- Amy Nobile founded Love, Amy in April 2019 to help people find love on dating apps after meeting who she calls “the love of her life” on Bumble post-divorce.
- Nobile conducts photoshoots for dating app profiles, holds sexting consultations, and “ghost banters” with clients’ matches.
- Less than a year in, Nobile has built a full-fledged business from word-of-mouth, transforming a side-hustle into a service that charges clients $US5,000 for three months.
- But Nobile insists she’s more “mirror” than matchmaker, helping clients first find love within before finding it in a partner.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The best way to make someone fall in love with you on a dating app is with a photo featuring a dog – even if that means borrowing your neighbour’s tiny Maltese.
On a recent Saturday afternoon in downtown Manhattan, a 30-something, Ivy League-educated consultant did just that, curling up on her couch, cuddling a toy dog as his owners cooed at him encouragingly.
Amy Nobile, a petite, fit, blonde in a red sweater, furiously snapped away on her iPhone in an attempt to capture the perfect photo to send send suitors swiping in the consultant’s favour.
Nobile charges $US5,000 to help people find love on dating apps. The 50-year-old founded the high-end dating concierge service Love, Amy in April 2019 after finding “the love of her life” on Bumble post-divorce. Based in New York City, her clients range in age from 25 to 75, and are of various genders and sexual orientations across the country.
I joined her and the consultant a week into their working relationship for the wardrobing and photoshoot included in Nobile’s three-month package. The consultant, whose name is not being published for professional reasons, posed in a black and tan wrap dress and jeans paired with a simple tee at various locations including Washington Square Park and a local café.
“It’s important the clothes make them feel good,” Nobile said. “It’s all about showing off their figure in a way that’s not too sexy.”
The only accessory missing was a dog.
“Dogs are a great conversation starter,” according to the dating concierge. Luckily, the consultant happened to cross paths with her neighbours during the shoot – and they were eager to lend their pup to the cause.
The power of manifestation
Some may call running into the tiny Maltese a coincidence, but Nobile would call it manifestation – the concept of making something happen with your thoughts and beliefs. Growing up outside of Detroit, Nobile said she began “manifesting from an early age.”
“When you look back, you can connect the dots,” she recalled. “During childhood, I loved to imitate people, I was the friend girlfriends would turn to for advice.”
A graduate of Albion College in Michigan, Nobile studied communications and ended up interning at NBC in New York City. That spawned a career in public relations, where she met her now-ex-husband. The couple relocated to San Francisco when Nobile was 26, where she navigated motherhood – she’s the mother of two teenagers – with best friend Trisha Ashworth, whom Nobile had met in an NYC acting class.
“I loved Amy immediately because I could tell she was authentic with no pretense,” Ashworth said. “She is super goofy and brings out the goof in me.”
The two began hosting Starbucks meetings with other mums to dive into the struggles of motherhood. From those conversations came three books the pair co-authored about empowering women and, eventually, a spot on Oprah’s couch. The duo, who also founded a jewellery company called Ash + Ames, penned a fourth book about reinvention after 40.
Nobile, by this point back in NYC, said she couldn’t write the final tome without taking a look at her own 20-year marriage. After realising she and her husband had grown apart, they decided to amicably separate. She then took on what she called a social experiment: making dating her job. Re-entering the dating world post-divorce, she said, “was like landing on Mars or learning Mandarin.”
“I’d heard of some of the apps, but the only resource I had were a few single girlfriends who had nothing but negative things to say about them,” Nobile said.
She cast her net wide and went on up to six dates a day until she met her current partner. Her friends, discouraged by dating apps and impressed by Nobile, asked for help. Nobile took over one of her friend’s profiles and, as she tells it, landed the friend more dates in a month than she’d gone on all year. Nobile transitioned her cupid side hustle into a full-time job within three months. And that’s how Love, Amy was born.
Finding a hole in the dating scene
On the kitchen counter of Nobile’s apartment – a luxury high-rise with picturesque views in Manhattan’s Financial District – sit eight iPads, one for each of her current clients.
