Are you planning for your next PCS?
Julia Cregar and Brittany Oletti sure are. Then again, they’d blow many of us out of the water when it comes to preparation and planning. So much so, that they launched their own planner business, Spouse Serve.
Oletti, an active-duty Army captain (and military spouse), and Cregar, an Army spouse, are best friends and business partners.
The duo met while stationed at Fort Campbell, becoming fast friends. They have a lot in common. In addition to each having three children (four if you count their husbands, they joke), they both love math — and paper products.
“We are planner people. We like to have a physical, tangible pen and paper planner,” said Cregar. “We spend a lot of time in the school supply/office supply section of Target.”
It was meandering those very aisles when Cregar came up with the idea for Spouse Serve, but we’ll get to that.
While their similarities are numerous, they noticed one major difference right off the bat.
Oletti knew a lot about the military. In addition to being one-half of a dual-Army couple –
“I’m a military child. I grew up in the military,” she said. “I’m a brat, a spouse and serving. I know this world.”
On the other hand, Cregar admits she didn’t know much about this life when marrying her husband, an Army armor officer.
“When we first got married, I admittedly felt a little lost,” Cregar said. “I did not have that exposure to the military before.”
That lack of military knowledge as a young spouse helped plant the seed necessary to start their business.
“I would have loved something to kind of help me adjust and learn, something built for my life,” Cregar said.
“I was walking through Target looking at the beautiful planners and texted Brittany. ‘What if we create a product for military spouses, create a planner for their lives – would that be something you’d want to collaborate on?’”
Cregar said she was nervous with anticipation as she waited for Oletti to respond.
“I was just watching the dots on the text message, knowing she was responding, but not knowing what she would say.”
Oletti was in. Spouse Serve was born.
That was in September 2018. The two got straight to work and released their first planner, for 2019, as a free, digital download.
They produced their first physical planners in 2020. Since then,
“They’ve changed and gotten better each year, and the content will continue to grow and evolve,” Cregar said. “We thought a lot about what we want and need in a planner. It fits in a purse, and it’s durable.”
Spouse Serve sold out of planners in 2021, encouraging a larger stock and even better quality for this year’s edition.
Cregar and Oletti say they know there are a lot of great planners on the market.
“What you’re not going to get with those planners are the military-specific resources and planning tools,” Oletti said.
That’s probably true. These planners are packed with installation reference lists, important military dates, a key to military terms and acronyms (oh-so-many acronyms), a cheat-sheet to help identify military ranks, PCS checklists and more.
Oletti’s favorite? A duty-station bucket list.
“In order to really thrive at a duty station, you should be intentional with how you’re spending your time there,” she said. “The last thing you want is to leave that duty station thinking, ‘What did we do while we were here this last two or three years?’”
Cregar is quick to point out they also added a budgeting section in the 2022 planner.
“We love math and budgeting, so it just made sense,” Cregar said. “We want this planner to be a one-stop-shop for military and life.”
Cregar and Oletti manage their business together, even though they are currently stationed hundreds of miles apart through plenty of Zoom calls and text messages.
“It’s been so fun to watch this community of ours grow from our friends and family to this global community. It’s so fun getting to know everyone,” Oletti said.
“This product is the dream we had in mind three and a half years ago,” Cregar added. “We’re a planner company, but we’re also a community. We want to help make connections. We want to be the people that help make this life easier, help calm the chaos of military life.”Read comments