(WAFF) - Divorce Lifestyle.
The phrase seems like an oxymoron, but as divorce rates continue to climb, topping over 50% in the United States, the need for emotional, educational, legal and financial support for divorcees is greater than ever.
Local entrepreneur and divorcee, Tina Hapner, identified that need 4 years ago, after supporting her friend and now business partner, Megan Nivens, while she was going through a divorce.
"NotTied's Founder and CEO, Tina and I have worked together in the past and became very close," said Nivens.
"Unfortunately, both of us have gone through a divorce, and supported each other during those times. She came to visit me shortly after I moved into a new home, and stayed the weekend. While with me, she asked if she could borrow a washcloth, to which I replied, 'I don't have any! All I have is a hodgepodge of towels and toiletries, as I took what I could and haven't been able to 'equip' 'myself fully yet."
"I laughed at it all, but for Tina, the lightbulb quickly went off: Divorced people need stuff."
"Tina quickly began to think about the current support networks that were available for recently divorcees, to help get them back on their feet - and with research, she found nothing of the sort," said Nivens.
With that- NotTied was born.
"Tina wanted to create a company that was a one-stop shop for divorcees. When going through a divorce, there are so many unknowns that one must face - which ranges from legal and financial guidance, to learning how to coparent, to maintaining a healthy, spiritual lifestyle," said Nivens, who now serves as NotTied's Chief Growth Officer.
"Starting over is really hard. We wanted to provide an outlet where people don't feel alone - and that there's light at the end of their tunnel, even though it may not seem like it. Based on what Tina found online, there wasn't a single place that connected all of that under one roof," said Nivens.
In addition to being former colleagues and friends, both Hapner and Nivens are seasoned business professionals who have spent their careers in the marketing and advertising fields, ranging from small nonprofits to multi-million dollar organizations. This concept quickly blossomed into a side business, of which both women spent nights and weekends developing in their spare time. Initial thoughts centered around mimicking the popular wedding website: The Knot, but instead of serving newlyweds, it would service the company's counterparts-divorcees.
With clear direction, they began working relentlessly, traveling back and forth from Huntsville (Niven's home base) and Atlanta (Hapner's home base). The business has been 100% bootstrapped by Hapner, and has not received any capital funding - and this was all done purposefully.
"There are so many resources we can lean on to help get things off the ground and gain the guidance we needed," said Hapner.
"The Catalyst was able to help us on questions with our business plan, accounting inquiries and legal advice. Organizations like Urban Engine opened up a phenomenal network of like-minded individuals that has yielded great partners and avenues for growth. Maintaining a local 'lean-in' philosophy has proven that so much talent is all around us - all we needed to do was take advantage of what the community had to offer," said Hapner.
Hapner and Nivens continue to nurture the cutting-edge company by expanding the resources and offerings rapidly, with phase two of the site to be launched in the coming months, which will include an online retail support network that's geared towards divorcees.
"There are many exciting things on the horizon," said Hapner. "We're thrilled to be bringing something needed to so many people - and plan to be the 'go to' resource for as long as we're able."
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