Since her clients are located across the country, not needing to log in and out of separate dating app accounts lets her give clients undivided attention while also tricking location services. Nobile says she’s had 66 clients since launching her business 10 months ago, typically juggling seven at a time.
A number of those clients are members of the 40-plus crowd who are diving back into the dating world post-divorce and are sceptical of using technology to do so.
“It’s frustrating, time-consuming, and exhausting,” Sally, 52, said of trying dating apps after her marriage dissolved. When she first started working with Nobile, the dating expert took one look at Sally’s profile and told her, “You need better pictures.” And so Nobile marched over to Sally’s apartment with a stylist friend in tow.
“Amy made it manageable,” she said. “I wanted someone to just help me stay in the game.”
Nobile says she’s been surprised by the number of millennials, nearly 40% of her clients, who have prioritised their careers over finding a relationship and need a professional to help them flirt.
As the consultant explained to her neighbours as she scooped up their dog: “I like to outsource all aspects of my life.”
The art of ghost bantering
In the age of digital everything, Love, Amy is something of an exception. The business doesn’t have a Facebook page. It has an Instagram account, but its following isn’t very big – a mere 384 – and it’s mostly dedicated to reposting famous love quotes.
I first heard of Love, Amy the way most of her clients have, through word of mouth. I soon found myself in Nobile’s apartment listening in on a wrap-up call with a 33-year-old woman working in finance who, as Nobile told me in the pre-call debrief, had “found the one.”
“I never would have swiped on him – he was a little nerdy and I was vain,” said the 32-year-old. “I’d rather meet someone authentically, and you changed my mind on that.”
“It’s human nature to have a type,” Nobile responded. “I needed to nudge you … The turning point was when you became vulnerable.”
Between ongoing coaching and post-date analysis, Nobile spends at least four to six hours a day on the phone with her clients. She’s always on-call, even if the client is frantically texting mid-date from the bathroom.
Spending time with clients, whether in person or over a video call, helps Nobile get a better sense of their vibe and build a rapport. It also helps with what Nobile calls “ghost bantering” – impersonating clients on their dating apps.
It’s a process that draws on what she identified as an early knack for imitating other peoples’ voices and style of speaking, and one that helps draw clients, particularly some of Nobile’s shyer clients, out of their shells.
“I’m such an introvert,” said Sally, a writer. “Amy turned that around and made it an advantage. I don’t think of it as deception, because Amy helps you be true to yourself.”
As we spoke, Sally announced she was sitting next to her boyfriend of six months. She met him on Hinge with Nobile’s help.
Personal happiness, good energy, and self-care
“Finish this sentence: My best friends who really know me would say that my ‘dirty little secret’ is…”
It’s one of the 70-plus prompts on the seven-page intake form Nobile sends all clients after their initial meeting. The form is part of their homework, along with reading two books – “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor and “Manifesting Made Easy” by Jen Mazer – and taking a character strength survey.
It doesn’t just give Nobile an idea of a client’s personality, history, or the type of love they seek, but also allows her to see if they’re prioritising themselves. “You can only meet someone as deeply as you’ve met yourself,” said the dating concierge.
“You can only meet someone as deeply as you’ve met yourself.”
But not every singleton who applies gets accepted.
Nobile told me if she thinks a client is “blocked” – spiritually, physically, or mentally – she turns them away with tips on self-care and tells them to come back. Someone who feels emotionally stuck in the past might receive contacts for meditation, energy work, or therapy. Once they’re “clear and ready,” she puts together a dating strategy.
It’s not surprising coming from someone who describes herself as a bit “woo-woo” when it comes to her spirituality. Nobile, who meditates and does pilates daily, begins every morning blasting music and dancing around in her underwear, giving thanks for her life.
“As adults, we get so boxed into behaviours adults should have,” said the love guru. “I was given advice by a shaman once to look at life through the eyes of a child. When you’re a child there’s no restrictions.”
“The profile isn’t the person”
While Nobile found success by tapping into a niche market, she isn’t the only one to do so. Meredith Golden of SpoonMeetSpoon coaches customers on perfecting profiles and, like Nobile, impersonates them on the apps. Alyssa Dineen of Style My Profile helps style clients’ wardrobes and craft profiles.
