Fresh Starts Registry Helps People After Divorce

Women's Dating

How Fresh Starts Registry Helps People Lean on Their Community After Divorce 

Jamie Ballard

Written by: Jamie Ballard

Jamie Ballard

Jamie Ballard (she/her) is a professional writer and editor who covers news, lifestyle, and entertainment topics. She regularly contributes to Cosmopolitan, Allure, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, PEOPLE, and The Hollywood Reporter, among other publications.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Reviewed by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is a dating and relationship expert who has penned over 1,800 lifestyle articles in the last decade, and she still never tires of interviewing dating professionals and featuring actionable advice for singles. She has been quoted by the Washington Times, Cosmopolitan, The New York Post, and AskMen.

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The Short Version: Community support is so important for people going through life transitions. You have wedding registries for newlyweds, baby registries for parents-to-be, and now there’s Fresh Starts Registry for the newly divorced or uncoupled. Fresh Starts Registry has turned a novel idea into a full-fledged support system for individuals going through difficult life transitions. If you or someone you know is facing, you can put a positive spin on things by using Fresh Starts Registry to celebrate this new beginning.

When someone gets married or has a baby, their friends and family are often eager to support them by purchasing home essentials from a registry. People say “I care about you” with appliances, sheets, towels, storage solutions and other essentials.

But there’s another milestone for many people that’s worthy of community support: divorce.

Just as a wedding or arrival of a child marks a new beginning, so does a divorce. It’s a time in life when people might be especially in need of support, both emotional and practical. 

Olivia March Dreizen Howell
Olivia March Dreizen Howell co-founded Fresh Starts alongside her sister.

Fresh Starts Registry is an online resource for people going through divorces and other major life transitions. The company helps people create Amazon registries of household items that they may need to replace following a separation, from kitchenware to tools to children’s bedroom furniture and other essentials. 

“We call the items on the registry ‘support items,’ because they’re physical manifestations of the support you can give to somebody,” co-founder Olivia March Dreizen Howell explained to us. “Let’s say that your best friend is going through a divorce and you send her new sheets. Every time she sleeps in those new sheets, she’s going to feel loved.”

Fresh Starts Registry gives people the opportunity to show support and rely on community during a painful stage of life, and that can make all the difference.

“When she sees the new toothbrush holder or the new sheets, she’ll say, ‘You know what? My friend believed in the fact that I knew I had a better life for myself,’ and then next time she gets on the phone with her lawyer, she might make different decisions,” Olivia said. “It’s these little behavioral changes that snowball that fresh start effect.” 

The Founding Story Behind Fresh Starts Registry

Fresh Starts Registry was created in 2021 by sisters and founders Olivia Dreizen Howell and Genevieve “Jenny” Dreizen. Olivia explained that the idea first came to her in 2019 when she was going through a divorce.

“I’d been with this man for a long time,” she told us. “After he moved out, half the house was empty and the other half of the house were things from my wedding registry that I didn’t want anymore. I didn’t want to see my monogrammed Pottery Barn pillowcases.”

Genevieve “Jenny” Dreizen
Genevieve “Jenny” Dreizen has a background in marketing and web design.

The sisters dropped off two carloads of donations at local thrift stores. When they got back, it struck Olivia how empty the home was.

“I thought, well, here’s an interesting time in my life. I had the baby registry twice, I had a wedding registry, but I have nothing now. I don’t have anything that I actually need in my life. And so why is there not a divorce registry?”

Olivia brought the idea to her sister, who initially said no. The sisters are also co-founders of a marketing agency, and their client roster was completely full. “She said, ‘We literally cannot build a startup right now,” recalled Olivia. 

But things shifted in 2021, when Jenny went through a breakup with her fiance and partner of 10 years. Like Olivia had a couple years prior, Jenny found herself having to rebuild a household basically from scratch.

Two months later, the sisters launched Fresh Starts Registry from Jenny’s new kitchen table.  

“Divorce registry is a completely new concept, and we were the first ones to build it,” Olivia said. 

How Does It Work?

Fresh Starts Registry guides you through the process of making a registry with everything you need on Amazon. On the Fresh Starts Registry website, you can choose from basic bundles of household items between $99 and $500, or add bundles to your registry based on the rooms you’re furnishing, like the Kid’s Room Bundle, the Kitchen Bundle, and the Bathroom Bundle, for instance. 

You can register for collections of items according to your personal decor style, like the Maximalist Bundle or the Midcentury Modern Bundle. Fresh Starts Registry offers household items in its Hosting Bundle and a Move-In Bundle with those first-day essentials like scissors, hand soap, toilet paper, and trash bags. 

Having these preselected bundles can help reduce decision fatigue in what’s already an overwhelming chapter of life. Of course, if you’d rather create your own registry item by item, it’s possible to do that too.

“When we set out to build this platform, it was very important to me that it was safe for people to use.” Olivia March Dreizen Howell, Co-Founder of Fresh Starts

“The really cool thing with the registry aspect is it’s the first time many, many women will pick things out for themselves — ever,” said Olivia. “We’ve had women who will be like, I got a disco ball on my registry. One woman had a pirate flag, and I was like, I’m here for the pirate flag!” 

Since divorce registries aren’t particularly common, it’s understandable if you aren’t sure how to share it with family and friends.

Luckily, Fresh Starts Registry offers a few scripts to get you started. You can send them to family and friends who have reached out asking how they can support you, or even share it on your social media if that feels right to you.

“We believe that community care is self-care,” Olivia said. “You can show up for your community, your community’s going to show up for you.” 

Screenshot of Fresh Starts
Fresh Starts has a variety of bundles that can support a major life change.

Users of Fresh Starts Registry can rest easy knowing that their data is secure, since it’s all managed through Amazon. 

“When we set out to build this platform, it was very important to me that it was safe for people to use,” Olivia told us. “It’s not just for divorce. We also have people who use Fresh Starts who are transitioning, coming out, have a job change, are moving, are widows, things like that, so we wanted to make sure it was a safe platform.” 

Their research led them to the conclusion that the best option was to use the Amazon Registry as a registry engine because Amazon does the work of collecting information (such as addresses) and protecting this sensitive data. 

Fresh Starts Experts Guide You Through a Life Transition 

In addition to the registry options, Fresh Starts Registry has a community of experts for people in life transitions who need a “hype team,” as Olivia put it. In their expert guide, you’ll find everyone from lawyers to financial planners to career coaches to therapists to real estate agents to breathwork facilitators, all in one place. 

“Our motto is we like to eliminate the overwhelm,” said Olivia. “I get probably two to four DMs a day from women who are going through a divorce that are like, ‘How do I get started?’ ‘How do I get out of this marriage?’ It’s 2024 and still people have no idea who to talk to when they’re going through this.” 

Luckily, between the expert guide and the straightforward registry options, making the first steps toward your new life is easier with Fresh Starts Registry.