What does Onward do? Onward is a Post-Breakup Concierge Service. We work with folks exiting long-term relationships, physically relocate and emotionally relaunch themselves. We aim to make their transition as seamless as possible by taking care of the hassles (moves, housing search, address changes, identifying a therapist, financial advisor, attorney) so they can take care of themselves.
What made you realize there was a need for Onward? Both of us (Mika and Lindsay) went through “Big City Breakups” from significant partners who we were co-habitating with. Mika was first; Lindsay six months later. We saw firsthand how derailing this life moment can be - both the logistics and the holistics. It’s hard to heal when your principal concern is purchasing and carrying a mattress up four flights of stairs (New York City reality!). With a giant trend in cohabitation before marriage, we also recognized there wasn’t a neutral third party like an attorney serving these uncouplings, which in many cases are as complicated as divorces -- shared dwelling, furnishings, financial obligations, pets, kids, and sometimes all of the above. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an On-Demand support service that could make breakups less painful? We got to work. Both of us have backgrounds in project management (Lindsay in Broadway theater; Mika in tribal affairs and the federal government) so logistics were always a strength. Plus, Lindsay’s late mother was a divorce attorney so we had in a sense “grown up” around tough relationship conversations. Neither of us feel like divorces, separations, breakups are taboo topics, but rather that they can serve as powerful milestones to reorient toward a better, more positive future. Onward!
How is the word spreading about Onward? We’ve been fortunate to get a lot of early press on TV, print, and radio. I think no matter where you are in your life, what your current relationship status might be, you or someone you care about has gone through a messy breakup. That pain and discomfort is unfortunately a universal reality. We’ve heard so many stories from folks - like, “Hey, where were you X years ago when I was going through this?” Too bad we can’t offer retroactive services -- we wish we had been around too! The outpouring of support and interest has been very heartwarming.
What types of services have you found are necessary that you may not have originally considered? We are always expanding our partner and service offerings as we uncover more challenges facing our members. For example, resources for picking up and schlepping furniture for donation, acquiring new gently used furniture for a new place, dating coaching for folks who want to get back in but are out of practice, or how to cancel shared travel and accommodations. One solution we are still working out is how to gracefully uncouple on social media. It’s more complicated than “unfollowing” or “unfriending” because these networks send you reminders of special dates, look backs, and so forth. Those can provoke surprising unwanted feelings most would rather avoid.
What markets do you find yourself growing in and expanding in to? Breakups are not unique to NYC, or the United States, for that matter. We see the biggest need for Onward services in cities that have similar pain points to New York (i.e. high cost of living, transient population, often far from home) where going through the logistical headache post-breakup can be especially felt. Cities like Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco are our likely next targets.
What does Onward 3.0 look like? Likely, our initial growth will be the expanding of our offerings into other geographic areas. With this, we anticipate having concierges scattered across the U.S., who are well-versed in the nuances of the various cities they represent. We will, of course, continue to expand services and partnerships that make sense for our members’ needs. We also hope to have a larger Onward community, serving for friendship, networking, and helping members live their best life!
What is the BEST story that you can share that you did for someone needing a life relaunch? There are so many! We just worked with someone through their breakup which meant significant downsizing of the personal items, finding a new place, packing and moving, changing utilities, canceling streaming services, getting new furnishings for the new place, starting to explore their new neighborhood - finding new “go-to” places for coffee, live music, rollerblading. It’s amazing through that short, condensed process how you see someone go from “Survival Mode” to standing on their own two feet (and rollerblades) and figuring out how to live a new normal that feels like a true reflection of their own goals.
Lindsay Meck & Mika Leonard, Co-Founders of Onward, have been best friends since the fourth grade. They’ve seen each other through their share of personal challenges: death, divorce, breakups, and moving multiple times in New York City. They thought: there has got to be an easier way to manage unexpected life circumstances. And there is. https://www.move-onward.com/