April Davis of the traditional matchmaking service, Luma Search maintains that matchmakers like herself have an advantage because they actually get to meet the suitors in person. But, she said, there is a market need for online dating consultants. “Dating apps are a part-time job,” she said, and online dating concierges “are experts at communication and more efficient.”
As Nobile puts it, dating apps have “shifted the dynamic of dating in the way we begin relationships and the way the seeds are planted.”
Nearly 40% of heterosexual couples in 2020 met their partner online. Since 1980, when dating first hit screens, the percentage of couples meeting in person has decreased, with one exception: Those who met in a bar or restaurant.
“I’m the bridge that marries the technology with the energy and connection of a real relationship … it’s this chasm that people are missing,” Nobile said.
The toughest hurdle her clients grapple with is that the process is impersonal. Nobile said when it comes to online dating, chemistry often doesn’t ignite until you’re comfortable in the second or third date.
She admits that there’s a perception that online dating is less romantic because people think it’s inorganic. But, she noted, it’s all about infusing flirtation.
“We have to figure out a way to communicate our essence, charm, and warmth [online],” Nobile explained, adding that people often mistakenly feel as though they can only introduce flirting once the date is taken offline.
“I have supersmart clients – doctors, lawyers, CEOS – and when I really drill down in my third meeting with them, I find out they have a sixth sense of humour but they’re withholding that,” she said.
She recalled working with one client, a doctor, who communicated very formally over text and email. “The minute I entered her home, I figured out she had a kooky sense of humour. I infused that in her profile and bantering, and now she’s attracting guys who understand her humour.”
People are frustrated by technology, but they need it to succeed in love; that dichotomy is baffling to a lot of people.
Nobile described the relationship between romance and technology as a complicated one.
“The more technology proliferates, the lonelier people feel and the need and desperation for love grows,” she said. “People are frustrated by technology, but they need it to succeed in love; that dichotomy is baffling to a lot of people.”
More than a wingwoman
You may think Nobile is a modern-day matchmaker, or a “wingwoman” or “fairy dating godmother,” as some clients refer to her. But she’s quick to tell you differently.
“I’m more of a mirror, so people can take a look at who they are, who they want, and meet quality people.”
And if the instant success of Love, Amy says anything, it’s that she’s a savvy business woman. She landed early press in The New York Times, bringing in an initial wave of business. In 2020, Nobile said she will increase rates twice, though she refuses to comment on specifics regarding earnings.
No matter what, Nobile – who fondly discusses the breast cancer survivor she walked through her first intimate experience after reconstructive surgery and the man in a wheelchair who she’ll soon be working with – is adamant that the human touch can’t be lost as business expands. While she envisions eventually having ambassadors or a team, right now, she said, it has to be her.
“It takes a certain type of person,” Sally said. “Amy understands human nature in a way most people wouldn’t and she’s got the energy.”
After all, Nobile says, everyone is searching for a soul mate.
“At the end of the day, how many people are like ‘Oh, I had a crazy awesome career?'” she asked. “No, you’re ruminating on love.”
Nobile told me she has an 85% success rate in helping clients find someone special, which she defined as exclusively dating – and whether they have met that person or not, she’s given them tools to succeed on their own. It may sound like marketing hype, but everything I’ve heard from clients has screamed newly acquired confidence.
I accompanied Nobile to a check-in meeting with a 60-something female client re-entering the dating scene. While recapping recent dates and Bumble prospects, she reiterated, with a smile, “I’ve realised I’m really ready to meet someone.”
As for the consultant, she’s still looking for that special someone. Meanwhile, inspired by Nobile, I decided to try my hand at playing matchmaker. On a weeknight not long after my visit to Nobile’s apartment, I demanded that my roommate hand over her phone as she complained about her Hinge prospects. Within one week, I had set her up on three dates. She’s now been seeing one of those guys for three months, the longest she’s ever dated someone from an app.
The icebreaker I used to kick off their initial banter? It was inspired by no other than a photo of him and a dog – which, it turned out, he had borrowed from a coworker.