With a demanding work life and high-reaching career goals, what’s a single girl going to do?
Dominique Clark has worked in the fast-paced professional world and seen the desire for companionship amidst her co-workers firsthand.
Clark, 28, decided three years ago to leave behind her career in medical research to solve the world’s greatest mystery – love. She launched D. Clark and Co., a matchmaking and dating coaching service based in Durham, turning a natural talent of hers into a full-time job.
“I was surrounded by all these successful professionals, who had achieved greatness in careers, but they all (struggled) at love,” Clark said. “We would discuss (relationships) in between meetings, talk about our love life, and everyone was hoping to find that special someone.”
With those friends, she began dabbling with the idea of matchmaking, and a co-worker suggested she pursue it further.
In the beginning, Clark, the researcher at heart, avidly studied psychology textbooks, matchmaking books and asked family members about her strengths. Her favorite resource is the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.
Clark initially invested about $7,000 in the business that has more than 15,000 followers on Facebook.
About a third of that went toward a certification class through a New York City-based matchmaking institute that enrolled her into an international network of matchmakers and coaches, while other costs came from traveling, a website and research to set up a successful business.
Clark’s pricing ranges from $30 for a goal-setting session to a 12-month coaching program complete with a wardrobe makeover and photo shoot that hits $12,000. She also offers an online dating package that caters to that best first Internet impression by styling and doing a photo shoot with a stylist and photographer who subcontract with her.
Her clientele ranges from ages 30 to 60 and comes from all nationalities and religious backgrounds. Clark focuses on five to seven matchmaking clients at a time, but had 10 coaching clients and six online dating clients at the time of the interview.
She’ll meet people to match with her clients through family, friends, social events, social media – and even the grocery store.
“LinkedIn is a big resource,” she said. “I work with a lot of professionals.”
Before anything else, Clark has clients list their dating and relationship goals, whether they’re coming for dating advice or looking to meet new people after a divorce.
“Coaching is more so preparing them to be matched and giving them the tools to give them success while dating and having a successful relationship,” Clark said. “They don’t see the blind spot that’s holding them back … (or) … attracting the wrong person.”
One of her favorite success stories is of a woman who only wanted to date men more than 6 feet 3 inches tall. Clark found a perfect match for her, but he was actually shorter than she is. Despite that, they had an excellent first date and are still together because his character, personality and core motives were compatible.
“A lot of women have a particular type,” Clark said. “That limits them. I like to open people up a little bit.”
Advice from Dominique Clark
▪ Research your industry.
▪ Make sure you have money to get through initial costs.
▪ Have a team that shares your vision. It’s difficult to do it alone.