Breaking up can certainly be hard to do – but one company wants to help make that process go as smoothly as possible.
Meet Onward, a U.S. “concierge service” that wants to help take care of all of your post-breakup needs, including everything from moving and finding a new place to live to purchasing and putting together furniture.
The company – which launched operations in New York City on Valentine’s Day – offers a range of support services, starting with a 10-day package for $99 that includes a customized short and long-term housing search plan, and curated options for storage, moving, and packing. The programs go up to a $500, “three-month recalibrate” package, which includes moving coordination, cleaning and home design services, weekly check-ins, and customized neighbourhood and resource guides.
Onward was founded by Mika Leonard, 33, and Lindsay Meck, 34, after both went through their own complicated breakups within six-months of each other. Leonard had lived with her partner of several years, sharing a pet and living expenses at the time of their breakup. Untangling their lives, which had become interwoven in many different ways over the years, was not a simple process. So when Meck went through a similar situation a few months later, Leonard was able to help her friend and guide her through the process of breaking up.
“As difficult as it was, it gave me a roadmap so that when Lindsay went through the same experience with so many similarities, I was able to point her in the right direction,” Leonard said.
“And I realized, If I’ve gone through it, she’s gone through it and we know other that have gone through it, this is by no means a unique experience that people are having. We saw that this could be something we could help other people with.”
The first priority of the program is to help a client take care of the logistics involved in a separation, which often revolves around coordinating a move to a new home. Meck says Onward will help clients find a solution as quickly as possible, whether it’s a short-term, fully furnished apartment or a long-term lease, and help deal with associated tasks such as packing and storage. The company also offers services related to “self-care” needs, including matchmaking clients with professionals such as therapists, lawyers and financial planners.
Meck says Onward’s service is particularly important given that more couples today are living together before marriage.
“Couples tend to co-habitate before marriage, sometimes out of convenience and not necessarily out of commitment, just to try it out as a test run,” Meck said. If those couples don’t qualify as a common-law marriage and then break-up, there are limited recourse options available.
“You can’t turn to a divorce attorney, there are no formal legal rules governing the relationship, so what do you do then? I think this is where Onward can be really helpful and supportive in those un-couplings.”
Onward is currently only available in New York City, but the co-founders are already eyeing other North American locations for expansion, including Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and San Fransisco.
“This is not a unique problem,” Leonard said, adding that larger cities with a higher cost of living are markets where Onward’s services are warranted.
“A high cost of living and a highly transient market, culminate in a perfect storm… Anywhere where those factors are happening is going to be a place where folks may want to use our services.”