Finding the ideal partner is no easy task even with all the technology and purported short-cuts available today. Jeremy Webb talks to Hayley Bystram, founder of the Bowes-Lyon Partnership to uncover what it is they do which sets them apart.
When looking for love, I think we all believe in fate perpetuated from film scenarios such as bumping into your future partner at an Ice Rink on Christmas eve. In reality, the truth is it is hard to find the right person to form a relationship. If you are a busy professional, it is even harder. I wanted to find out if it is worth putting your faith into employing the services of a specialist team like the Bowes-Lyon Partnership.
In my quest to find the answer, I talked to owner and director Hayley Bystram, where I questioned her on many issues around dating and finding a partner. Our talk which lasted for more than an hour flew by. This leads me to one of the points Hayley made about connections between her clients. She believes on a first date if you can keep a conversation going for an hour, it is an excellent foundation to lead to a second date.
Hayley founded the Bowes-Lyon Partnership in 2009 when she decided to use her skills and experiences in previous positions such as a Wedding Planner, to introduce singles. Having worked in the USA for several years, she saw how Americans and Canadians were commonly using an introduction service to meet potential partners. At the heart of the company is supreme customer service guiding the member through the journey to finding love.
A romantic, Hayley doesn’t believe in algorithms to match people. She, along with highly experienced staff, meet every potential member to learn about them and what they are looking for in a partner. Clients can visit the Partnership at their offices in St James Square, London or their Surrey facility. Still, Hayley or one of her staff will see people in their home or anywhere of choice.
Due to the exclusivity of the membership, Hayley already knows the person is committed to finding someone, and they probably move in the same circles but just have not connected. The cost of joining would be prohibitive to most people, but Bowes-Lyon Partnership doesn’t deal with the masses. Their clients are in a select High Networth cohort either earning six-figure salaries, Entrepreneurs or from “Money”.
The circles the members move in means confidentiality is uppermost, so measures are put in place to maintain only the minimal amount of information is exchanged between potential matches. First name only, no mention of employment or background, just the person’s hobbies, leisure interests, age, height, eye colour. This stops people being able to do internet searches to check the backgrounds of potential matches.
Luxurious Magazine: Hayley, where does the Bowes-Lyon name come into the company name?
Hayley Bystram: I am proud to say my heritage is Scottish, going back my relations were Bowes Lyons.
LM: In the exclusive matchmaking world, how many males to females do you have looking for love?
Hayley: We are not like other matchmaking companies where we take in large numbers of either gender just to fill our books. We do vet, potential clients and keep to a ratio of about 60% male to 40 % female. Also keeping numbers within age ranges, particular look select, so there are not too many of one type of person.
LM: What age ranges do you have looking for love?
Hayley: I must say that we have a broad range of ages looking for a partnership. They are not all looking for love to then go on and marry. I have members join who are in their 70s been married and have children, but they miss having a partner of the opposite sex to have dinner with or visit the Opera. The majority of people on our books are between 30 and 40 years old.
LM: How long is it before people go on their first date with a match?
Hayley: It can be quick, from having an initial chat with us and then paying the fee. People have met within seven days.
LM: Are members of the Bowes-Lyon Partnership restricted to how many matches they can within the year they are on your books?
Hayley: Absolutely not, we encourage multiple matches for first dates as there is no guarantee they will click with the first suggestion we make. Although the membership is for a year, clients can pause the subscription for periods to allow for life issues such as travel, or time with one match to flourish.
LM: How do you gauge success, and what is Bowes-Lyon’s success rate?
Hayley: Success is subjective meaning different things to different people. We have had many members match and go on to marry, although I don’t get to attend all of them. As a company, we judge a successful match as a relationship lasting over nine months. For this, we have a 75% success rate which is a lot higher than other agencies.
LM: What do you suggest as a first date?
Hayley: I am old fashioned, still believing the best first dates or even further dates are country walks, picnics and situations which allow freedom to talk. I also encourage members to talk on the phone rather than emails or texts, learn about each other over time.
LM: What have you learnt over the 11 years you have been in business?
Hayley: Never make assumptions about people. Don’t read that someone likes Birdwatching and immediately think they will be boring. It can be far from the truth, don’t look at keywords and let them put you off.
I have also learnt that physical attraction plays a small part in long term relationships. A person’s manners, ethics, morals and attitude have to be attractive to their partner as well as the reliable sources such as a good sense of humour and sharing similar interests.
LM: Do you give advice about what to discuss on first dates?
Hayley: We are counsellors, listeners, friends with our clients, so we give them all types of advice. We suggest talking about each other’s interests, leisure activities and education. Subjects we recommend avoiding are work and particularly any Exs. Through experience, we do find that most will discuss work as many move in the same professional circles, whether this is Law, Finance or Media.
LM: Have you had any bizarre requests from members?
Hayley: I can tell you about one request, which made me laugh. The lady never got taken on by me. In the initial chat, this lady wanted to know how many men on our books attended Oxford or Cambridge Universities and what their shoulder breadth measurement was? When I asked why this was a requirement? she replied because I want a son that will become an International Rower and attend one of the two universities.
LM: It has been a useful insight talking to you and a fun story to end on. Thanks for your time; it has been a pleasure.
Hayley: Thank you it has been delightful talking to you.
The Bowes-Lyon Partnership – Where and How?
- Annual membership is £9000 + VAT which totals £10800
- Premier Membership. £15000 + VAT
The Bowes-Lyon Partnership
33 St James’s Square,
Tel: 0203 866 4440
For more information, visit https://bowes-lyonpartnership.co.uk.
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