An Edinburgh entrepreneur is taking the tech out of soulmate searching by offering a near-forgotten service used by singletons for centuries.
Laura Smyth, dubbed the Cilla Black of the north, launched Match Made in Scotland after helping single friends who were frustrated with the online dating scene.
Laura said: “My friends were plain fed up with swiping left and right on their phones wasting hours having the same banal conversations with people they were never going to meet.”
Then inspiration struck former recruitment consultant Laura. “It occurred to me while we were having a good old moan that for the past 10 years I’d been working as a matchmaker by finding the right jobs for people and the right candidates for companies.”
Gregarious Laura started helping to pair up couples from her wide circle of friends and from there became the only matchmaker in Scotland.
“Things took off really quickly,” said the 33-year-old, “As soon as I started putting feelers out enquiries were coming from across the country for consultations.”
Unlike dating platforms Laura meets every one of her potential clients and even vets them and verifies identification to weed out any charlatans.
Laura carries out face-to-face consultations in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Stirling, Perth, Aberdeen, and Inverness.
Laura said: “I don’t use any fancy algorithms or artificial intelligence, only good old-fashioned matchmaking skills – putting people together who have the same values, ambitions, and have complementary personalities.
“I am with the clients every step of the way and can be as hands on or hands off as they want.”
Laura puts her success down to a romantic heart backed up by down-to-earth common sense and business skills.
“As a youngster I’d watch romantic films like Dirty Dancing and Sleepless in Seattle over and over and I firmly believe there’s a soulmate out there for everybody. But the recruiter side of me knows making a real match is all about asking the right questions.”
Lucy and John’s story
One couple wouldn’t have made it without Laura’s hands-on approach.
“When Laura sent me John’s profile, I was so excited to meet him,” said Lucy, “on paper he ticked every box. But when I met him, I didn’t feel like he was interested in me as he wasn’t asking me a lot of questions. When Laura called for feedback, I told her that he was a nice guy but not for me. I think I wanted to reject him before first.”
John’s version of events was completely different. “From my point of view, I felt the date was amazing. Lucy was everything that I was looking for. She was smart, pretty and ambitious. She had a great sense of humour. I was nervous and really wanted her to like me and I guess in hindsight, I may have tried to talk myself up too much and did not ask her a lot of questions.”
This was when Laura worked her magic. She said: “After getting Lucy’s feedback, I was hesitant contacting John, and was bracing myself for bad news. However, his version of the date was so different to Lucy’s and I went back to Lucy to give her John’s feedback.
“Lucy was really surprised. She thought that he wasn’t interested. When I explained to her that are often men predisposed to sell themselves on a date and this is going back to their primitive mindsets, that men are providers and women are looking for stability.
“Some men tend to talk about themselves on a date, about how successful they are, how good they are at their job, and may allude to how much money they earn. Whether the mention a new car or that they’re back from a fancy holiday. They tend to do this in order to show their dates that they can provide stability for them.
“When I explained this to Lucy, she agreed to go on a second date and give him another chance and now they have been dating for six months. I firmly believe that this would this would not have happened if they’d met on online dating.”
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