The post-wedding name-change process is a tedious and time-consuming problem for newlywed women. It takes an average of 13 hours for a women to complete and file of the required federal and state name-change forms in conjunction with the numerous notification letters that must be created and sent to every employer, creditor and association. There are 2.3 million marriages each year in the United States, and according to The Journal of Marriage and the Family 88.6% of those married women opt to change their last names. This is a huge population experiencing the name-change problem.
MissNowMrs is an online name-change service for brides. Through proprietary software, the service streamlines the 13 hour name-change process into a 30 minute online experience. The company also provides stellar customer support to guide clients through the process and help with any questions related to forms or name-change laws and regulations in each state.
The idea for MissNowMrs was sparked by the founder’s personal name-change nightmare. After three trips to get her new married name on her driver’s license, Danielle Tate decided to create a “TurboTax for name change.” With a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, corporate sales experience, HMTL for Dummies, endless hours of research, and a great deal of tenacity, she proceeded to launch her first startup.
MissNowMrs users answer a series of questions, including their current name, new name, address, and phone number. Their answers are use to auto-complete all of the necessary name-change forms specific to their state and situation. The service includes:Social Security, IRS, State Department (for a new U.S. Passport), United States Postal Service, State Driver’s License, Voter Registration and notification letters for banks, credit cards, insurance providers, medical providers, utilities, professional licenses, and investment companies. Users then print their forms, sign them and follow our detailed instructions on how to file the easiest way possible. The combination of streamlining information and outlining the specific filing order, process and fees is what saves our customers 13 hours of name-change hassle and stress.
As in any startup, there were challenges to be faced as MissNowMrs launched and began to scale. Copycat websites began popping up after stealing intellectual property from MissNowMrs. The founders were faced with the tough decision to either use their precious startup capital to defend their intellectual property or let the competitors share the market. After weighing their need for time to build brand recognition as the industry leader, they decided to fight. Several lawsuits were filed and fought, with the end result of the copycat companies turning over their websites and the founders agreeing to not compete in the name-change space.
Another challenge faced by the founder of MissNowMrs was how to get brides to think about name-change during the wedding planning process, not afterward. They tried several ad campaigns and found that it was very difficult to compete for attention against wedding dresses, cakes, and bouquets. They decided to create an online quiz that helped brides determine their ideal married last name based on key life factors and their personal style. The MarriedNameGame was an instant success and served to educate brides about their name-change process and also created an elegant funnel into the MissNowMrs name-change service.
MissNowMrs was bootstrapped, or self-funded, by its three co-founders. They each invested equal amounts to cover the initial costs of designing the website, architecting the database, and form research. The website was initially launched with only the federal and state forms. As customers purchased the service, the product expanded to include notification letters. Customer-funding allowed MissNowMrs to scale rapidly without outside investments.
MissNowMrs has grown 30% annually and adding many brand extensions including a Canadian name-change service, the Married Name Game, and MarriageLicenseNow. After focusing on brides as a target market for many years, the founders experienced a paradigm shift. Wedding guests in search of the perfect gift were an even larger market than the 2.3 million women married annually. Gift cards for the MissNowMrs service were created and are now available online and in Target stores across the U.S. Constant innovation has grown MissNowMrs into a multi-million dollar enterprise assisting over 300,000 brides in their transition from Miss to Mrs.
Learn More About Danielle Tate:
Danielle Tate is the founder and CEO of MissNowMrs.com, a multimillion dollar online name-change company. As a female founder in her 20s she noticed that few business guides offered step-by-step advice to smart but inexperienced entrepreneurial woman. This void inspired Danielle to author Elegant Entrepreneur: The Female Founders Guide to Starting & Growing Your First Company to help other women find their place and flourish within the entrepreneurial world. Danielle is an entrepreneur, wife, mother, Pilates devotee, and name-change expert in her spare time.