Interview with Cinqe Matchmaking VP of Operations

Launched in 2011, Cinqe Matchmaking has been servicing clients as a boutique matchmaking firm all around the world. With operations in the US, Canada, Europe and the UAE, Cinqe Matchmaking is one of the most global operations we’ve seen in this space. Today, Matt Seymour got a chance to interview Annie Garmendia, a Partner and the VP of Operations for the company.

To learn more about Cinqe’s services, please visit the company’s website.

Matt Seymour:

Hey everyone, this is Matt from Healthy Framework. Today, I’m super excited to be joined by Annie Garmendia, partner, VP of operations, and matchmaker for Cinqe Matchmaking. Annie, thank you so much for joining today.

Annie Garmendia:

Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to do this.

Matt Seymour:

Absolutely. Let’s jump right into it. Can you tell me, first off, what separates Cinqe from the rest of the matchmaking services that are out there?

Annie Garmendia:

Yeah, that’s a great question. When it comes to matchmaking, there’s all different types of matchmaking businesses. What sets us apart is that all of our matchmakers have had their own matchmaking company. They were, typically, doing it by themselves, so we decided, you know what would be cool, to have a matchmaking agency that we’re all, obviously, very passionate about it, and make it a collaborative effort. I know matchmakers tend to do that with other matchmakers, but they never actually merge. We have merged all of our companies into one. That really gives us an advantage when it comes to working with our clients, because, first of all, we’re extremely passionate about this. Our clients don’t get passed down to matchmakers that are, essentially, just clocking in and out. And because we are so passionate about this, we have many different platforms. Some of our matchmakers have their own podcast. Some are very out there with their Instagram, and very dedicated to promoting a message., and so it really extends our network. That is, I would say, the main reason. We’re all rock stars in our industry. And now, we’re collaborating together.

Matt Seymour:

Yeah. No, I love that. I’ve done quite a few of these interviews, and it’s a unique approach, but I really like how you guys are taking the best of what you guys have learned, and pulling it together. Excellent.

Annie Garmendia:

It works.

Matt Seymour:

Yeah. Moving along, how would you describe the ideal customer that Cinqe is designed for?

Annie Garmendia:

Yeah, that’s a great question as well. Our main clients, typically, tend to be successful professionals who value their time, and are used to outsourcing. Most of our clients, if they don’t have time to cook, they’ve hired somebody to take that part of their life away, so that they can focus in business. It’s typically people who value their time, and understand how time-consuming it is to do it on their own.

Matt Seymour:

Yeah, that makes sense. From, again, some of the other interviews and things, and even talking with readers on our side, it makes sense that they just don’t have time. And you guys can help take out some of that initial footwork for them there. Excellent.

Annie Garmendia:

That is exactly it.

Matt Seymour:

I know something that folks ask us pretty regularly, and I’ll be intrigued to see your answer here, is hiring a personalized matchmaker is more expensive than a traditional dating app. How would you rationalize the cost of someone who might be concerned about the higher price tag?

Annie Garmendia:

Yeah. When you hire a matchmaker, you’re essentially hiring somebody to work for you. And when we take on clients, there’s no clocking in and out. We are available 24 hours, seven days a week, whenever our clients need us. It is more expensive, because you are, essentially, hiring a personal assistant, but for your love life. And what that also means is that you’re also investing into yourself, right? When you are doing your online dating by yourself, time equates to money. And also, I could argue, if you’re not doing the vetting process, if you’re just going on blind dates, you’re spending a lot of money on dates that you don’t even want to go on. It is the equivalent of, like I mentioned, hiring a personal assistant, but also, it’s part of the self-development.

Matt Seymour:

Yeah. That’s a great explanation with it. And I think it’s just… It’s so easy, maybe, for somebody that’s using an app, let’s say, for free, to say, “[inaudible 00:03:57] This is free.” But ultimately, again, to your point, if they’re used to outsourcing things, they probably get it easier, overall, in terms of [inaudible 00:04:05].

