Happy Birthday to us. It’s been 7 magical years at Vida; starting from humble beginnings, Vida began as a kitchen table start-up. My vision was to create a matchmaking company that would evolve organically around the needs of my clients. Back in 2011, the dating landscape was changing so rapidly and the launch of Tinder in 2012 marked a turning point for the industry. Today, the vast majority of people who are single, turn to dating apps, but as time has gone on, many are realising that this time-consuming approach to finding a life partner isn’t necessarily the best approach. Furthermore, the influx of online dating, has raised the awareness and highlighted the benefits of offline matchmaking and the industry is growing from strength to strength. Matchmaking has become not just socially acceptable, but a desirable means through which to find a life partner.
With the ever changing dating landscape, it was almost impossible to come up with a detailed business plan, so I focused on building solid professional relationships with my clients and I continuously sought feedback and explored new ideas.
Ultimately, our biggest achievement are the many happy couples we have created and the marriages and babies that have followed.
Other key milestones over the past 7 years were:
Year 1 – 2011: I grew my network from a list of just 20 contacts to 500 within one year. How? I networked my socks off. As an introvert, this didn’t come naturally, but people welcomed me/Vida with open arms. I realised that entrepreneurs were particularly supportive – not only did they see the benefit of Vida’s service and become a bulk of my client base, they also opened many doors for me…connecting me to other exceptional single people and also professionals such as web designers, accountants etc. I felt like I was riding on the crest of a very exciting wave. I met Leila Benton-Jones through a mutual friend. We clicked instantly and she joined Vida. My first colleague and a life-long friend.
Year 2 – 2012: We moved into our first office in London and I hired my first matchmaker.
Year 3 – 2013: Feeling like we had conquered London, we launched our international service. My first client, an entrepreneur who lived between three countries and spoke four languages; he went onto marry the first lady I introduced him to (true story!). This gave me the confidence I needed to focus on the international market. By the end of 2013, we had hired 40 freelance consultants to help us grow our network of exceptional singles in 16 cities around the world.
Year 4 – 2014: Maintaining high levels of professional and ethical standards is very important for me, not just within Vida but across the industry as a whole. I was the first European matchmaker to be invited to sit on the advisory committee of the Matchmaking Institute in New York City. This followed my talk at their conference in New York where I spoke about the psychology of matchmaking and where I had the pleasure of meeting world-renowned Dr Helen Fisher.
Year 5 – 2015: I gave birth to my first son, Harrison and learnt very quickly how to juggle a growing business with motherhood. Seven years into the business and I have finally learned to delegate, so I spend most of my day with various members of the team helping them with whatever issues and challenges a new day brings. I oversee the entire matchmaking process and personally deliver matchmaking for a couple of VIP clients. This involves dashing out of the office at various points in the day to meet clients & potential matches. The rest of my day is usually spent working on our PR and marketing strategy. Being a mum means I no longer work the crazy hours I used to, but I usually stay in Mayfair 1 or 2 evenings a week to attend meetings or to meet a client for drinks/dinner. I feel very fortunate. There’s not a single part of my job that I don’t enjoy.
Year 6 – 2016: We won our first award! Matchmaking Agency of the Year at the Euro Dating Awards. We also had our first designated Head of Gay Matchmaking in place, as gay matchmaking really started to take off!
Year 7 – 2017: We brought in an investor and Chairman, Nick Wiszowaty to help me open our New York Office. I had my second child.. and went on to win three awards: UK Matchmaking Agency of the Year 2017, International Matchmaker of the Year 2017, European Matchmaking Agency of the Year 2017.
To mark Vida’s 7 year anniversary, we will be publishing 7 consecutive articles over 7 days, with the first post being published here on Saturday 16th June 2018 at 9am.