People often ask me: “How did you get into matchmaking?” I didn’t know matchmaking was even a ‘thing’ until 2006, when I was 26 years old. I stumbled across a job advert seeking a psychologist to join a matchmaking agency, or I should say “introduction agency” as they were more commonly referred to in those days. I’ll never forget that moment. As I read the job description, I had butterflies in my stomach as I started to visualise my new path in life. I had always considered myself to be fairly conventional, yet despite being on a strong career trajectory as a business psychologist, I knew instinctively that I just had to give it a go.
By the time I reached my thirties, I was so immersed in the world of matchmaking, I started to think about what it would be like to set up my own agency. With encouragement from some trusted entrepreneurial friends, in June 2011 Vida Consultancy was born. My first baby. I barely slept or left my flat for the first few weeks while I taught myself every detail of running a business. I was hooked.
Nine years on, I’d like to share my top nine reasons why I am so immensely proud of Vida.
Our core team spread across London, NYC and Düsseldorf is what we like to refer to as “The Vida Family”. We look out for each other, respect each other equally no matter what our roles are, and boy do we like to celebrate at every given opportunity. We’re focussed, we’re passionate and we inject the feel-good factor into everything we do. Apparently, the team feel good when they call me “The Grande Fromage”, so who am I to stop them?
Support from our incredible clients
Vida has thrived because of our relationship with our members. I love speaking with clients to get their feedback and also listen to ideas on how the service could be enhanced to meet their needs. My vision for Vida is really the collective vision of our clients; and with this in mind, we continuously create new ways of working. By doing this, the individuals who actually experience our service are at the helm of writing the Vida blueprint, and with so many highly educated and successful business leaders and entrepreneurs amongst our client base, what better way to carve out our future?!
When I first set up Vida my sights were set initially on cracking the London market. It’s a big city with millions of single people. I worked flat out for the first couple of years, building my network with the help of my sidekick at the time, Leila Benton-Jones. In 2013, I then thought…if I can take on London, why not take on the world! So, I did…with the help of Meghan Buquen who helped me turn Vida into a fully-fledged international operation. I loved the diversity and endless opportunities! The secret to our international success is two-fold:
1) Our unique profiling approach that focusses on core values. Focusing solely on the psychology of compatibility, enabled us to assess even the most multicultural of clients.
2) Our sourcing capabilities. I needed to replicate my London networking activities in cities around the world, so I hired dozens of people to do it for me.
We now have Vida ambassadors/scouts discreetly mingling amongst the most sought after social and professional circles in over 17 cities around the world. Cupids on duty!
Setting up an office in NYC
In 2016, I knew I was only just starting to build momentum with the business. I was exhausted, so I enlisted the help of my new business partner, Nick to give me the nudge I needed to keep growing Vida (while I was at home nursing a new-born). America had always tickled my fancy, so in 2017, 12 weeks after giving birth to my second son, I decided it would be fun to fly to NYC to open an office. Now, anyone who is a working parent will know it feels like two full time jobs. With Nick in tow, we landed in NYC. I was somewhat flustered, feeling guilt for leaving my baby and toddler at home and felt like we had arrived in NYC with little more than a wing and a prayer. I remember Nick reassuring me: “Rachel, when you land in NYC, things just happen. Trust me”. And they did. Our first meeting at 8:30am on Monday morning was with an experienced NYC matchmaker called Gina. She floated into the room with a beaming smile and just-stepped-out-of-the-salon hair. As we spoke, I pinched myself, wondering if the double espresso and jetlag was playing with my head. Or had I just struck lucky on our first meeting. Gina was perfect for Vida. It was professional love at first meeting. We shook on a deal 6 hours later. Great timing for Gina, who then went off to get married that weekend and started as Vida’s COO in NYC upon return from her honeymoon. Gina has become my American sister. She lives and breathes Vida with the same passion as I do.
Setting up an office in Germany
I’ve never considered myself to be a particularly spiritual person, but when I put something on my radar it’s amazing what the universe sends me. Following the success of our NYC office, my London side-kick Mia and I were starting to plan for further international expansion. Enter Alina. I met Alina through another moment of serendipity. She is my new German sister and I am so proud to have someone with such impressive professional credentials joining the Vida Family. 2020 has brought many challenges to everyone around the world, but it has also brought people closer together and I certainly feel a stronger bond with Alina despite my current inability to fly to meet her.
Developing a values-based profiling method
With our international reach and so many jaw-droppingly impressive clients, I needed to find a way to capture the uniqueness of each member, enabling us to find compatible matches with true psychological expertise. With the help of my team of psychologists and highly experienced matchmakers, we developed a values-based profiling method. This not only has proven invaluable for us when it comes to matching successfully, but it has provided light-bulb moments for many clients who embrace a growth mindset.
Integrating psychology services with matchmaking
Have you ever thought about why so many successful individuals enlist experts in anything from business to nutrition, yet when it comes to finding love, they wait patiently for that fateful moment of catching someone’s eye across a crowded room? This approach can work (that’s exactly how my parents met…3 weeks later they were engaged to be married and the rest is history), but it’s not easy finding a life partner this way, when you live in a culturally diverse city, such as London. I introduced coaching services into Vida in 2017, after finding the ideal person to lead it… Madeleine Mason Roantree. Our coaching services are designed to help our members become their own experts in dating and relationships. We can transform thinking and behaviour in a way that exudes positivity and brings true clarity and success.
Successes in love
We celebrate successes every week at Vida. Such successes can range from being sent a photo of a newly born Vida baby, to a simple text from a client telling us we have been a shining light in their life. Due to confidentiality, we can’t shout our successes from the rooftop, but we do shout and celebrate internally, by sharing successes discreetly within the core team of matchmakers. We adore making people happy and helping them fall in love. We never tire of receiving pictures of our loved-up couples and every single one of them reminds me why I set up Vida.
Adapting to COVID
I’ve been through one or two challenges in my life and when Covid hit, I had to think pragmatically, but also intuitively to navigate through the daily changes that were occurring. My focus: protect our clients, protect my team and find a way to continue helping people to find love. I am humbled and inspired by the positivity, compassion and resilience of everyone around me.
Working as a matchmaker is no ordinary job. It is my Ikigai and it is through this immense passion and purpose that my team and I continue with such enthusiasm towards changing our clients’ lives by assisting them with creating their ultimate relationship.