Soirée Society, Northern Ireland’s leading bespoke match-making company, has won the UK Best Upcoming Matchmaking Agency of the Year award.
The Tyrone-based company, which covers all of Northern Ireland, scooped the highly coveted title at last week’s UK Dating Awards – dubbed the ‘Oscars’ of the dating industry. Soiree Society was the only Northern Ireland entrant to be recognised at the glittering London ceremony amongst very tough competition from companies all over the United Kingdom.
Founder and owner Claire Hughes, a former Bank Manager from Castlecaulfield, initially set up the business as an events company for unattached people. In April 2015 she launched the matchmaking service after identifying a gap in the market for a professional and confidential dating service for people who disliked the public face of on-line internet dating sites, the bar scene or speed dating events as a way of meeting a potential partner.
Clare says that in that time the company has gone from strength-to-strength.
She said: “I am absolutely over the moon to win such a prestigious award within our industry.
Northern Ireland is such a small place and when I started my business I had a few raised eyebrows as to why a happily married person would want to get involved in the dating industry.
I soon realised there was a real stigma here associated with dating, mostly due to the perception that dating agencies were synonymous with one night stands, false profiles, people purporting to be younger or slimmer than they really were and married men pretending they were single!
“I couldn’t get over how people were reluctant to like our Facebook page in case people would see them liking it and thinking they were looking a relationship! So I set out to build an ethical, professional and reputable service to meet the needs of those discerning clients who desire a highly customised and discreet dating service.
Over the past 18 months, I have uncovered that there is such a demand in Northern Ireland for people wanting a genuine loving relationship.
However, many people are uncomfortable with online dating – they don’t want to display their photographs online or are scared for their personal safety or are totally disillusioned with the results to date, as they tell us that there is quantity but not a lot of quality.
“Others, particularly professionals, report that they do not have the time or the opportunity to meet someone.
“Also, many people that have come through the difficulties of separation, divorce or bereavement are completely daunted and outside their comfort zones with the modern dating process or worry about what people will think and say.
At Soiree Society we do things very differently. It is an offline, confidential tailor-made service, working a little bit like how a recruitment company does to find the perfect candidate for a job vacancy. Only in this case the ‘employer’ is our full paying member who wants us to help them fill a vacancy in their social lives.
We personally interview each full paying member on our books and only take on people who we truly believe we can match. They have the assurance that anyone we introduce them to has also been interviewed and has been authenticated.
“We also fully understand the challenges that single people may face as life takes them into a fresh situation, out of comfort zones and often with a bit of reluctance, and that is why we guide and advise our clients each step of the way.
“A lot of our clients are simply time-poor, juggling demanding careers and/ or family commitments with the search for love and companionship.
Whilst no one can guarantee love and chemistry, what we aim to do is take the stress out of finding a new partner and to make it more of a positive experience as we endeavour to find our clients the perfect match”.
Clare concluded: “We have worked extremely hard over the past 18 months and have had many successful matches and have built a large portfolio of men and women over the age of 30 who are genuinely looking for love. To be recognised with such a fantastic award is the icing on the cake.”
Caroline Brealey, Head Judge European & UK Dating Awards 2016 said: “I’m delighted that Claire’s hard work and success has been recognised by the UK Dating Awards.
Claire has worked tirelessly to create Soiree Society which has been hugely successful in bringing people together.
There are few people who have a genuine knack for personal matchmaking and Claire is one of them – she has an eye for a great match and the determination to help her clients find ‘the one’”.
Caroline concluded: “Claire is flying the flag for Northern Ireland in the dating industry and long may it continue”.
Soiree Society is the only Matchmaking Company with its head office in Northern Ireland, to have been approved by the ABIA – the Association of British Introduction Agencies. The Association was set up to monitor and regulate the standards of service offered by introduction agencies. They are also the only Matchmakers in Ireland to have received certification from the Matchmaker Academy and are members of the Dating Industry Professionals Network (DIPN)
Visit www.soireesocietyni.co.uk for further details.