Why I Added Back My Maiden Name—and My Mother’s Maiden Name

Katie Ann Echevarria Rosen Kitchens, the cofounder and chief curator at FabFitFun, knows her name is a mouthful. But changing her name celebrates her Latinx roots and feminism.

the founder of FabFitFun at an event
"These days it takes a longer time for me to sign a credit card receipt, but if there's some girl out there in any shape or form who identifies as Latinx and recognizes my roots, then the extra names are worth it."
(Image credit: Future)

In 2011, when Katie was married, she took her husband’s last name. She became Katie Ann Kitchens—a name phonetic and rich in alliteration which was ideal for a public-facing entrepreneur. The former lifestyle journalist cofounded the company FabFitFun in 2010 as an editorial site, and it has since expanded into an ecommerce juggernaut complete with a monthly curated subscription box. Last year, it amassed two million members, employed 300 people, and generated $600 million in annual revenue, as reported by Forbes

As her company expanded, so, too, did Katie’s full name. In 2018, just a month before FabFitFun would announce $80 million in Series A venture capital funding, a conversation with her mom about representation inspired her to add back her maiden name (Rosen), as well as her mother’s maiden name (Echevarria). The move pays homage to the life and career she built before she was married. And topping it off with her mom’s surname is a nod to her identity as a Latinx founder, and a commemoration to the achievements of her late mother, Dr. Wanda Echevarria Rosen, who is from Puerto Rico. 

Today, the cofounder of FabFitFun goes by Katie Ann Echevarria Rosen Kitchens. 

More and more, women are deciding to keep their maiden names. The most recent comprehensive study on women's last names, which was conducted in 2015 by The New York Times, reported that about 30% of women have decided to keep their maiden names in some way after getting married. The number has risen since the 1980s and 1990s, when only 14% and 18% of women kept their maiden names, respectively. 

Here, Katie explains why updating her name was both a personal and professional decision. 

For FabFitFun cofounder Katie Ann Echevarria Rosen Kitchens, keeping her maiden name and her mother's maiden name is a symbolic move.

(Image credit: FabFitFun)

When I married my husband 10 years ago, I dropped my father’s surname, Rosen. But one day in 2018 I was home with my mother watching a movie starring Jennifer Lopez when I started rethinking my name. I was pregnant with my second daughter, shortly after Chrismukkah (our combined celebration of Christmas and Hanukkah), and we were watching Enough. I recall my mother tearing up as she explained to me what a big deal it was to have Latina representation in television and film, which was nonexistent when she was growing up. 

My mother and my father, Sy Rosen, met in graduate school where they studied therapy and embarked on a 50-year journey together. My mom waited until after having a child to get her Ph.D. She studied at night and still managed to be a loving, hands-on mom. And I will tell you, when she got the title of Dr., she made sure that it went on every mailing address we had. 

My mom was a true feminist, a true hippie and used all of her family names: Wanda Vidal Echevarria Rosen. I never officially changed my name but used my married name, Kitchens, both professionally and personally after I got married. For awhile, I dropped my mom’s maiden name, thinking four names were already too much. And I rarely used Rosen for the sake of brevity. But that JLo movie night with my mom made me think about how we identify ourselves publicly. 

I lost my mom last year so it’s harder to talk about now, but for her, there was something about seeing a woman who she felt a connection with, starring in this female empowerment movie, combined with the fact that she herself broke all the glass ceilings to be the first one in her family to go to college and get her Ph.D. She also expressed joy in seeing my success at FabFitFun. That night in front of the TV—that was the moment. 

It struck me that there aren't a lot of Latina founders on the forefront of the startup economy. So, I decided to bring back my maiden name and, on top of that, my mom's maiden name. These days it takes a longer time for me to sign a credit card receipt, but if there's some girl out there in any shape or form who identifies as Latinx and recognizes my roots, then the extra names are worth it. 

I don’t want to give up the whole identity I had before I married my husband. I was a whole person before meeting him. I’m a better person with him—but we, as women, don’t need to give up ourselves. As I mentioned, my mom always went by Dr. Echevarria Rosen. I started thinking this should be the norm. 

I don’t want to give up the whole identity I had before I married my husband.

Katie Ann Echevarria Rosen Kitchens

I married Daniel in 2011. He’s from Georgia but we met in Marina Del Rey, California where we bonded over a love of music and a shared sense of humor. We’re lucky to have two beautiful children and are true equals and co-parents. He completely understands why I would want to keep my identity. It’s a celebration of two families uniting versus changing who we are because society suggests we do.

What did my in-laws think? I married into a traditional Southern family, where the expectation is you change your name but they don't expect the traditional from me. I mean, right now I have purple hair. I don't do things the same way people do things and that has played a part in the success of FabFitFun. 

Daniel and I have two daughters, Summer and Siena Kitchens, ages 6 and 9.  I'll support whatever they decide to do with their names—as long as they are being true to themselves.