Running the fine dining club for single professionals was not a business that I had ever seen myself running or indeed being involved in. Originally from Belfast, I had been living and studying in London for nearly 20 years when I lost my job with Lehman Brothers.
Looking back I realise now that it was in fact one of the best things to ever happen to me. It can take a life changing event to make you take stock and a lack of employment to make you start your own business!
I came back to Belfast and arranged a dinner party for some friends and friends of friends in March 2009. The idea was to get a bunch of single like minded, professionals together, have some fun and ideally meet some new people. We had such a good night that word soon spread by word of mouth. My phone would ring and strangers would ask “are you the girl who arranges dinner parties?”. What was meant to be a one off event suddenly became a monthly occurrence.
It was only after doing it for over two years that I realised this could become a business. There is a dating market and need in Belfast that is not being catered too. Especially in the economic downturn people are looking to have fun out of work. Romance is always in demand.
As I too have worked in a busy professional environment it gives me a great insight into my clients. I have been there myself. All of the people I meet are busy, socialable, intelligent people, who tend to be a time poor.
They may well meet lots of people via their work and often do. But you can’t go around asking your clients out to dinner or finding out if the customer you rather like is single!
I aim to bring a professional attitude to our clients. I spent nearly 15 years working in two major US Investment Bank, where you cannot and do not discuss clients and what services we are providing for them. We do the same at The Fine Dining Club.
We are very discrete. I do not and will not confirm who our clients are. We ask all our clients to respect everyone’s privacy. We have some very high profile and well known members. We have people from the business community, the media, politics, law and medical professions.
We are five years down the line and we are celebrating the fact that we have arranged literally thousands of dates, hundreds of people in long term relationships (over 6 months) because of us. We have dozens of people living together. We have also have three weddings and three babies. So we must be doing something right!
Why not come and join us?