OPW INTERVIEW -- June 6 -- Why pay $5,000 to $50,000 for a matchmaker, when you can pay $20 a month for a dating site. Service. Matchmakers are doing well, despite the rise of internet dating. Here’s our interview with Samantha Daniels of Samantha’s Table. - Mark Brooks
What is your background and what inspired you to become a matchmaker?
I started my company, Samantha’s Table, almost 10 years ago. I was a practicing divorce attorney so I was spending a lot of time finding out why couples broke up and what didn’t work for them. At the same time I was working as a lawyer, I was throwing events for my single friends. At those parties I was introducing people to each other and they kept getting into serious relationships and getting engaged and married. I started realizing I had a photographic memory for names and faces and little factoids about people. I felt like this could be an interesting business for me. It was at a time where online dating hadn’t really taken off and there weren’t that many people in the matchmaking business. And I saw room in the marketplace for a matchmaker who would help social people find the person they could marry as opposed to a person they would just date casually, so I went for it.
How does your service work?
I work with people who are very successful, high profile busy professionals. My clients are CEOs of companies, finance people, high profile executives, famous sports people, doctors, partners in law firms, and model/actresses to name a few. I have an office in New York and Los Angeles. People fill out a questionnaire on my website and then if it’s appropriate I would meet with them for a consultation. The consultation takes between an hour and 1 ½ hours. It’s where I get to know them, who they dated in the past, why it hasn’t worked and who they’re looking for. And it’s where they get to know me and my process and how the whole service works.
Then they sign on to become a client. I’m working one on one with them to find them exactly who they’re looking for. I keep a database of more than 15,000 people. The way people get into my database is that they’ve either contacted me and want me to keep them in mind for the clients that I’m working with or because I met them at a social function or charity EVENT in New York or LA or somewhere across the country while I was traveling. So anyone who I meet and is single could be a possible date for my client.
How do you know when you see a good match between two people?
I seem to have this uncanny ability of understanding who goes well with whom. I’m a very analytical person and I’m a people watcher. I feel like I’m constantly watching people and sort of reading between the lines and understanding what they’re saying and what they are not saying, what’s important to them and what’s not.
I set people up based on commonalities because I believe that two people who have as many things in common as possible have more of a chance of having a really successful relationship. I think the people really have to be on the same page and have similar outlooks on life so that they can really connect in a deep way and make a good relationship.
What do your clients think of internet dating and what do you frequently find yourself advising them with regard to internet dating?
I personally feel that online dating is a great thing. My philosophy has always been that you want to put yourself out there and try to meet people in as many ways as possible. Online dating just gives you more opportunities and possibilities, and it’s kind of inexpensive and so why not get involved in it and see what happens.
As I said, I work with very successful and busy people and they feel like they don’t really have the time for online dating. They also feel like it’s a little too public. Another key thing about my business is the confidentiality. So I found that most of the people that I work with just aren’t really interested in internet dating, at least in the form that it exists right now.