KAREN MOONEY has cause to smile as she admires dresses that could be adorning radiant brides before the year is out. Business is booming for Sara Eden Introductions, the dating agency she launched in her kitchen in 1988.
‘We are seeing huge Milestones such as birthdays ending in a zero or the dawn of a New Year make people take stock and do something to change their lives’ says Mooney. She founded the agency with offices based opposite Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace with £2000 of her savings. She persuaded 50 of her friends to join to get it started and now has over 2,000 clients on her books.
It was whilst working for the Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Department at Buckingham palace that she broke her shoulder. ‘I was flat on my back for three months and had time to think,’ she says. ‘My friends like me were in their twenties and successful, but not meeting the right people.’
‘I thought there must be a business opportunity providing introductions. Women were more committed to their careers, with less time to socialise, while men were not sure about what was expected of them. Also it’s nice to meet people who want to be met.’ She interviewed her first client, a young man who paid £230 to join, in her kitchen.
Mooney says ‘ It was not as difficult as I had imagined and it was great fun. In 1988 the economy was booming and people had more money that sense’ After four months she moved her business into attractive premises opposite Windsor Castle and her overheads soared.
She says: ‘ I had a wonderful bank manager who believed in me. He lent me £20,000 to buy the lease on the premises and move in. He said if I did not succeed his job would be at risk – we shook hands on it.
The service covering London and the Home Counties, caters for professional people from their twenties to seventies. Every applicant is interviewed and some are rejected if they have unrealistic expectations.
The Agency attracts about 80% of clients by word of mouth and Mooney has files bulging with letters of recommendation to prove it. She is vice –chairman of the Association of British Introduction Agencies.
Sara Eden Introductions, call 0207 7499 9626 or email firstname.lastname@example.org