Annie Garmendia:

Yes. They’re spending a lot of money, which translates to time, or time translates to money. They’re spending a lot of time looking for these searches, these matches, I should say, and coming up short. Hiring a matchmaker, yes, it’s expensive, but you’re going to get what you paid for.

Matt Seymour:

Yeah. No. That makes perfect sense to me, at least. Changing gears a little bit, would you say, are there any drawbacks to using a matchmaker that people should be aware of?

Annie Garmendia:

Yes. Absolutely. I think that there are drawbacks, and it really is down to the company. Not every company is fit for everybody. I really encourage people that tell me that they’re talking to various matchmakers, I always say, you have to research the company and, especially, ask what is their process, and how do they find matches. Because the secret to a good matchmaking agency is their network. If they are a solo matchmaker, who’s recently just started, and is more localized, then you can expect those sorts of matches, right? Very local, sort of new, she’s starting to go out there, so she might not have as many matches. That has to be taken into consideration. And that is, unfortunately, a drawback in our industry.

Matt Seymour:

Yeah, that makes sense. And that’s a great segue into my next question, which is, would you say, is there anything unique about the way that you might find matches for someone?

Annie Garmendia:

Yes. Yes. We have an incredible network, and the reason why we have such an incredible network is because of what I mentioned earlier. All of our matchmakers are extremely passionate about this. They do this day in, day out, the minute that they wake up, to the minute they go to sleep. And they’re promoting themselves as matchmakers 24/7. We get a lot of people coming into our network, but our secret recipe is being able to go outside of the network, because there’s no cookie cutter when it comes to matches. Maybe we have a handful of them, but that is not enough to, really, give high quality service, so we have to go outside of our network, and that’s really where we shine.

Matt Seymour:

Excellent. Excellent. This next question I’ve enjoyed seeing responses to, and it’s been all across the board overall, but have you struggled before, to find an ideal match for a client? And if so, what’s your process when this happens?

Annie Garmendia:

Yes, yes. Absolutely. That is something that we will encounter from time to time. We have found that when we are struggling to find matches for someone, it’s not because of the matches, it typically tends to be either a fear of rejection, or they’re projecting their path forward. They’re terrified to go on a first date, and so they’re passing on matches, or getting really picky about what they’re looking for, but their underlying problem is typically fear of rejection. All of our matchmakers were, or are, still, at some point, dating coaches. We have a great team of people that can recognize that. And then, we have those conversations with our clients. Sometimes, it’s subconscious. Sometimes, they don’t realize that that’s what the problem is. Yeah, of course. We encounter that, but we have an incredible team that is able to deal with that, and have those hard conversations with our clients.

Matt Seymour:

Yeah. Excellent. It’s a good honest answer. Anybody that says they’ve never struggled, and I definitely am like, “Have you really?”

Annie Garmendia:

No. There’s struggle everywhere, but you have to understand where it’s coming from.

Matt Seymour:

Yeah, that makes sense. Great answer. Changing it again, a little bit, would you say, are there any misconceptions about matchmakers that you’d like people to better understand?

Annie Garmendia:

Yes, yes. There is a misconception that we can guarantee love for people, that this is going to absolutely, 100% be the thing that solves all of your issues and your love life. And that’s simply just not true. Our job is, really, to guarantee quality matches and set up the dates, but our clients… And I always joke about this, we have the easy part of the deal. You have to do the hard work, and that means being vulnerable, courting someone, being emotionally available, being really open to pursue that relationship. Yeah. Absolutely. That’s part of it.

Matt Seymour:

Yeah. No, that makes perfect sense. They’re in great feedback with it, then… You guys aren’t in its [inaudible 00:08:48], it’s not pay money.

