Therese “Tee” Forton-Barnes and Lisa Brydges, owners of Matchmaking 2 a Tee, a dating service founded in Buffalo, have made some adjustments to their matchmaking strategy in light of the current pandemic. Instead of orchestrating in-person dates at cafés, restaurants, etc., the owners are now utilizing a new social medium – virtual online video.
“We saw the need for people to communicate and they were craving companionship. So many people are home alone and looking for something to do. We have been getting a great response and excellent results. We think this is one way that old fashioned ‘courtship’ will be coming back,” explained Forton-Barnes.
“We want to help people connect and communicate in a new way when it comes to dating,” added Brydges.
Upon learning of these technical transitions, I decided to ask Forton-Barnes, a longtime friend, a few questions about the service.
When did you launch Matchmaking 2 a Tee?
We started it January 2018
We are opposite of every other site out there. We are an upscale off-line matchmaking business. Unlike online dating we work with our clients one on one based on their preferences. We really get to know our clients very well and understand exactly what they are looking for.
Who is your target audience… other than just being single?
Our primary target audience is 30 to 70 year olds that are working professionals that are serious about wanting a relationship and not just a ‘hook up’.
Is this a national service?
We primarily work with people in Western New York but have relationships with Matchmaking companies all over the world in case we need to search outside Buffalo.
You’re married to a guy that loosely resembles Tom Selleck. Is there hope for single women to find their own dreamy catch?
Tom Selleck haha… Yes, we work with many people in different professional fields and a variety of backgrounds. Lisa and I also come from different parts of the city and we have a wide range of people that we know.
We launched the online dating just two weeks ago. We have been using Zoom for a long time and scheduling conferences and meetings on it all the time and thought why can’t we just do this for dating as well? It’s been working out so well that I think we’re going to continue offering this down the road. It’s a great first way to get to know somebody and whether you like them or not and if you want to continue on to the second date. It saves everybody a lot of time and money! It also gives them a one on one and no interruptions since they are not out somewhere and other people cannot talk to them.
How has the response been to the new video component?
The response has been incredible. At first people are a little nervous because they feel like they are on TV but we work with them and help them to feel comfortable. We schedule a pre-meeting prior to the Zoom meeting so we know that their lighting is OK and that they look good.
We are absolutely going to continue using the video feature and offer it a lot more if our clients are up for it. We are sometimes on the beginning part of the call and doing the introduction to help break the ice and get them to feel comfortable on camera. After the first online date (which lasts a half hour) we talk to both of them to see if they would like to go on a second date. If they do, we give their cell phone numbers to each other. At this point they then continue on dating on their own but we are always here for them if needed.
We also are offering virtual experiences such as tour of museums, virtual trips to different cities, parks, zoos where they can virtually walk around. They can also take virtual trips to different cities such as Key West, New Orleans, and Nashville.
For more information, visit their website at www.matchmaking2atee.com