Cupid and COVID are a good match — at least judging by the robust business at Janis Spindel Serious Matchmaking Inc.
Since the outbreak began, its revenues have increased 20%, according to Janis Spindel, the company’s founder and president and the author of five books on matchmaking.
"Love is pandemic-proof," she said.
The Manhattan-based service, which is operating from Spindel’s Hamptons home during the health crisis, matches upscale, commitment-minded men with women who are typically blessed with beauty and brains, she said
Since its inception in 1993, the outfit has facilitated more than 4,000 marriages and more than 1,200 exclusive relationships, Spindel said. Currently, the business focuses on men aged 28 to 84 and women aged 25 to 75.
The firm has matched gay men since same-sex marriages were legalized, but such matches represent "a very small part of the business," Spindel said.
Fees for male clients can range from about $1,000 for a special Valentine's Day promotion to more than $1 million for a global quest, Spindel said.
In instances when the firm’s scouting expeditions and meetings on behalf of clients extends beyond New York, men also cover lodgings and first-class plane tickets for prospective out-of-state matches as well as for Spindel; her daughter, Carly Spindel, the firm’s vice president; and their assistants.
Classified as "members," women pay a one-time fee of $250 to $1,250, depending on whether they have a group or private interview with the Spindels.
The mother-daughter team handles the matchmaking, while Allen Spindel, Janis’ husband and Carly’s father, is the business manager and chief technology officer. The operation also involves two full-time assistants and, as the need arises, freelancers to help scout for matches.
Newsday spoke to Janis and Carly Spindel about their business, including how it has changed during the pandemic.
Who are your clients?
Janis Spindel: They’re captains of industry, celebrities, financiers and politicians. We have airtight NDA [nondisclosure agreement] contracts, so we rarely get invited to weddings.
Why would these men use a matchmaker?
Janis: Our clients are picky, private men who outsource 24/7 to people who are good at the things they do.
What’s behind your strong gains during the pandemic?
Carly Spindel: In May, to reduce the price barrier to entry, we introduced Flash Match, whose fees range from $5,000 for four introductions to $15,000 for 18 introductions. As a do-it-yourself online program with filters, it allows clients to choose a specific number of women from our database, but I oversee each match. A special Valentine’s Day promotion runs $1,000 for three introductions.
Janis: Just like after 9/11, people don’t want to be alone in a pandemic. They’re home, working, on the computer and lonely.
How many clients do you serve?
Janis: We take on 300 to 350 [male] clients annually but might work with only a handful of active clients at a time.
How has COVID changed your business?
Janis: Pre-COVID, Carly and I were out all the time — at benefits, polo matches and parties at private houses, the Oscar and Grammys — scouting for good-looking single women and men. I would also hand out 450 scouting cards a week, including at a dog park, but now it’s much less.
Carly: Before COVID, we traveled a week a month, including to LA and Miami, to meet the men, and while we were there, we sought great woman. Now, we’re getting a zillion phone calls and vetting people over Zoom instead of in person.
Have you added new criteria to your searches because of COVID?
Carly: Since everyone has a different level of comfort [about what they consider safe during the pandemic], matches obviously have to be COVID compatible.
What led you to start the firm?
Janis: I’ve always had a million single men friends, and in 1992, I set up 14 of my guy friends in an eight-month period, and turned it into a business.
Carly: Parties tend to write each other off too soon. So to encourage three dates, we say, "Three strikes and you’re out."