Continuing our series of interviews with the winners of the 2014 UK Dating Awards, we catch up with Matchmaker of the Year, Caroline Brealey of Mutual Attraction …
How does it feel to win the Award?
Incredible. Amazing. Brilliant. How many adjectives can I squeeze in?! 😉 Before the award ceremony my boyfriend asked how I would feel if I didn’t win and after doing the whole ‘it’s such an honour to be nominated speech’ he said “so you really want to win then?!” He knows me so well.
I launched Mutual Attraction with a lot of optimism, no business experience and big plans. Having my success recognised feels really humbling and in a way like someone is telling me ‘you’re doing good’. I know that sounds silly but when you don’t have a boss to tell you these things who else is there? I’m really proud to have won Matchmaker of the Year and I think anyone who was at the awards knew that as I leapt from my seat to do a very unsophisticated squeal when it was announced I won!
Why do you think you won your category?
Of course I’m biased but I do think my matchmaking company Mutual Attraction stands out from others. Many matchmakers go down the ‘we are only for the super rich and exclusive’ route. In contrast I take a more down to earth approach. Members tell me they were drawn to us as our branding and approach feels more personal and approachable. I am a real stickler for outstanding customer service. My worst case scenario would be someone leaving Mutual Attraction unhappy. Even if worse came to worse and we hadn’t matched them with their special someone I still want them to leave us feeling they had a great experience, met some incredible people and that they were truly valued and loved. I am in a very lucky position that I only work with people I connect with and working 1:1 for 3 months means I do have a really close relationship with members. If they want dating advice they know they can always call me and I’m often giving people a first date pep talk! I take a lot of pride in what I do, work very hard and I hope that shows.
Who did you see as your toughest competition?
Mary Balfour who came highly commended and runs Drawing Down the Moon. She has been matchmaking for so many years and has rather a cult following now! All the matchmakers I was up against are incredibly good at what they do in their own ways – we all operate differently in terms of service, price point and the people we work with.
What was the highlight of your evening at the Award Show?
So many but when I walked in I was really wowed. The venue looked sparkling and the people even more so! It was wonderful to have people from all areas of the dating industry in attendance which meant the networking was incredible. Sipping a glass of fizz I worked my way around the room meeting familiar faces, being introduced to new people and finally putting a face to a name for those I’ve spoken to (and in some cases worked with) but have never met in person.
What will you do with your Award?
Kick my boyfriend out of the bed so I can sleep with it at night! I’m really lucky to have won 2 awards for my matchmaking in 2014 and both have pride of place in my living room. Whenever the workload gets tough or I’m having ‘one of those days’ it will be the perfect reminder to keep going and to never deliver anything but a top quality matchmaking service.
What did you think of the first year of the UK Dating Awards?
Superb. To be honest I couldn’t quite believe it was the first year it was that brilliant! A beautiful venue, everyone all dressed up and looking fabulous, connecting with new people, having Rick Edwards present the award ceremony and it may be a little sad to admit but having my photo taken with Matt Hicks from TV show ‘I Wanna Marry Harry’ – what a gent. After such a successful first year the pressure will be on for the second one, especially as people are already talking about it!
Have you done anything particularly big in 2014?
Aside from winning the award which is a highlight, Mutual Attraction has grown rapidly, almost doubling in size. Because of this I have started to go grey but I’m happy to sacrifice! I launched my free Friday newsletter which now goes out to people all over the world – I still get a buzz when I see someone has subscribed! I was a finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards (which I find so funny as I don’t view myself as an entrepreneur but I suppose I am!) and that recognition is amazing. In 2014 I have arranged more dates than ever before resulting in more happy couples. It’s such an incredible feeling knowing you can impact someone’s life for the better – even when they come into your life for such a short time.
What are the key values which underpin your brand?
I have a saying that at Mutual Attraction we are professional yet informal. I encourage members to see me as a good friend who just happens to have a brilliant network of likeminded singles looking for love! I find that people really like this approach, after all we’re dealing with affairs of the heart not making a business transaction!
Integrity and honesty are at the core of what we do. There are many people who wish to join Mutual Attraction whom we don’t take on. That’s not because we don’t think they’re great or worthy of love. It’s because we know who we can help. We know our limits and we know our network. In contrast to other matchmaking services who have an ethos of ‘take whoever and worry about it later’ I am very honest. If I don’t think I can help at that moment I will always let the person know tactfully and with kindness. Matchmaking is a big investment, emotionally and financially and people appreciate your honesty before making such a big decision. I believe that’s why we have an excellent reputation, are trusted and respected. All of which are incredibly important to me.
What are your plans for 2015?
Early 2015 I will be recruiting a new matchmaker to the Mutual Attraction team. Exciting and nerve wrecking all in one, it’s so important to find someone who shares the same vision and upholds the same level of service and matchmaking. 2015 will also be the year where I help more people across the Globe. Leading on from my weekly newsletter watch out for webinars, videos, interviews and more, all designed to help fabulous single people find their ‘lid’ (I love the notion that every pot has a lid). We all need support from time to time and I aim to do it on a big scale. I hope we continue to grow organically and you never know what is around the corner and what opportunities will come my way, it’s so exciting!