When Juliette and Emma moved to Valencia to bring up their son, they became convinced that their business of being matchmaking consultants who organise speed-dating events would work here. Then they meet Daniela Studente who brought a fizz of Latvian can-do to the mix. Eugene Costello went to meet them to hear about their plans…
It’s a sunny Friday afternoon, thankfully after the plague of bad weather we have had in recent weeks, and I am at Ruzafa’s Blackbird Café to hear about their plans to shake up Valencia’s dating scene for “expats” and digital nomads.
Juliette Prais and Emma Zif really are global citizens. Between them having lived in the UK, the US, Israel and Italy.
Juliette explains: “I began my company some ten years ago, a professional matchmaking consultancy. People were saying to me, we’re fed up of online dating, and that has only got worse in recent years with all the scams and the much-publicised Tinder Swindlers [such as the Netflix film about the Israeli Shimon Hayut who claimed to be Simon Leviev, son of the diamond magnate Lev Leviev, who conned an estimated €10m from women around the world to finance a life of private jets, villas in Monaco and five-star hotels].
Juliette continues: “And long before that, people were just finding it bloody hard work. Swiping and trying to work out whether these profiles were real or not. As a side note, it is much harder for heterosexuals because there is so much choice.
Professional matchmakers in Valencia
“A friend of mine, a very pretty straight girl, uploaded her profile to Tinder and within minutes had 100 requests from men. I mean, how does anyone process that? So we ended up becoming professional matchmakers and now want to bring our services to Valencia.”
Emma spent many of her formative years in Marbella while Juliette mainly grew up in, first, Italy and later, Edinburgh, though her family have since moved to Glasgow.
Their original plans for hosting matchmaking events were rudely interrupted by the pandemic, but now they are fully charged and ready to go.
Says Emma: “We think there is a large market for incomers here, to find out how they can meet people.”
They joined forces with a vibrant young woman from Latvia, Daniela Studente, who is a force of nature, and are now planning their first two events, one for people aged roughly 25 to 37 and a second one for 35 to 50 year-olds.
For the future, they will look at events for older incomers, above 50, and also events for the LGBTQ community. They have started well by forming a partnership with the owners of Bugalü, Charlie Hedley-Giron, Jiji Hedley-Giron, Julio Marquez and Desirée Prieto.
The vibe will be friendly and relaxed
The two events will take place 17 and 18 May, with proceeds going to help Ukraine. It will be an informal and friendly evening, with compering, and drinks and small plates on offer, such as Japanese-style marinated chicken platters, hummus and nachos. The vibe will be friendly and relaxed. You are welcome to check out Bugalü bar and share the donation till 15 May, while enjoying a nice meal, fresh drink or international events. After the donation you will receive an digital invitation to the event. If you are out of town, feel free to share the donation digitally:
The €15 fee will be given to one of the Valencia-based Help Ukraine groups. So your personal life will be helping a great cause, too.
Another good cross-pollination is that Charlie and Jiji from Bugalü also run Valencia Nomads – valencianomads.com – so it is hoped that there will be a good synergy there for those arriving in Valencia (in ever greater numbers), looking for love and friendship with likeminded people. Don’t miss out!
• DiscoverMe Valencia Dating Event, Bugalü Bar, Carrer de Sant Ramon, 2, 46003, Valencia. Wednesday 20 April (25-37 year-olds), Thursday 21 April (35-50 year-olds); https://www.facebook.com/groups/767213134183405;