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Venice Startup For The Brokenhearted

Venice Startup For The Brokenhearted

There’s no quick fix for a broken heart. With the frenetic speed of digital dating and finely tuned algorithms assisting in the matchmaking process, it takes little more than a few clicks and swipes to load an endless stream of possibilities. But until there’s time to mend and move forward they're all useless.

What makes matters worse is that whether or not a romantic relationship starts online, it almost certainly will be lived out publicly through social media—from date nights and adopted fur babies, to the engagement ring, honeymoon travels, and baby photos. So many baby photos. On and on it goes, unless it doesn’t. And then what? 

Friends might suggest time to unplug, to recuperate emotionally—and, to actually get offline, away from sharp reminders of the relationship and far from temptation to retaliate against an ex in some regrettable way. But perhaps digital hibernation isn’t the only option. Since there are so many dating apps that help find love, shouldn’t there be a few that assist in the aftermath of losing it?

Ellen Huerta, founder of Mend, a Venice-based startup helping to heal the brokenhearted. 

Ellen Huerta, founder of Mend, a Venice-based startup helping to heal the brokenhearted. 

This question nagged at Ellen Huerta as she searched online for post-breakup advice. At the time, she was new to Venice, having recently moved from home in Northern California. The former Google employee had left her job and decided to start anew in the neighborhood she'd grown to love over several work trips to the company's Main Street office. Away from close friends and family, and fresh off a breakup, Huerta found most heartbreak articles online generic and cliché. Both frustrated and inspired, her entrepreneurial mind kicked into high gear and she began to create the site she wished had already existed.

Earlier this year Huerta launched Mend, a content-driven site steeped in community support as well as expert knowledge. It's a mix of relationship articles penned by professional writers that readers "hug" instead of "like," user-submitted stories of heartbreak and healing tagged #HOWIMEND, and advice columns from relationship therapists and life coaches. There's even a Mend breakup cleanse.

A three-tiered heartbreak cleanse starting at $49, offers a day-by-day plan to get past a nasty breakup.

A three-tiered heartbreak cleanse starting at $49, offers a day-by-day plan to get past a nasty breakup.

For those in need of extra support, there's one-on-one counseling too. The first 30-minute session is free, and from there, a single one-hour session starts at $75. It's all done over the phone, so it's more affordable than most counseling—and bonus, there's no need to get out of bed. Sessions can be managed online or through the convenient new Mend app, which also features group classes covering topics such as "How To Cope With Rejection."

Huerta wants Mend to become an all-encompassing platform offering every level of support, from basic coping mechanisms, to community encouragement, to personalized expert assistance. She describes Mend as "the Weight Watchers of heartbreak." Of course, one important aspect in all of this is bringing the Mend community together in real life, which is why Huerta will be hosting the first Mend Popup here in Venice on Saturday, August 29. It's free, open to women and men, to the heartbroken and wholehearted, but this is no pity party.

Mend Popup is a "treat yourself" day with massages from Soothe, intention setting with My Intent, guided meditation and journaling workshops, as well as plenty of eats, drinks and giveaways. It will be hosted at The Quest by Hayley Starr, a retail shop on Lincoln Blvd. that is also making a new start as a local event space. Stop by any time from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and see all the good that's come from the darkest days of heartache. 

Mend Popup at The Quest by Hayley Starr // 2122 Lincoln Blvd. Venice 90291

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