Divorce is painful. Whatever the reason for the split, the breakup of a long-term committed relationship through divorce is enough to turn anyone’s whole world upside down. It is a difficult time for anyone going through this process. Lots of emotions are involved, there are assets to be divided, and the welfare and custody of the kids needs to be decided.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 3.5 divorces occur for every 1,000 marriages in 2008. Around the world, the computational search engine Wolfram Alpha estimates that there are about 5.676 million divorces per year around the world.
However you look at it, that’s a big number. And some enterprising entrepreneurs are trying to think of ways how to tap this huge market and create businesses catering to divorcees.
Here are some business ideas that target the market of divorcees, many of which are aimed to help those going through a divorce to move forward in their lives:
1. Marriage ending markers. There are a number of businesses that offer different ways people can mark the end of their marriage.
Great Northern Firework Company in United Kingdom offers a divorce-package fireworks display to celebrate the start of a new life with a colorful light display. They also commission set-piece displays that allow divorcees to say what they want to announce to the world such as “free at last.” Godammo.com will melt your wedding band into a top of a gunpowder-free bullet. Customers can request them to drill a hole into the bullet so it can be worn as a keychain.
WeddingRingCoffin.com sells the final resting place for dead marriage’s wedding ring. Sprinkles Custom Cakes in Florida, which specializes in wedding cakes, now creates specially designed cakes costing an average of $185 to symbolize the end of the marriage after getting requests from their past clients.
Then of course there are those divorce gifts such as a Happy Divorce Chocolate Bar and Ex Wife Voodoo Doll being sold by ChocolateFantasies.com. TheDivorceCards.com offers some divorce-centric cards, such as a postcard with this message I lost half of everything I own in my recent divorce, including envelopes. So I am sending you this lousy postcard to tell you how you can now reach me…”
2. Professional divorce planner. You thoroughly plan the start of marriage, and often hire wedding planners to help this important occasion to celebrate the start of a union between two people. But why not the end of this union?
In Japan, Hiroki Terai is the country’s first “charisma divorce planner” who helps divorcing couples celebrate the end of their togetherness. To help couples make a clean break and celebrate the start of their new lives, soon-to-be-divorced couples first ride separate rickshaws to a ‘divorce mansion” where friends and family of the former couple are gathered. Terai recounts the circumstances that led to the couple’s uncoupling, though often conducted with tact and discretion. The ceremony’s highlight is the smashing of the rings. Similar to a wedding’s symbolic cutting of the cake, divorcing couples then join hands on a mallet and smash rings to indicate a new beginning and separate lives for them. The ceremony is intended to help couples come to terms with the end of their union (one couple, though, after failing to hit the ring with the mallet three times, took that as a sign that they should reconcile and gave their marriage another go).
3. Divorce parties. One can compare divorce parties to a rite of passage to mourn the end of one chapter and celebrate the start of a new one as a single person once again. Divorce parties have seen an increase in popularity in recent years as many divorcees look to their friends and families to share with them this momentous occasion, albeit often tinged with sadness and difficulties. Hence, divorce parties are often seen as an opportunity to vent, to cry, laugh, yell about the end of a marriage in the company of loving friends and family.
The Los Angeles-based DivorcePartyPlanner.com offers three divorce party packages, including a Survivor Party for those who have “survived a shipwrecked marriage”, Lemon Party, and Love Party, as well as custom party packages. Each party package covers invites, gift suggestions, menu plans, custom cocktails, entertainment and activities, divorce party cake, among other things.
Lyss Stern in New York organizes Life After Divorce events to help women cope with divorce and hear stories and advice from others who have gone through with it. What sets these events apart is the inclusion and participation of “seven experts — a matchmaker, a nutritionist, a psychic, a makeup artist, a life coach, a yoga instructor and a divorce lawyer — all on hand to advise the newly and soon-to-be divorced on how to embrace the next stage of their lives with dignity,” according to the New York Post.
4. Divorce gift registry. Similar to the idea of a wedding registry, a divorce gift registry allows friends and families to help the soon-to-be-divorced to prepare for the next chapter of their lives by giving them some of the household things they need. Divorce is not only emotionally taxing, but often brings significant financial stress among the parties involved. The idea of a gift registry is intended to alleviate some of those financial pressures by giving the newly single with gifts and household items they need to start a new life. This is especially true for someone moving out of the marital home, which often implies that they will have to buy most of the items they need from towels to coffee pots to bed linens.
The UK department store Debenham recently launched its divorce gift list service. They launched their divorce registry after seeing the increase in popularity of divorce greeting cards and divorce celebration parties, in addition to growing competition among retailers in a tightening economic environment. Items the store expects to be popular choices among divorcees include cookware, cutlery, crockery, glasses, bed linen, towels and small electrical goods such as toasters and microwaves, as well as non-iron shirts, large plasma screen TVs and computer games.
The challenge of starting a business targeting divorced people, however, is the public acceptance and possible criticisms that your business will get. Some thinks that discussing divorce is still taboo, while others may criticize you for insensitivity and even glorifying divorce itself. These are important considerations you need to factor in your marketing and business strategies when developing a business targeting divorced individuals.