In Conversation with Rachel MacLynn, The Vida Consultancy
Every fortnight we chat to an influential member of the Dating Industry. This time we chat to Rachel MacLynn, the Founder of the Vida Consultancy. Rachel is currently on maternity leave with her second baby Archie, so we were very lucky to catch her for a five minute chat!
What’s the most exciting thing happening in dating at the moment?
The change in perspective. Dating (whether through an app, website or matchmaker) is not only socially acceptable, it’s now socially desirable. The method and precise brand you use to find your partner has become a statement of who you are, who you are looking for and whether you are seeking a fling or a life partner. That’s why Vida’s brand is so important. We are getting more people than ever wanting to be affiliated with us, because we represent a way to find a partner that is sophisticated, psychology-based, trendy, cosmopolitan and exclusive. People are becoming more savvy about how to use dating services to find their life partner and we, at Vida, are experiencing an influx in clients in their thirties who are seeking a life partner and have recognised that dating apps are are not conducive to achieving this goal. Single men and women in their 30s have a very different mindset. They are the first of the Facebook generation, having adopted it in their 20s. They get why it’s crazy to simply leave meeting someone to chance. Their whole lives are online. This new generation of customers has paved the way for matchmaking to become modernised and sophisticated. Everything is pointing towards social media, dating apps and matchmaking coming together to help people find their ultimate match. I am excited to see where this leads.
What has changed in the industry since you entered it?
I stepped across from an established career as a business psychologist into matchmaking in 2006. Back then, there were mere whispers about, and dating apps didn’t exist. Matchmaking in London was offered by a handful of agencies, however the industry was starting to boom in the States. Over the last ten years, I have seen the entire dating landscape change dramatically. Today, for consumers, there is every type of service imaginable to cater for every need; and for business owners there is the opportunity to bring online and offline services closer together.
What do you think the biggest challenge facing the industry is?
The continued lack of regulation in the industry. Although it’s great to see that in recent years various organisations have been set up to tackle this problem for both online dating services (e.g. The ODA) and offline matchmakers (e.g. The Matchmaking Institute). I would like to see more psychologists coming into the industry, especially in matchmaking agencies. Finding a partner is such a deeply emotional process and properly trained psychologists (or other professionals) could have a huge impact on helping people prepare for dating, recognise who they are compatible with and sustain healthy relationships.
Can matchmakers and app / website owners work together more?
Definitely! There is a huge opportunity and signs that matchmakers and app developers alike are making attempts to meet in the middle. Match.com’s strategy has veered towards creating a more natural setting for single people to meet through their events. eHarmony launched their own matchmaking service a few years ago. And matchmakers are moving towards introducing technology into our services, in order to make the experience for our clients more efficient, but without compromising on the benefits of a personal service.
What’s next for the Vida Consultancy?
The world is more accessible than ever and people are becoming more multi-cultural. Our vision at Vida is to continue developing our service to cater for successful, cosmopolitan single people in cities all over the world.