In 1989 legal secretary Michele Fields realized that due to her lifelong insomnia she needed to form her own company and be able to dictate her own hours. Having had a work schedule up to that point with specific time restraints seemed to cause the insomnia to advance. But what was her expertise? Of course you must have a predilection in some area to pursue it and flourish.
Fields had a history of matchmaking for friends which she not only enjoyed but excelled in. After watching a 1980’s movie Crossing Delancey which featured a matchmaker the light bulb went on and Fields realized THIS was her calling. In 1989 there were not many dating or matchmaking services in existence, certainly no Internet dating sites or phone services to swipe, just the old fashioned personal ads which left you on your own.
The one service that was in existence was Great Expectations. After studying the structure and pricing of that franchise service it became clear to Fields that she could do a much more efficient, consumer oriented and economical service. She developed her own niche in the industry before all the other services sprung up.
Starting with friends and friends of friends as clients the service slowly grew with a new business model where the overhead was eliminated, advertising was eliminated, and staff was eliminated thus allowing the fee to be significantly lesser than GE. So Bon Jour Matchmaking Service established itself as a premier, very personalized service with intensive coaching, pictures and extensive profiles of each client with one matchmaker interviewing and getting to know each and every client. This formula continues 29 years later, in direct opposition to the franchise, impersonal, highly expensive, multi “matchmaker” services that exist today.
Fields has been able to support herself with this service that she started at age 33 and continues today at age 62. When will she retire? NEVER, why would she, in fact she is in the process of expanding to parts of Arizona. All of her clients receive open ended contracts so that when the “right” person presents themselves the client will be there. Rather than limited contracts offered by every other service and if the right person doesn’t show in that period of time…too bad for you…want to sign up again? Some offer “Platinum” or “Gold” packages which will cost north of 5 figures or even 6 in some cases. Fields GIVES every client this contract as part of the service, everything that other “matchmakers” nickel and dime clients for Fields GIVES as part of her service.
She says her goal was not and is not to make a million dollars; in fact Fields turns down more people who call her than she accepts as every new client MUST fit the preferences of her established clientele. This is not a job or career but her “calling”. A calling doesn’t dictate money, as long as she can sustain herself that is her goal along with fulfilling the goals of her clientele. She may end up being the oldest professional matchmaker ever… perhaps qualifying her for the Guinness Book of World Records someday.