After working on private jets for the likes of Sir Philip Green, Lexi Proud launched dating website ArrangeMeADate.com in January and is set for a £165,000 profit in year one.
How did you get the idea?
I had been a contestant on a TV show called ‘Arrange Me a Marriage’ and following that was jokingly asked by a friend why I wasn’t the matchmaker because I was setting people up so frequently. My business partner and I threw some ideas around and we finally decided to take the plunge and start our company.
What were the initial challenges?
Setting up the website was the most difficult part because dating websites have to be very comprehensive. One of our USPs is you can pay using your mobile phone so that system took some time to set up. We had about six months of trial and error with the design of the site before putting it live.
How is the service different to similar sites?
In addition to our traditional dating profiles, we have a one on one matchmaking service on hand with a team of experts ranging from psychologists to fashion stylists and dieticians to help members overcome any image concerns. We managed to get some high profile clients signed up, including England rugby players, footballers and actors.
How did you finance it?
We funded the venture purely with our own savings. When I first looked at setting up I saw it as very difficult to find financial help, but we’re now being approached by private investors and as we are expanding we’ll be entertaining this idea.
How did you market it?
We have found that it’s really important to get a strong PR company on board. We had two before and they failed miserably. We also use Google and Facebook adverts, and networking has been vital to us. You never know when you’re out at events what someone can do to help you.