Emily Washkowitz is getting married this summer. In the lead-up to the wedding, she and her fiance have already received multiple toaster ovens. “Now I have an $89 credit at Williams Sonoma and at Bed Bath and Beyond,” she said.
What she’d really prefer to the traditional wedding registry — and she thinks she’s not alone — is a gift of stock shares.
Stocks, which could help ensure Washkowitz and her hubby-to-be’s financial future, are perhaps a fitting gift for what’s supposed to be a long-term investment in each other.
But it’s not all that logistically easy to give stock as a gift, especially to people outside your immediate family or established charities.
So Washkowitz, who is also about to graduate from Columbia Business School, has created an online stock-gifting startup called Shareswell. It’s now live for summer wedding season.
Shareswell — which does not itself buy and sell stock, but coordinates with brokers — is essentially free to use. It’s also not all about weddings; other occasions like baby showers and graduations are supported, too.
Washkowitz plans to monetize the site through affiliate fees from brokers for users who open new accounts. “I don’t want to become a glorified wire transfer,” she said.
Online wedding registries are perhaps ready for a rethink, or at least a fresh coat of paint; another new startup in the space is Zola, which aggregates many kinds of registries and just launched an iPhone app. It’s likely to have broader appeal than Shareswell.
As for Washkowitz and her fiance, they unregistered at all the more traditional stores — and their own Shareswell registry has already been bought out of Apple and Amgen stock.