The Scoop: Toffee.dating is making waves in the UK by declaring itself the world’s first posh dating network. In 2018, Founder Lydia Davis launched the premium dating app for UK singles who have been privately educated. The former matchmaker believes singles deserve a higher quality dating experience — and she’s on a mission to deliver the goods by raising the bar for online daters. Toffee caters to a highly educated and selective dating community, and, in doing so, has made a somewhat controversial name for itself. Some singles have criticized Toffee for encouraging elitist attitudes and class divisions, while others have welcomed the opportunity to meet date prospects who share common values, backgrounds, and social statuses.
It’s only natural for singles to gravitate toward date prospects who are like them. Having a shared life experience helps people connect on a deeper level, and it removes some tension and disagreement when planning a life together.
But at what point is choosiness not socially acceptable? That’s the question posed to UK singles facing the rise of a new exclusive dating app. Toffee has shaken things up by offering a private dating network for singles who were privately educated.
Lydia Davis started Toffee.dating to up the quality of the online dating scene and attract high-caliber singles with high dating standards. Lydia is a former matchmaker who’s intimately familiar with the dating scene and what singles want — and she’s confident her dating app meets a need in the space.
“The aim isn’t to promote snobbery or social division,” she said in an article in The Telegraph. “It’s to help people meet and fall in love. That’s been my mission for the past five years.”
Toffee will undoubtedly set a bold precedent in the UK dating scene. The dating app hasn’t officially launched yet, but the team has a waiting list for singles on board with its unique premise. Members on the waiting list will become a Founding Member on Toffee once it’s launched, and they’ll enjoy a free six-month subscription.
All other users will pay £4.99 to download Toffee and then an additional £4.99 per month to keep their accounts active. Lydia said the payment plan gives the app a high-end feel and ensures members are financially stable and serious about meeting someone.
Building an Esteemed Membership in the UK
Lydia started going to prep school when she was 8 years old, so she understands the mindset of her users. “It’s what I’ve always known,” she said.
Toffee.dating began in London with the simple idea that singles who went to private school probably want to date other singles who went to private school. Now it’s making headlines for its standards and niche membership.
The dating app has capitalized on the fact that private school graduates make up a slim minority of the population and therefore may have trouble meeting one another in real-world settings. Toffee’s platform is similar to other niche dating platforms out there — only its network is different.
Going forward, the team aims to spread the word about this upper-class dating app by encouraging its members to tell their friends and family members. That way, its network can expand organically. Toffee.dating is offering a free membership to the top 100 Toffee referrers. The team will also buy this elite group a cocktail at Chestertons Polo in the Park in June 2018. Plus, the top four referrers (two men and two women) will receive a complimentary Porsche Driving Experience at Silverstone.
“My hope is that as many as 2,000 people will sign up when we launch at the end of this month and that we can take it to other countries,” Lydia said in April 2018.
Look out, world, Toffee.dating aims to raise the standards for online daters and give a select few a place where they feel like they belong.
Critics Say the App Promotes Class Division
Lydia’s dating app has seen mixed reactions in the media and among users. Some critics said stratifying the dating world will only lead to a widening of the wealth gap in the UK — while others defend the idea that graduates of private schools should have the option to get in touch with one another.
Everyone is looking for something different in a partner, and some singles value education and social standing. Dating sites exist to make the search for a perfect match that much easier, and niche dating sites often target specific types of daters to help singles save time swiping through incompatible people. Arguably, Lydia has filled an unmet need in the online dating scene by creating a posh dating site for private school alums.
“There’s almost definitely a market for it,” tweeted James Rothwell, a Brexit correspondent at The Telegraph.
“My headmistress would have signed us all up to using the app as a prerequisite!” joked Laura Fowler, who attended private school. “She used to encourage us to scoop up the boys attending the neighboring independent school.”
“Toffee is just a dating app for a group of people. We’re not trying to be snobby.” — Lydia Davis, Founder of Toffee
Some recognize Toffee as a useful dating tool, while others don’t feel quite so optimistic about it. “The lesser posh can stay on Tinder I guess,” said Ding-Fire-168 in a tweet. “The pursuit of happiness is a matter of class, indeed.”
“Ah, but the upside is that it helps non-private school kids avoid mixing with private-school kids,” pointed out Paul Chapman in a tongue-in-cheek post.
Tom Knowles, of The Times, posited his own theory: “Still convinced this dating app for people who went to private school is just an ironic postmodern art project that has [gotten] really out of hand.”
Lydia said she knew her app might cause a ruckus, but she believes it offers an important and useful service to a specific type of dater. “I saw a gap in the market,” she said. “There are a lot of people in London, and it’s hard to meet the right person.”
Toffee is Becoming a Popular Dating App for Posh People
Ultimately, singles like what they like, and dating platforms exist to serve their preferences. Niche dating sites succeed because dating becomes much easier when everyone has similar standards, values, and backgrounds. If you can gather enough like-minded people in one place, romance is bound to happen.
Not everyone agrees with Toffee’s premise that privately educated singles want to date within a certain social class, but, if they didn’t, the app wouldn’t be able to turn a profit. People have the freedom to set their own priorities in the dating scene, and, for better or worse, many do see a need for a network of private school alums.
“Navigating the dating scene is really difficult,” said Lydia in an interview with The Mirror, “and it’s proven that people want to meet like-minded people who share the same interests and values. It’s important to some people.”