The A-Lister’s Cupid
Remember Zach Efron trying to get a date on Tinder? The poor guy hardly got any “right swipes” because, let’s face it, why would he even be on Tinder? Well, he was and it proved that the dating game for the rich and famous is even harder than it is for “the regular folk.” Enter Ivy International, a fast-growing and global matchmaking agency. At the helm of the operation is Inga Verbeeck. Her relentless entrepreneurial drive and ambition has put Ivy International in a leading position in the industry, in no time.
“There isn’t a single key to our success. It’s a combination of things, but one of the biggest factors is our deep and personal understanding of our clients and an ability to perceive their lives from their perspective. This is of vital importance, because you really have to understand their world. They can’t create a profile on Match.com or OK Cupid. It will only lead to disappointment. Potential matches won’t believe it’s actually them and if they do, they’re only after their own 15 minutes of fame.” – Says Inga Verbeeck.
HBM: Inga, can you give us an idea of who your clients are?
Verbeeck: “Our portfolio varies from well-known actors to wealthy entrepreneurs, musicians to CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies and baronesses, a clientele that wants their personal lives to remain private and find a match in a discreet way. A very diverse clientele too, yet all have 2 things in common: they’re open to finding their match but want to do so in a discreet way and want someone they can consider an equal.”
HBM: Why are people, that should have it easier because of their success and status, having a hard time finding love?
Verbeeck: “First: they’re busy. Running their business, going from set to set and so on. When you enter the dating-game you need to invest time and that is the one commodity our clients do not have in abundance. It can take years for them to find a kindred spirit and often they do, but it just took them very long to do so. We want to make that time shorter and make sure they are happy with their partner for as long as possible. Wealthy men and women also come across a lot of individuals that are only after their money. The infamous “gold digger” is definitely real and they might sometimes provide a moment of fun, but always leave a hole, in the heart and often also financially.”
HBM: How does the process with Ivy International work? Let’s say I want to sign up, what happens next?
Verbeeck: “We will take our time to get to know you. It is an organic process One of our experts comes to meet you in person. We want to know what drives you, what your passions are, what makes you tick, what makes you laugh, cry, really get to know you. Simply find out who you are, and coach you if needed. We use all this information to create a profile and at that point the pawns start moving and we go through our entire network to find a match. This kind of personal service, also quickly justifies the fee we ask for our service and our clients understand that quality has a price and need little convincing. Finding a match is not a matter of days, so we do manage expectations from the initial conversation.
Our process is organic, where we deeply get to know the clients and where we will guide you on your path to personal happiness. Ultimately, it is about finding the right partner. We coach, give confidence where needed, engage in a coaching conversation about certain hurdles we need to overcome together, or simply helping our clients discover a new side of themselves and enable them to the best in others, when it comes to their personal lives. One profile presentation and introduction at a time, we confer, learn, direct and steer towards success. As we go on this exciting journey with them, we learn more about our clients and they learn more about themselves. Each path is different depending on where their mind and heart is, as well as their awareness. Each process is unique and is always completely tailored to the individual needs of the client.”
HBM: You used the word “coach”, what does that mean?
Verbeeck: “The matchmaker is the client’s personal guide throughout the entire process. Some of our clients have been separated, divorced or have been single for a long time. We’ll help them gain confidence if needed, give styling advice, basic do’s and don’ts for dating, cultural differences, and so on. Again, it’s all about the individual assessment and tailoring our service to each client’s individual needs.”
HBM: With your global network of bachelors, do you match people from different countries?
Verbeeck: “Oh absolutely that’s the core of our international presence. We have the ability to introduce people you will probably never come across in your daily life, because we have access to different networks, different circles in your own region and also far beyond. This provides opportunities and offers variation and options you might not have thought about. Life and love might become very enriching when we cross borders, in more than one sense! We’ve learned for example that Italian men prefer to not be matched with Italian women. They think they’ll be too demanding and give them a hard time. French women have a feeling that French men are not very loyal and want us to look elsewhere. In this day and age, it’s much easier to look beyond our own borders to find a match. Our clients already have a “global mindset” and are open to finding a match outside of their immediate geographical range. If both parties are equally invested, no matter which ocean is between them, the relationship will work.”
HBM: What do the wealthier men and women look for in their potential significant other? Is there something you see that is a trend, no matter where your client is from?
Verbeeck: “All women like a man with style. Whether that is a tailored suit, nice shoes and attention to detail in his outfits or a rugged style that suits with class. A strong man, a leader and a good sense of humor. Men should be men and masculinity within a gentleman is what women want! Women simply need to be able to look up to their man. Men look for a woman that is educated, intelligent and an inspiration. Financial equality too, however most men are in fact intimidated if she makes more than he does.”
HBM: What is the success-story you are most proud of?
Verbeeck: “We have a lot of amazing and beautiful stories, but some that prove to be challenging are often the most rewarding. A very successful French businessman came knocking in search of a new partner. He lived in Asia and had a very good, deep understanding of the world and that combined with his history with finance and women, was bound to be a challenging task and it really proved to be just that. We had four meetings with him and discussed all possibilities before he signed up. Hardly ever a smile, very critical and demanding that we were lost for a minute. Then walks in a new female client. We knew straight after our first meeting with her, she simply was the one for him. That feeling was based on details, rather than fundamentals as well as pure intuition. Sometimes you just know and we arranged everything for them to meet 3 weeks later. Two months after that first date we received a beautiful letter, with a poem from the man, citing about how he found the love of his life.
A second great story is from one of our very first clients. A super cool lady who rolls with all kinds of A-list celebrities, is very successful and loves what she does and knows plenty of people. Still, she decided to take us on board to help her find the right guy after a 20-year plus marriage and two lovely children. She was a wonderful client, open, and explorative. We really enjoyed the social journey and letting the dice roll. After 8 months, we introduced her to a business man who was not entirely within her scope, but we convinced her to give him a chance, to look through the obvious and challenged her to find out what and who was at the core. She had a great time, restyled him and showed him her world which became an adventure for him and a joy for her. They are now happily married and the last time I caught up with them, I was greeted by a man in a tom Ford suit who just blew me away, in their Parisian loft away from the industrial grounds he has always been at.”
HBM: Where do you see the business evolving in the next 2 years? What is on the horizon for Ivy International?
Verbeeck: “Our first goal is to reach 5000 clients. It will allow us to do an even better job, because we’ll have larger base of men and women available. We want to grow geographically as well as in quantity. Yet we want to further improve customer service, while we do so as our goal is to work holistically around the world. We might even raise prices in order to include several basic, additional services because we need the best consultants only and the best quality team – the whole team is key. We will simply be the best personal-life-service company on the planet. We already are the most international one, yet that will only increase. We want to feel that we are actually creating a better world by making influential people happier in their personal live so they can spread some love around.”
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