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Playing Cupid

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 - 7:40am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Want to be the one who gets people their 'happily ever after'? Then setting up a matchmaking agency might be a suitable option for you. Prachi Rege talks to professionals in the business

They say 'love hurts', and walking down the aisle is not everyone's cup of tea. In our fast-paced lives one is left with little or no time to maintain a cordial relationship with friends and family, let alone develop a romantic affair. All warnings and time crunch aside living 'happily ever after' is on everybody's mind, and there are professionals, popularly known as the matchmaker, who help people in this pursuit.

With the changing dynamics of society, matchmaking has become a lucrative business to invest in. According to a study by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), India's online matrimony agencies will acquire a market size of Rs 1,500 crore by 2017 from Rs 520 crore at present. It is estimated that this will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 65 per cent in the next two years.

Matchmaking networks like Bharathmatrimony, Shaadi.com and Jeevansaathi.com have been in the business for a long time. However, they function a bit differently as compared to the new age personalised agencies. While the big players stick to segregrating profiles on filters like caste, creed and culture, new-age agencies are focusing on bringing together educated youngsters with common interests. This is because eligible youngsters are looking to start with friendship, translate it into dating and then enable it to mature into a marriage.

A matchmaker needs to be someone who understands the nuances of modern human relationhips and is skilled to handle other person's love life. "It is a career which deals with the most sacred and personal part of an individual's life. So one needs to be well skilled in human relations," explains Mandeep Kaur, who set up MatchmeCupid.com two years ago. Kaur, a Btech graduate, quit her marketing job and set up her own venture. "After thorough research I spotted this opportunity. Youngsters with good jobs and careers were confused souls when it came to finding the right life partner," says Kaur.

"Since you deal with people all the time, it is important for a matchmaker to be a non-judgemental person. My background in human resources helped me a lot," says Bangalore-based Nandini C Nawle, who runs a match making service called MarryGold. An HR professional for 18 years, Nawle quit her job in 2006 to set up her offline matrimony service. Nawle who has seen a success rate of almost 40 marriages in the last eight years further says that with business tricks and right kind of public relation skills to reach out the clientele, being a matchmaker can definitely be a productive career.

The job however, is not easy. "It is not only about introducing two individuals, but also making sure that the people and their expectations are genuine and realistic," says Kaur, who uses her knowledge of consumer behavior, learnt in her MBA class, to her benefit while dealing with erratic clients who have unrealistic expectations for a partner.

Unlike other businesses, in the personalised matchmaking space there are no targets set to achieve a certain number of marriages in a year. "It is more about getting the right kind of clients to sign-up and make sure they meet genuine people. Client feedback is vital. It helps you to grow into a good matchmaker," explains Nawle.

Check list for matchmakers
Don't get attached to the client
2) Be patient in case a client is dissatisfied with your service
3) Understand the psyche of the client
4) Identify a pattern in his/ her life if any
5) Be stern when a client turns unnecessaily erratic and impatient

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