My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

Starting a Business

Hitchswitch Simplifies Newlywed Name Changes

First comes love, then comes marriage... then comes the agonizing process of changing your name. The latest from our wacky business idea files.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the November 2011 issue of . Subscribe »

Entrepreneurs: Josh Gelb and Jake Wolff, founders of New York-based Hitchswitch, a one-stop name-changing website for newlyweds.

"Aha" moment: Attorneys Josh Gelb and Jake Wolff saw how complicated it was for their new wives to change their surnames. After talking to others who had been frustrated by the process, the two realized there was a gap in the market. "There wasn't one complete source that provides support and does the nitty-gritty work that most people find tedious and unpleasant," Gelb says. The pair conceptualized the idea late last year, and (named by their wives) opened to consumers in May 2011.

Related: Wine Lovers Design a Lid to Keep Out Bugs

What possessed them: The average newlywed conducts 30 hours of research to locate and complete the forms for a legal name change, according to hitchswitch. After Gelb and Wolff helped a close friend with the process, word of their service spread even before they launched their website. "Our biggest goal was to get it out, get it working and make sure the success we had via word-of-mouth offline translated over to the internet," Wolff says. An investment of $10,000 included hiring a web developer. Gelb and Wolff, who initially interacted with all clients on a personal level, are now working on fully automating the site.

Why? "You just finished your wedding, just got back from your honeymoon, so why have to worry about something that is inevitably and unfortunately way too stressful?" Wolff says, explaining that hitchswitch prefills all forms, then mails clients a customized packet with prestamped envelopes addressed to the appropriate agencies. "From the time they get the packet, it takes them about two minutes to sign, enter their Social Security number and go from there."

Customers: Most are in their mid-20s. The goal is to help married couples in all 50 states.

Related Slideshow: Wacky Ideas That Just Might Fly

Marketing: Hitchswitch has started an SEO campaign and has active Facebook and Twitter feeds that have generated new clients. The founders also plan print advertising and direct marketing at wedding shows. The site's business increased tenfold during the wedding-heavy month of July, Wolff says.

Cost: $39.99; a portion of proceeds from each transaction goes to breast and ovarian cancer research.

Up next: The company, which is raising a round of equity, has helped about 1,000 couples and anticipates facilitating at least 15,000 name changes by summer 2012. 

More from Entrepreneur

Jon Horowitz is dedicated to helping brands with grow their social footprint by aligning with influencers and creating innovative content.
In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Are you paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.

Latest on Entrepreneur