With apps a click away, short attention spans and the ever-present onslaught of ads telling us how to find our soulmates, the question becomes: Whom do we entrust with our romantic futures? Founder and president of Luma Luxury Matchmaking, April Davis, has some ideas.
After earning her MBA at 20, Davis gained experience in corporate America, but it wasn’t for her. The secret to Davis’ success might be her perspective. She took her business experience in process improvement and applied it to dating. “I thought, ‘There should be better options out there for people,’” says Davis. “I wanted to create a company that’s easier for people who want a serious relationship. People who want to invest in themselves.”
In 2010, Luma Luxury Matchmaking was founded. The “luxury” is earned in the details. The company doesn’t take on new clients unless they think they have a match, which they find through in-person meetings lasting up to two hours.
The matchmakers, who are also certified life coaches, gather a good understanding of who each client is, talk about past relationships and set up the date. Each has 15–20 clients at any given time. Additionally, the matchmakers offer date coaching and take their clients shopping if need be. “We find ways for them to be more successful on that date,” says Davis. “Little tweaks that are really rewarding.”
Luma is headquartered in Minneapolis, the place Davis likes to call home. “I prefer to stay and work with people in the Midwest,” she says, noting the politeness and strong values of Midwesterners. “I can tell if I’m talking to someone from the Midwest or if they’re displaced. They’re a lot less superficial than in other parts of the country. They care about things that really matter and not just checking a box.”
“I always tell people this isn’t build-a-boyfriend or build-a-girlfriend,” explains Davis. Things as simple as attractiveness become tiny compared to the big picture, which services like Luma help clients focus on.
Davis remains a matchmaker for the company, a job she’s been doing for years. “I’ve always been a matchmaker, not just for romance but friends and business,” says Davis. What it takes to be a matchmaker is largely intuition and empathy. According to Davis, “It’s about reading people, asking good questions and understanding people in general.”
Davis quickly understood the work wasn’t as simple as setting up mutual friends.
“Early on, I thought it would be dating and fun and cute, but these are people’s lives and we want to help them,” says Davis. “We really want them to be successful. It’s not as easy as putting people in front of people.”
Although happily married, Davis believes she would use the service if she were still single. “As a female putting your profile online, there are random jerks online too. I just had a guy on LinkedIn message me,” says Davis.
“We set you up with good quality guys that work.”
Davis’ advice to those looking to increase their chances of finding their match hinges on having an open mind and being realistic. “When you have a connection, all those other things and deal breakers you thought were important go out the door,” says Davis. She sees dating as a supply and demand market. You have to be realistic about what you’re bringing to the table and what you want. “Put your best foot forward. Make a list of things you would like to see and improve in yourself and list what you can do to make that happen. Write that out on paper,” says Davis. “It helps to have professionals in your corner.”
Professionals, that is, who aren’t waiting for you on dating apps like Tinder or Bumble, or even on websites like Match. “People will say online dating is our competition,” says Davis. “I will say, it’s a justification. You get what you pay for. You might not find a good fit and then you can hire us. Clients all the time tell us they wouldn’t have been able to meet the person [they did] if it wasn’t for us.”
Davis also gets insight from the perspective of her husband, a divorce attorney. Relationships are a common topic of conversation. “He knows what doesn’t work,” says Davis. Differences in ideology, religion and lifestyles all play large factors in relationships, according to Davis, even if they don’t initially appear to do so.
Certainly Luma is about meeting the right people at the right time, and Davis is using her success at building relationships to help people find just that. She’s followed her business savvy and intuition through the first eight years with Luma and is hoping for many more. “In my early 20s [I realized] I just had common sense about relationships and human nature,” says Davis. “I could see the light bulb in my head.”