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Innovating the Wish List

As we find ourselves amidst a global economic funk, no one has money to waste, especially on gifts nobody wants. One way to save your friends and family some time and money and organize your interests is, an online tool where you can register for, well, just about anything.

MyRegistry launched in November 2005 as the platform’s founders saw that there was a market for creating gift registries, outside of the realm of weddings and baby showers. "We’re such sophisticated, eclectic human beings on this planet that it’s impossible to find something for everyone all the time," says Nancy Lee, president of While weddings, babies and the holidays are the site’s staple portals, visitors can add all types of gifts, including cash. "If you can imagine it, you can add it," she says.

Users can add gifts manually with their own images and descriptions or through an easy toolbar. If a person is looking at an online store, he or she just has to click on the browser button, which captures the image and hot links it back to the original location, automatically adding it to his or her registry. MyRegistry has partnered with over 1,000 stores, but 30% of new accounts spawn virally from people who have found things on other registries.

Lee says that since MyRegistry’s is not a retailer, they have the opportunity to take advantage of many things that retailers can’t. For instance, the site has a sophisticated e-card system in which users can login to Facebook accounts and instantly send an e-card to their friends. "Easy is key — especially in this economic environment."

Despite the economic turmoil the country is facing and many people cutting their shopping budgets, Lee is optimistic, saying that she expects they will do just fine as people will be looking for easier ways to shop. "When you create a list, you kind of liberate your friends," she says, "They’re not driving around wasting time and energy." She adds that there are certain occasions, such as weddings and baby showers that are just too important to skimp on, regardless of the economic climate. "When you’re getting married, economy problems or no economy problems, you’re going to get what you want."

MyRegistry has also found success with a new type of registry: green shopping. Green is popular these days, but it is hard to find big stores where one can find lots of eco-friendly items for affordable prices. "We found that there’s enormous amount of traffic on our site for green registries because there is no green superstore," Lee says. Users can add items like recycled glass dishware, a trash compactor, or even donate to various charities.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, it’s probably time to start writing that wish list. "In the end, it’s really great to get something that has sentimental value, but there’s also no point in getting someone something they don’t want."