Born and raised in the Dallas area, Cory Jones gained his competitive edge as a power lifter while completing his degree in Entrepreneurship at the University of North Texas, shortly thereafter achieving his greatest personal claim to fame thus far – the title of Texas Strongest Man. Cory cut his professional teeth as a citizen of the free standing country that is Accenture; learning to travel and spend per diems, and a work hard/work hard mentality that has stuck with him ever since.
After 12 years of diverse business consulting, marketing and business strategy roles, Cory and fiancé Katelyn Watson launched DINKlife.com BETA in May 2011 as a tool to help couples – DINKs (Dual Income No Kids) – meet others like them and make the most of life. DINKlife is the only lifestyle brand and social and services platform for this group, the second fastest growing life-stage demographic in the US.
MO: What was your inspiration for creating a site dedicated to couples with no children?
Cory: A few years back, assessing my social life, I realized that most of my friends had married and had children, moved deep into the suburbs, rarely to be seen again. Those that weren’t raising a family were still single, bouncing from meat market club to bar, focused on finding “the one”.
My fiancé, Katelyn, and I were focused on travelling, building our career and enjoying life together…we were in a very different life-stage than our friends. We were in a gap, with no resources to support our lifestyle, lacking ways to meet new friends like us, and needing practical info on things like taxes and travel for couples without kids.
Our research uncovered couples like us were one of the fastest growing demographics in the world, with over 30M individuals part of a couple without kids in the US, and an estimated 130M+ globally.
MO: Why do you think that this lifestyle choice is becoming increasingly common? And is this trend more US based or is it an international phenomenon?
Cory: The introduction of safe birth control options 50 years back led the way by enabling people to choose when and if they have kids. This trend has gained significant momentum in recent years with the era of personal choice we live in today. Communication and access to information drives us to challenge traditional beliefs, particularly with the X and Y generations, and more people are realizing they can choose the path for their life.
More and more couples are choosing to spend more time as a couple, having kids later, taking the time to build their financial foundation, grow their career, and just have fun before taking that next step. The length of time couples are married before having children today has tripled over the last 40 years.
Other couples are choosing to forgo kids entirely. 1 in 5 women now leave child-rearing age without becoming a mother. Couples making this choice do so for many reasons, including environmental, financial, and personal beliefs, but many say they simply never had a desire to have children of their own.
This trend is not limited to the U.S. In fact the highest DINK growth rates are in countries like China and India, where this opportunity to choose is just recently gaining momentum. The UK and many European countries are ahead of the curve, with large DINK populations and more acceptance of this lifestyle.
MO: You mention that you’re excited ‘about the input we are receiving from DINKs, one-by-one, about how our concept and site has helped them validate and make the most of their lifestyle.’ I find it interesting that you use the word validate. Do you think that it’s still a challenge for couples with no children to be accepted? Can it be isolating?
Cory: Yes, even today, the pressure from family to have children often starts with the wedding night, and builds relentlessly as the years go on. Many are still guided by traditional beliefs as it comes to the purpose of marriage, and families and friends often drive wedges in these cherished relationships, questioning the motives of couples enjoying their couple-hood, and focusing on these issues. This is particularly common in regions most grounded in traditional beliefs, like the Midwest and Southern US, where Katelyn and I are from.
When friends move on to build a family they experience a major priority shift, focusing on their children, and building their day-to-day lives around their activities. This is an experience DINKs don’t share, and over time these friendships have less and less in common to ground them. And with the majority of adults choosing to have kids, it’s a social circle that’s both highly engaged and at-scale, often leaving couples without kids to set their own social path.
That’s why we’re trying to ‘validate’ the choice to simply enjoy life as a couple, whether it be temporary or permanent. To drive awareness of the idea that it’s okay to be happy as a twosome – in fact, many studies suggest that couples are happier before having children – and to facilitate making the most of that time before moving on to the next step.
We created a Public Service Announcement video as a tool to get this message to the world; it’s truly hilarious, check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XznEs896f7Y
MO: What do you think are the two biggest issues for people with no children are facing?
Cory: Beyond the societal pressure to have children, couples are often left trying to build a new circle of friends, people they can go out with, travel with, and that share lifestyles and perspectives. We’re facilitating these connections through our new product, Meet-outs, where DINKs can post an event – wine tasting, formal dinner, or just a weekly happy hour – and we invite other DINKs nearby. And we have more to come on that front in 2012, stay tuned.
The second big challenge is weeding through the “family-friendly” and “pick-up” restaurants/clubs/ events to locate local events that make sense for couples. We want to find great places, hotels, etc. for adult travel and activities, and most of us are not looking for swingers spots, which dominates what’s out there now. The Topics section on DINKlife.com helps DINKs tremendously on this front, as does our travel Itineraries section, where DINKs can share their past trip agendas for the rest of us to make use of.
MO: Why do you think that the DINK market has been so underserved and overlooked?
Cory: It’s a growing trend, one that has seen tremendous momentum in recent years. Contrast that with the lifecycle of many, many prior generations – the wedding night conception scenario – and there is quite a history from which a foundation of government, businesses, and information were built.
As awareness and understanding of this trend grows, so will the resources to speak to this audience. As DINKlife, we’re thrilled to be on the front end of it.
MO: Can you tell our readers anything exciting on the horizon for DINKlife in 2012?
Cory: We’re truly only just getting started with DINKlife at this point. We launched the BETA site to assess the interest level and feedback on this concept among DINK couples, and the response has been tremendous.
Going into 2012 we plan to launch 3 additional products, more ways to help couples make the most of life, and will have an official site launch in conjunction with the release of those products. Keep an eye out for more DINKlife!
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