There are about 700,000 people in the United States who lose their spouses each year. Following the loss of a spouse, their partner is left to navigate life alone. After Kelly Barnett became a solo spouse, she founded her venture Savvy Sage LLC.
Kelly prefers to call herself a solo spouse to move away from the terms of widow and widower. “I want to redefine that concept and what it looks like in the world today, because they’re definitely more archaic and depressing terms,” Kelly explains. “For now I just call myself a solo spouse.”
Savvy Sage LLC has created a web-based service called GrowSpring. This post-death navigational tool is designed to assist a solo spouse effectively understand, navigate, and complete what feels like an overwhelming never-ending list of chores. GrowSpring shepherds women and men alike through this challenging and emotionally difficult time by creating simple To-Do lists around estate settlement, insurance, healthcare, and solo household management considerations that are helpful, relevant, and timebound. The platform’s primary goals are: to help them move forward with strength, empower them to become self-reliant, and most importantly encourage new growth following loss. Savvy Sage believes that “Growing is honoring.”
About four years ago, Kelly lost Patrick, her truest love and father to their two incredible kiddos. “As I traversed through the hundreds of tasks that are required in basically closing out the life of someone you cherish," Kelly explains. “I realized that there had to be a better way to guide someone through this chaotic process. In my experience, I was unable to find a cohesive pathway that did just that!" There was nothing on the market that offered a comprehensive framework geared towards assisting solo spouses in managing a new household alone. Many people do not have networks of care around them when their spouse passes and are at risk of rapid emotional and financial decline. GrowSpring is here to help the solo spouses change that. “Developing something that in any way can help these folks is my absolute motivation for GrowSpring,” Kelly says.
Right now, the platform is designed specifically for solo spouses. However, throughout Kelly’s time at the i.Lab, she is beginning to see that this tool could also be used by family and friends to assist in the healing process as well. “The emotional distress,” Kelly explains, “is so significant for some people that a close family member could probably do this for them and at least get a framework of the things that have to happen. The i.Lab is opening my viewpoint in a very positive way on the marketing side of it.”
GrowSpring is still in its early stages of development, and Kelly is making sure that her minimal viable product is what the market may need and find useful. “Along the path, I have made some definite shifts on how the solo spouse will interact with the platform,” Kelly explains. “Ultimately, my long-term vision for GrowSpring would incorporate creating a vetted and secure marketplace that solo spouses can feel confident that these trusted providers will treat them with care.”
I think this platform has the potential to be life-changing for new solo spouses. I can only imagine how chaotic and overwhelming the months after can be, and having pre-made To-Do lists that are specifically catered to your needs, makes moving forward in life a little more clear and achievable.