Mairead Molloy is internationally renowned for playing cupid to singletons. These are not just any singletons, but some of the world’s most rich and famous. With offices in both Cannes and London, Mairead’s dating agency Berkeley International is one of the most exclusive introduction agencies in Europe with joining fees starting from £10,000. Luxurious Magazine’s Sabi Phagura caught up with the ‘millionaire matchmaker’ and talked about her love affair with Berkeley International.
LM: What made you decide to set up Berkeley International?
MM: I saw a clear niche in the market for high-end dating which didn’t already exist. I wanted to create a place where people could come and feel secure and know that they would find their ideal person, and that’s exactly what I have managed to create. I’m very proud of it.
LM: What sets Berkeley International apart from other dating websites?
MM: Firstly, we have no online client database which immediately sets us apart from online dating. Further to this, we meet everyone personally and vet them to make sure their intentions are honourable and that they are who they say they are. We offer quality and no way of lying or cheating the system, which is so easy to do when online dating.
Worldwide we have nine fully staffed offices, and all of our staff are highly trained and professional. We pride ourselves on the attention we offer our clients, and we take the time to listen and understand them. We really do our best to go the extra mile as we know that at the end of the day, it’s their personal lives we are working for.
LM: How does BerkeIey International work?
MM: The first step is for people to enquire. They are then invited to come in for an interview where we get to know them and vice versa. If they then want to join that’s great and we begin the matchmaking process. Berkeley International appeals to a broad spectrum of individuals spanning from the worldly wise, to the youthful and savvy, with ages ranging from early 20’s to early 70’s. Our members enjoy a personal service and access to a long established network of high calibre and financially independent individuals who share similar standards, values and a common goal – to meet their soul mate/life partner.
Our clients lead happy, usually busy and fulfilling lives and are perfectly able to manage on their own but have reached a stage in their life when they no longer choose to do so. They are, however, not prepared to compromise in their choice of partner. Meeting just ‘anyone’ is not their problem – meeting the ‘right’ person is. Here we offer a confidential and professional service, with no ‘online’ membership.
LM: How do you vet your members?
MM: Most obviously we ask for ID, and we visit them to make sure they are being totally honest about who they are and we ask for any necessary documentation such as divorce papers. This is to primarily protect our existing clients. We want to eliminate the possibility of people who aren’t looking for a serious relationship, which we have managed to do over the past 12 years.
LM: You say on your website you get to know your members ‘personally’. What does this mean?
MM: As I have mentioned, we meet everyone in the flesh and talk to them about their life and what they are looking for and what they want to avoid. Feedback is very important and we talk to our clients after every date to see if we got it right. Every two months we endeavour to meet our clients for a catch up and assess how we’re doing and of course how they’re doing. After you meet people and talk to someone so often you get to know them very quickly, and this is what makes our service so intimate. It’s so much easier to work with someone when there’s mutual trust.
LM: How much does a member have to earn to be on the books?
MM: Fees start at £10,000 and go up to £50,000. We don’t have any requirements regarding our client’s income. If they want our service, they will come to us.
LM: What’s the difference between what men and women want in love?
MM: Put simply, it is always evident when I meet a new male client that they know exactly what they are looking for. Women, on the other hand, really don’t. That often makes them either easy to work with or hard to please. I would say this is the main difference between men and women when it comes to love.
LM: How do you find ideal partners?
MM: We have a large membership base so we are, more often than not, able to make a selection from this. With such a variety of people choosing to use our services we are always able to make good matches. However, if we feel we don’t have the right person on the books, it isn’t uncommon for us to go out and personally head hunt someone.
LM: When are the busiest periods?
MM: We don’t really have any. People look for love all year round.
LM: What’s your success rate?
MM: Our success rates vary between age groups so it looks roughly like this:
- 18 – 28: 90%
- 28 – 37: 80%
- 37- 45: 65%
- 45 – 60: 65%
- 60 – 80: 55%
LM: Do you have any amazing success stories?
MM: One of the best success stories I’ve had is when a male client was coming in to meet me for the first time so we could discuss what he’s looking for. He came by train and on his way he made eye contact with a woman who he instantly fell for. He didn’t have the confidence to go over and chat to her so when his journey was over he just forgot about it. A month or so later when we set him up on his first date it turned out to be the woman he’d seen on the train. They hit if off instantly and now they’re married. As luck would have it they were both on their way to see me.
LM: Have you got your ‘wedding hat’ at the ready?
MM: I never go to weddings even though I have been invited to a few. I always use the analogy of the estate agent: They help you get the house but you wouldn’t invite them to the house warming. Once the relationship is a success I am no longer necessary, which is the way it should be.
LM: How do you handle potential ‘gold diggers’?
MM: We don’t have a problem with gold diggers. People come to Berkeley to meet like- minded people and that’s always been the way, which is great.
LM: Have you used dating sites yourself?
MM: I haven’t personally. I actually met my current boyfriend at a restaurant. He was the chef!
By Sabi Phagura