Matchmaking is one of those jobs you just kind of fall into.
There’s no college courses teaching the secrets of love, no training on how to put two people in a room and guarantee they won’t hate each other.
You either get it or you don’t. And if you get it, people tend to be pretty interested in how you work your magic.
That was what Kristina Lynn discovered when she returned to her hometown of Harrisburg this June after years working as a matchmaker in the Los Angeles area.
She hadn’t intended to do matchmaking in the midstate: She moved back to be closer to her parents. But after hearing from friend after friend about how much they wanted a service like hers locally, the longtime entrepreneur saw an opportunity to use her expertise in a new market.
Lynn launched Matchmaking Harrisburg at the start of the year after several months of building up a database and making sure the local demand matched what she was hearing from friends. She is also working on a coaching program to help female professionals be their own matchmakers and runs FinalMatch.com, a database of singles used by professional matchmakers.
Here’s what she had to say about bringing the skills she honed in California back to the midstate.
What exactly does a matchmaker do?
Lynn’s industry essentially operates on two assumptions: people are often too busy to meet other people, and they abhor online dating.
She helps clients get around those issues by doing all the heavy lifting, including sorting through dating profiles and setting up that first face-to-face date.
Lynn offers several tiers of service depending on the client’s needs, ranging from about $450 – the amount, Lynn said, people usually spend on regular online dating services – to be added to a matchmaking database, up to $20,000 for executive-level searches that necessitate casting a wider net to meet the client’s criteria.
“Successful people are used to hiring an accountant if they have a tax issue. They’re used to hiring an attorney if they have a legal issue,” Lynn said. Why, she said, wouldn’t they consider hiring a professional for dating services?
Clients work with Lynn one-on-one to establish what they do and do not want in a partner. That means both parties have a good idea what to expect by the time she schedules the first date, usually at somewhere the aspiring couple can enjoy drinks and appetizers.
After that first meeting, she asks how the date went. If the clients are interested in a second date, she helps them get in contact with each other.
And if they’re not?
“That’s OK. On to the next one,” Lynn said. She can use the feedback to set up more successful matches in the future.
What has it been like coming back to Harrisburg after working in California for so long?
Lynn misses wheatgrass juice, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but she appreciates the opportunity to connect with old friends here and raise her children – an infant and a teen – in a “more wholesome” environment.
Lynn, maiden name Eisenacher, graduated from Central Dauphin High School in 1992. That means she’s experiencing her first Pennsylvania winter since she left the state for sunny California after the 1993 blizzard.
The region, albeit colder, is ripe for a matchmaker to set up shop here, she said. Although several companies already provide similar services in the midstate, the demand is high enough that Lynn feels she can offer something people want.
When she moved to California, she noticed people had an easier time building relationships, socially and romantically, than they did in her hometown. Those networks might have been easier to build there, she theorizes, because many people bonded over moving to the state from other areas.
“I didn’t really have an intention of doing matchmaking in Harrisburg. However, everywhere that I would go, people would ask me what I would do, and as soon as I did, they would tell me how much they don’t like online dating,” she said.
“I realized there was a need in this area for something more.”
What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur in this industry?
“I think that when you do something that you really love, that you get excited about, that’s how you’re going to be successful,” Lynn said. “And I really love love. I love people. I love matchmaking. And there’s nothing that I like doing more than that. It really makes me personally happy.”