The Scoop: Nestled between the one-woman, celebrity-style matchmakers and the huge companies that can lack personalized service is LastFirst. The bespoke matchmaking club is based in New York, and its stated mission is to send clients on their last first date. The small team of experts finds compatible matches for clients in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Miami. They use a smart and dynamic vetting process that ensures every client will be an excellent fit for someone.
Through the ages, matchmaking has been a popular way to bring people together, but the practice has evolved dramatically over time. In the 1100s, marriages were often arranged by parents in the name of financial or cultural improvement. Matchmaking often had a religious undertone, with the church playing a role in helping families unite their houses until the 1820s.
Today’s version of matchmaking is a great way to customize and refine your search for the right partner. It can be highly effective, easy, and fun, especially if you connect with the right matchmaker.
But that’s easier said than done. Matchmakers and date matching services in cities across the country vary in style and technique. Some people prefer elite and highly personalized services, which can be expensive. Others think in numbers and sign on with big matchmaking companies that have massive databases of singles.
Then there’s the best of both worlds. LastFirst is a matchmaking agency of five experts who use state-of-the-art software to pair their clients based on their unique information. The firm has an expansive reach into many of the largest cities in the U.S. The team aims to help singles — especially young professionals — connect with people who have a chance to be “The One.”
“We throw our whole hearts into this and put a personal touch on everything we do,” said Emily Holmes Hahn, Founder of LastFirst.
LastFirst’s mission statement is in its name because it strives to send every client on his or her last first date.
Clients Become Close With a “Family” of Matchmakers
Emily describes her team as “a little family,” with five women who frequently become friends with the singles with whom they work.
“We also become very close with our clients,” she said.
Staying professional is important in an industry that can be challenging when it comes to those hard-to-please clients.
“We also have very thick skins and good senses of humor because we hear a lot from our clients,” Emily said. “It’s matchmaking; it’s not like they’re hiring an assistant and they can’t judge someone on their appearance, personality, or tastes. If he didn’t like her, we need to hear that — and hear it with a smile.”
LastFirst currently has a majority of male clients. Emily said the service is about two-thirds male, with clients typically in their 30s and 40s — but also a few in their 20s, 50s, and 60s.
“Some of our clients’ parents even hire us on their behalves,” she said.
The Personalized Process Ensures Clients are Serious
LastFirst has been successful at making romantic connections because it vets the singles with whom it works to ensure they’re serious about love. The team takes a personalized approach with each accepted applicant.
“We’ll take them out for a coffee or a drink or bring them into our office and just chat. We’ll see if they’re easy to socialize with, if they’re attractive, and if they’re looking for someone who is attainable,” Emily said. “So we know a lot about each client in before we offer to take them on as a client. We try to be selective and make sure the guys are nice — the kind that we would date ourselves.”
Then, they begin discussing a plan. Each LastFirst matchmaking plan includes a guaranteed number of dates, and the work begins once the contract is signed.
Clients meet with a team member and go into deeper detail about what they’re looking for as well as what did and didn’t work in their last relationship. Then, all of their information is entered into the LastFirst database — which is powered by Salesforce.
That’s when the fun begins. The LastFirst team combs the entire database for someone who fits the client’s preferred criteria.
“Let’s say — totally random example — we search for a woman between 28 and 38, who wants to have kids, attended a top 50 school, has blonde hair, and lives in Miami,” Emily said. “Salesforce produces a list of women who we’ve met over the last few years who fit those basic data points. If someone jumps off the page, we’ll then check with her personally to ensure she’s still seeking the same kind of relationship, that she physically looks the same, and that she has the same attitude and energy as when we last met her”
It’s important to follow up because sometimes former clients aren’t looking for the same type of relationship they were a year ago or just aren’t ready to date.
Communication is Key to LastFirst’s Matchmaking Success
Once LastFirst finds a potential match, the team doesn’t waste any time setting up the details. The team connects matches within a couple of days because they believe each pairing is going to be successful. That’s why the team feels confident in its mission to send clients on their last first dates.
Once both clients say yes to the date, the team takes care of the rest.
“We’re a full-service concierge, so we compare their neighborhoods, coordinate schedules and make a reservation that suits both their tastes,” Emily said. “And then comes my favorite part, when they call us the next day and tell us how we did.”
“When clients can trust us and our professional instincts, instead of going into this experience with a completely rigid idea of what the date will look like, we can make amazing things happen.” — Emily Holmes Hahn, Founder
The team also provides each client with discreet, limited feedback from the other person on the date. It could be anything from something a client wore to a joke he or she told that didn’t land with the other person. That feedback not only helps clients get to know other people’s tastes better but also prepares them for future dates.
That open, honest communication is what makes the entire process successful. It’s essential that clients are forthcoming and thorough — as well as open-minded — when discussing what kind of partner they desire, Emily told us.
“It’s all about their communication with us. That’s the difference between matchmaking success and failure,” she said. “When clients can trust us and our professional instincts, instead of going into this experience with a completely rigid idea of what the date will look like, we can make amazing things happen.”