Interview with Trudy Gilbert
Interviewer: Interview with Trudy Gilbert, Founder and Director of Dating or Matchmaking Agency Elite Introductions. January 22nd, 2020.
Happy New Year Trudy.
Trudy: Happy New Year to you.
Interviewer: So Trudy…Matchmaker? Isn’t that a little Fiddler On The Roof for 2020?
Trudy: (laughs) Yeah it is so old school isn’t it. Well move over vinyl records, you’re not the only retro comeback. Yeah it’s pretty amazing but the inquiries to Elite Introductions are actually increasing year on year.
Interviewer: Why do you think that is?
Trudy: Oh God. Tons of reasons… People are just getting busier and they can’t seem to make the time for it. Others are killing it in their career and business but don’t feel like they’re killing it in this important part of their lives… and professionals… you know successful people use leverage. They have a financial advisor, a personal trainer, a cleaner, a lawyer… you know they outsource. Why not have an expert help you find love and a life partner. It just makes sense to a lot of people.
Interviewer: I personally couldn’t imagine doing it.
Trudy: That’s fine, it’s not for everyone. Are you in a relationship?
Interviewer: I’m single.
Trudy: Next question. (laughs)
Interviewer: Yeah fair enough.
But what about the apps? They must’ve put a dent in your business?
Trudy: Oh yeah in the early days we were worried to be honest. We even went down the app road ourselves trying to get out in front of it. But when we saw the different culture we just felt we didn’t want to be part of that. So in the past few years we’ve just made a much more personal service. It’s a real partnership now between us and the members. We work together for a common cause.
Interviewer: So what do I get from an expensive matchmaker that I can’t get from a free app.
Trudy: Results! Next question.
Interviewer: No seriously…
Trudy: I’m dead serious. I receive calls every day from people who just can’t do apps anymore. They’ve wasted so much time and energy for horrendous results and they’re just over it. One of my members went on over 150 first dates before she joined us. And she’s a beautiful highly intelligent lawyer who runs a firm in the city. If she can’t make it work then what chance does anyone really have with apps connecting random people? There is a movement back to a personal experience where someone can vouch for you and the other person. Many of the important questions have been answered. Every client is looking for a serious long term relationship for a start. Do you know what the percentage of people on apps doing that?
Interviewer: Probably pretty low.
Trudy: 4%! And that stat is from an actual dating app. No need to mention which one but hello? Plus our clients’ average income is over 250k which is less than 3% of the working population. Do the maths of those two stats. It’s like one in a thousand chance. That’s before they’ve even been vetted. If you know the numbers and you’re serious, you get a matchmaker.
Interviewer: But how can you know who’s right for me? How can you know if she’s my type?
Trudy: Ummm I ask you? You know we talk like human beings.
Interviewer: Yeah but it’s hard to describe, how can you know?
Trudy: We talk, I figure out who you are, where you’re at, what makes you tick. I get a sense of your interests, values, energy levels. Then you tell me what you want in a partner, age, looks, relationship history, do they have kids? How old? Do you want kids? What you want your future to look like? What does your present look like? Then we assess all those things in your potential matches and put you in the same pond. So now you’ve moved from one in a thousand or more like one in 10,000 with your criteria and I put you in a 1 in 10 situation. If you don’t think that’s worth paying for then you’re not our market.
Interviewer: Oh right so who is your market? Anyone with the cash?
Trudy: You’re a feisty one aren’t you. We actually have a very strict criteria.
Interviewer: Do you really turn people away?
Trudy: Constantly. Other’s we really want because we get a sense that someone is amazing from our chats and interviews and we get very confident that the process would be good for them. Also we generally already have people in mind to match them with before we even start.
Interviewer: Who would you really say no to?
Trudy: Oh God. All types for all kinds of reasons. Obvious stuff around our policies; no smokers, no one who isn’t an executive, professional or successful business owner. But then it’s about who they are and whether I get a good feeling about them…
Interviewer: It’s the vibe.
Trudy: Yeah its Mabo. (laughs) I guess in a way, I’m their first date at Elite Introductions, man or woman. I’m looking for the right qualities; respect, intelligence, positivity, flexibility. If I don’t feel those things then we don’t move forward. If you’re negative and arrogant, your $10 million bank account won’t get you a membership… ever.
Trudy: Oh for sure. Why waste time with them? I’ve been doing this for 14 years and there’re too many amazing people who are perfect for the agency to worry about those types.
Interviewer: So are the people hot? I mean do good looking people really need a matchmaker.
Trudy: (laughs) You’re hilarious. No they don’t need a matchmaker to get laid but a life partner? You bet. Our members are at the gym 3+ times a week, they’re well dressed and groomed. What any single person finds hot is subjective but our members are very attractive.
Interviewer: I read that you have and have had celebrities including models, actors, TV Presenters, sports stars on your books. Why the hell would they need a matchmaker?
Trudy: Are you serious?
Interviewer: They can get anyone.
Trudy: Life is much more complicated than that Simon. Think about it. They sure as hell can’t go on the apps. They can’t even put themselves out there in their community for fear of ending up in the papers. They need a strictly confidential environment where they are going to get put in front of the right people that are there for the right reasons. And people who are not intimidated by people’s public status. If you’re in the public eye but want to keep this part of your life private, then I’m the only call they make.
Interviewer: How confidential is confidential? Can’t I get any goss?
Trudy: No Simon you can’t.
Interviewer: Come on Trudy give me something.
Trudy: (laughs) Put it this way, we have ex husbands and wives on the books at the same time and neither know the other one is with us. We have some of the most well known people in the country. We have the ex partner of one of the most famous Australians in modern history on the books. They come to me for a reason and that’s to make sure journalists don’t find out from me who they are.
Interviewer: Ok you’re turning me. I’m on the rebound. Can you help me get back on track?
Trudy: Awww. That’s tough. That’s actually one of our personal criteria. I just had an absolute sweetheart call me so very keen to get started with us. Then she tells me this story about how her husband left her for her friend about 6 months before. She had just run into him by chance the day before and spent the day in tears. I knew this woman for 10 minutes and I was just heartbroken for her and so wanted to help her. But I told her she was another 6-12 months at least from being in a place where she should even consider something like this. It wouldn’t be fair on her or the members I matched her with. We chatted for a while. I made sure she had a good support group around her with friends and professionals. We’ll keep in touch but she’s just not ready to look for another long term relationship. I have to think of everyone when I make those calls. It can be tough.
Interviewer: Is it worth it?
Trudy: Oh absolutely. I just love what I do. When my members get matched and are happy I’m just over the moon. You know the cow bell that salesman ring in the office in the movies when they make a sale? We want one of those in the office to ring every time we get a successful match or when they get married or have kids. It’s just amazing. I feel like cupid. It’s the best.
Interviewer: Thank you Trudy
Trudy: My pleasure. Thank you.