When Charlotte native Laurie Berzack opened her Jewish matchmaking service, Chai Expectations, in 2006, she quickly became a top draw in the business of love. As her matches-turned-marriages count rose, Berzack decided it was time to expand. Last fall she launched Carolinas Matchmaker, a service open to anyone seeking that special someone. She’s not cheap—her clients pay $7,500 and up—but her proven record explains why those searching will pay the big bucks. We caught up with the busy Berzack to talk dates and mates.
Why go old-school matchmaker in the tech-savvy days of online dating?Online dating isn’t for everyone. I keep a very small client base and when my clients come to me, I really listen to what they’re saying. I don’t show pictures or give last names. That way there’s no Googling before the first date. And they give it a really fair shot. Plus, I arrange everything. They just have to show up.
How do you pick that first match?I actually developed a software program called Matchmaker Select that I’ve licensed to other matchmakers. It drills down to the foundational things. So by the time I even sit down with someone, I already know if I have people for him or her.
What happens if even after all of that, the match doesn’t take? It’s nice because I can get feedback after a date and then give that feedback to the client. It can be the smallest thing. Once I had a woman who refused a second date because he didn’t walk her to her car after dinner.
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It seems like there are so many unspoken rules to dating sometimes.I also offer date coaching for $150 an hour for people. I work often with people who have gone through a divorce. If they’ve been married for a while, there are new rules now between texting and when to approach someone and even what to wear. It’s a different world.
And what about for you? Has it been difficult to adjust to moving outside of strictly Jewish clients?It’s really the same. Faith is still really important to who they want to marry. It wouldn’t make sense to introduce an agnostic to a weekly churchgoer. And I focus a lot on foundational elements like that. But sometimes people are ok with their lifestyles behind different. I tell everyone that whatever they’re looking for, dating can be fun, not a chore. And I can be there to hold their hand.
While Carolinas Matchmaker client prices start at $7,500, being in the site’s database—where you have the potential to be matched—is free. www.carolinasmatchmaker.com