Annie Garmendia:

No. We’re not cupids, and we can’t guarantee. And you know what? That’s something that I always say to people. I’m like, “Look, I cannot guarantee chemistry. I cannot. Of course, I would love to, but this is a solid person. It hits all of the requirements that you’re looking for.” And it goes both ways. That’s also very important, that it’s a two-way street, that they’re both looking for each other. But sometimes, people get on a date, they get nervous, they say weird things, or they read too much into behavior, or someone’s late, and that turns them off. And it could be the smallest things, like, “I didn’t like the way that he held his glass.” And you’re like, “Oh, okay.” Then that’s chemistry. Those things also have to align. And sometimes, the best matches that I have done are people that I’m like, “I’m not sure… None of the requirements are there, but they’re incredible.” And then, they go, and they’re getting married in a couple of months after. That’s chemistry. We can’t guarantee that.

Matt Seymour:

Yeah. That makes total sense. Excellent. This next one’s a fun one, and definitely not looking for any sort of secret sauce or anything behind the curtain, but just a little look, maybe, behind. Are there any metrics that you’re able to share with us, things, perhaps, like how long it takes on average to find a match, success rates, number of clients, or just anything like that, in terms of metrics?

Annie Garmendia:

Yeah. Absolutely. And I love this question. And our metrics really vary from client to client. Ultimately, our metrics are based on introductions and the quality of introductions. Because we can’t, what’s the word that I’m looking for here, measure based on marriages, or love, because that part is a little out of our control. Sometimes, you see two people come together, and they’re perfect, and the chemistry is there, but one didn’t call the other, or whatever happened. That’s totally out of our control. How we measure success is, how many dates did this person go on? How many second dates, third dates, four dates? What happened? Were they dating a month, two months? It’s really based on the quality of introductions. That’s what we base it on.

Also as well, we ask our clients on the onboarding process, how do you define success whilst working with us? Because some of our clients, for them, they’ve just gotten out of a really dramatic or traumatic divorce, and they’re like, “I just want to go back into the dating scene, but I need somebody to talk this out with. I don’t want to go on a dating app. My ex could see me, and whatever that might do. I really need a safe space to just date.” Then of course, you have people that want to get married and have children, and build that part of their lives, so success really varies within our industry. But ultimately, our success and how we measure that is based on the quality of matches that we’re providing for our clients.

Matt Seymour:

Yeah. Excellent. That’s a very solid formula from my standpoint, for measuring. Excellent. To close us out, and this is always a fun one, do you have a favorite success story that you’d like to share?

Annie Garmendia:

So many. I have been doing this, as I shared with you earlier, for almost 13 years, and some of my favorite stories, or success stories that I’ve had… Of course, we’ve had marriages and babies. And we get invited to weddings, and all of that is great. But ultimately, for me, I think is seeing someone do a complete 180 in this process, and I shared earlier, that I really do equate matchmaking to a personal development program, because you are sharing this journey with us. And sometimes, we have to have really hard conversations with people, because they have blind spots. Seeing people transform, whether it’s more confident, whether it’s they found the person, whether it’s helping someone re-enter the dating scene after a traumatic divorce, we see these stories every day. And those are always my favorite, when you see transformation happen.

Matt Seymour:

Yeah. That makes sense. And I think we all have to, and you’ve touched on this a few times, take that look inside, right? It’s not just hire you, and you instantly find a fix. We often need to work on ourselves as well, as we work on the journey there. Excellent. Thank you so much-

Annie Garmendia:

Absolutely.

Matt Seymour:

… Annie, for taking the time to connect.

Annie Garmendia:

Yeah. Thank you.

Matt Seymour:

Really awesome getting to understand a little bit more about you, and Cinqe Matchmaking. And this is something, perhaps, we’ll do another series again in three or six months, so it’d be good to circle back, see if there are any latest, greatest updates across the team, but really appreciate you taking the time today, to connect.

Annie Garmendia:

Thank you for having me. That was fun.

Matt Seymour:

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you.