Photo: grey and Farrar
Billionaires and millionaires pay Virginia Sweetingham between $24,000 and $93,000 to find love.Sweetingham’s business, a exclusive matchmaking operation in London, has been in action for 23 years and caters to wealthy clients who “want to meet new people, enter new social circles in a dignified way,” the founder told Bloomberg.
grey and Farrar International vets suitable partners for 1,500 rich clients who are ready to commit are looking for loyalty.
Understandably, it is “the pressure of work [that’s] the top barrier for them in finding a partner… These are people whose lives consist of departure lounges, private planes and hotel rooms,” Sweetingham said.
And the single mum of four, who started the business after her husband left and she was broke, has absolutely no time for anyone looking for a casual fling.
“There are many multimillionaires who come to us, flashing the cash to buy whatever they want. We don’t cater to those with that system of core values. grey & Farrar is not about casual dating,” she told Bloomberg.
Here’s how the process works.
- First, new clients are screened in a preliminary interview. “Demographics” are discussed, as well as why any prior relationships ended in emotional disaster.
- For those who can’t be in the office in person – and there are many an international financier or individuals soon-to-be-hooked-up-with an international financier who obviously live outside London – video conferences can be arranged.
- Then, if the client passes this initial phase, phase two begins, in which the man – whether the bullet or the target – makes the first call to organise the first date, which is always a dinner date.
- Then there’s a debriefing session in which Sweetingham and her daughter Claire conduct, essentially, a post-date review.
And here are some other interesting facts about playing Hitch to the world’s rich and richer:
- One of the strangest requests she’s had is from a man who had a “particular look in mind, right down to the precise length of her cheekbones.”
- The firm’s yield curve is 90%: “We successfully match two out of every three clients within one year… And about 10 per cent fail to end in marriage.”
- Sweetingham refuses to use a computer database so everything is done by hand and the men “get blue folders, the women pink.”
- Clients all have one thing in common – they want to be able to produce an heir or two. “They want to find a partner with whom they can create a legacy… Everyone wants a real legacy.”