A Petworth matchmaker reveals how when it comes to dating the old ways are always the best.
There seems to be a shift occurring in the dating world.
Where once it was about meeting people at bars and clubs, in recent years many have taken to the virtual world using websites like Plenty of Fish, Match.com or apps such as Tinder.
But it seems that things are changing as more and more people step away from their phones and instead are going back to basics.
“I suppose what I am doing is the more old fashioned matchmaking, heading out and finding people,” explains Kerensa Robertson, founder of The Casting a headhunting matchmaking service based in Petworth.
Working mainly with professional men the process starts when they contact Kerensa. She then visits them in their home to get a better understanding of their likes and dislikes by talking to them through an in depth interview.
I found that men were finding it hard to find people to date
Once she has an idea of what they are looking for she will consider if they would be best suited to one of the introduction agencies she works with as a freelancer, if not she will work with them herself.
This sometimes takes the form of putting out advertisements and then interviewing those that apply.
“I suppose what I do is like a casting,” she smiles.
“I have held events in the past, where I can vet more people in one go. It is about finding that special person for someone.”
Before starting the business 18 months ago Kerensa worked in TV, as a journalist and in PR.
“I found that men were finding it hard to find people to date,” she says.
“They didn’t always want to date women in high powered jobs, many want someone who works in a more of a caring profession such as a teacher or nurse.
“Many of the people I work with don’t have time to date online or have done it and had a bad experience so want to put their trust in someone else who they know will vet and help them find someone.
“Some I will suggest they go to people like Ivy International Matchmaking but others I will work with myself.”
Kerensa also uses other traditional methods.
“I will go up to people in the street if they have the look I’m going for,” she smiles.
“I have gone up to women in the street to ask if they are single.
“I do get some funny looks from people but I am a mum to daughters and of an age so when I go and ask them and tell them I am a matchmaker by giving them my card they do tend to relax.
“I am not on the hard sell so I give them my number and then wait for them to contact me.”
Once she has found a match Kerensa will give the man the number and suggest he get in touch and then arrange to go on a first date relatively quickly.
After the initial meeting Kerensa finds out how it went and then goes very much in the background.
“I sometimes find people from one ad or they go out on a date with someone and it doesn’t quite work out and then a few months down the line I may find someone else who I think they could be matched with and I’ll get in touch again,” she says.
Any feedback is then filtered back to both parties no matter how honest.
“A lot of the people I work with are high powered they aren’t used to people saying no to them,” she reveals.
“In the past I have suggested they go to see a stylist or a dating coach or even sometimes I have told them they need to get their teeth sorted.
“It can be hard but if they trust me I want to help them and get them the best they can.”
Kerensa’s client base has a wide demographic with men in their late 20s up to those in their 70s, some she comments haven’t dated much at all, while others are coming our of long term relationships and are back on the dating scene after a number of years.
With many of us seemingly fascinated with dating and the rising popularity of shows like First Dates and Millionaire Matchmaker, Kerensa admits she is also hooked.
“I can’t help but watch dating programmes,” she laughs.
“I love First Dates I really do, but I suppose what I do is more like Millionaire Matchmaker but as it is American it does feel very different and a bit over the top.”
Working currently with five clients Kerensa’s theory on dating is simple.
“It is about being ready, in the right place with the right person,” she says.
“Some people will get in touch with me but they won’t be ready to date yet so they take a few months before they follow up and have the interview, it can be a daunting experience.”
But thankfully for those looking for love Kerensa is on hand.
Services are from £15,000 up to £250,000. For more information on The Casting, visit www.thecasting.co.uk