Planning a Sun Valley Wedding
“Divorce parties are huge in Japan,” Nick Harman tells me, as we discuss his irreverent yet hilarious enterprise “Bitch-is-Gone”, which specializes in throwing break-up parties for both sexes. While unfortunately the divorce party mecca of Tokyo is out of reach for now, Nick is simply happy that business is growing. His company has two branches - including “Bastard-is-Gone” - and sells enough party supplies to cover me head-to-toe with the “B.I.G.” logo after our interview. Visit the websites and you’ll see dozens of photo submissions that feature smiling revelers in B.I.G. hats and t-shirts, all in celebration of the recently divorced. It’s clear these new singles have put the personal bitterness and stuffy courtroom legalities behind them. They wanted to party - and Ketchum local Nick Harman simply helped them do so.
Now before you scornfully write off the whole concept, consider this: Nick was first inspired to throw a B.I.G. party following his own lengthy divorce two years ago. It’s an undeniably painful process, and Nick understands that better than most. “At one point, there was no way I would’ve thrown a B.I.G. party,” he says. Yet once the paperwork was over, Nick needed to do something cathartic. A friend casually mentioned the words “...bitch is gone...” and the idea was born. Since then he’s had no moral qualms with “Bitch-is-Gone,” explaining up front that the concept is completely tongue-in-cheek. And from the response he and I got in Java during our interview, our table covered in apparel, neither do most. It’s brilliant at best, crude at worst. However, to be offensive has never been Nick’s goal.
So what is a B.I.G. party? It’s a way to announce to the world that you’re back and perhaps, better than ever. Nick recommends getting organized, grabbing former groomsmen and bridesmaids to become “B.I.G. Brothers and Sisters”, picking a location and letting loose. He threw his own, the very first B.I.G. party, at the Cellar Pub, where he gave away hats and celebrated Ketchum-style. Nick also facilitates a cathartic, four-step process in which he helps facilitate the moving-on process. The steps including virtual purging and a hotline, all culminate in one of Nick's epic parties.
Through the Bitch Is Gone website and Iconoclast Books, Nick sells black and white hats and t-shirts, drink coozies, stickers, condoms, and even voodoo dolls. All the party supplies one would need for a raucous B.I.G. gathering. Says Nick, “People often end up buying merchandise for a friend.” And not just the recently divorced: B.I.G. parties are being thrown across the country for the end of relationship, marriage or otherwise. So far Nick has mostly connected with potential clients through social media. Apparently people tweet about throwing divorce parties all the time, in which case Nick introduces himself via @Bitchisgone (his Twitter handle) . Business has been so good, in fact, that Nick was recently contacted about doing a reality TV show. It’s nothing too serious, but having done little to no marketing, he’s excited about the potential exposure. How do you say “Bastard-is-Gone” in Japanese?
However you feel about Nick Harman’s company, remember that even the nastiest situations can use some lightheartedness. “Bitch-is-Gone” wants people to forget the pain and celebrate new beginnings. So take Nick’s advice and throw a party. At the very least, you’ll get a laugh - and hopefully a voodoo doll.