thought was menopause-related was the hot flashes. I just assumed the brain fog and fatigue were related to post-chemo recovery. Perhaps that was true to a certain extent, but I later learned that menopause was a big contributing factor to those symptoms as well.

What helped you throughout your hormonal health journey (treatment, product, mantra, routine, friends, etc.)

A combination of things, including nutrition, healthy habits, and hormones!

Do you have any words of advice for women starting their journey?

Ask questions and seek wisdom from healers, both conventional and not. Menopause is not a monolithic experience and will often be different for each individual. The truth is that we are all unique, and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to optimal health. You kind of have to find what works best for you, whatever that may be.