It’s hard to keep up with dating these days. Apps are convenient but based solely on aesthetics and proximity. Classic online dating sites feel outdated and stuffy, while the once-proven way of actually meeting someone IRL in a serendipitous situation, sounds implausible and impossible. Dating is tough. Office romances aren’t always ideal, which leaves the bar – also not ideal – friends of friends, setups courtesy of your anxious parents, or it’s back to the dating websites.
“So many of our friends were looking for other outlets to meet people,” Nikki affirms, “you get to an age where you have no interest in going out every single night; most were not comfortable with exposing themselves on the online or app world – there was no vetting, it felt invasive, and it was purely based on photographs,” she continues. “The dating space needed a high-touch, personal introduction, anti-algorithm channel for cool, smart people.” Both Nikki and Greta left their jobs, and in April 2014, The Bevy officially launched. “Being a business owner has allowed me to grow up quickly and actually learn what it means to be successful, what it means to fail—and what forms those come in,” Nikki emphasises.
Nikki and Greta meet and vet every new client, and work with them to help find them a meaningful relationship. It’s a good job then that networking comes easily to Nikki, and they only work with people who they know as friends, family, or acquaintances. “We spend 80% of our time interviewing and networking,” Nikki tells us. “If we have chemistry with our membership, our connections will be more successful. We are looking for the personal connection.” That connection goes deeper than just romantic relationships—here Nikki talks to us about being in business with Greta, how they complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and why confidence is key to success (both in love and otherwise).
ON BECOMING A VP RIGHT AT SCHOOL: I had a lot to prove at a start-up company. It was my first real paying job out of NYU and I was thrust into a world where I was dealing with the personal lives of some of the wealthiest and most influential men and women in the US. That was a big responsibility to hold onto, especially because these were people who had reached the pinnacle of their success, and placed their first priority on finding love. That job was in my hands. I’m a total people pleaser, so if I failed, I took it personally. I remember I used to mutter my elevator pitch in my sleep. I was completely obsessed in all aspects. My clients appreciated that, and in two years I became the number 1 contact at the company for 70% of existing clients.
HOW THE BEVY CAME TO BE: So many of our friends were looking for other outlets to meet people. You get to an age where you have no interest in going out every night, most were not comfortable with exposing themselves on the online or app world – there was no vetting, it felt invasive, and it was purely based on photographs. The names, the people behind them, the message – it was all wrong. We wanted to appeal to the smart and sophisticated. The dating space needed a high-touch, personal introduction, anti-algorithm channel for cool, smart people. The Bevy had been in the works long before we’d taken initial steps. We had such a massive following once leaving our old firm that it was natural step to develop this business. We officially launched in April 2014. First, we identified who we were and why what we were offering didn’t exist in our marketplace. Then, we wrote a business plan and built a website that conveyed our brand and image. Next, we hired legal and financial professional and finally, we built our database. Greta and I had knowledge of the business, our competition, and what the market was from our prior company. We had seen the mistakes and successes and that informed our method for The Bevy.
WHY THEY DECLINED PRIVATE INVESTMENT OFFERS: We took a loan from family and friends instead because we wanted to own 100% of the company. With a business based off the two of us, with two different skill sets and connections, we know it was the smart move.
THE WORKING DYNAMIC WITH HER CO-FOUNDER, GRETA TUFVESSON: We divide and conquer. While our clients can’t be in more than one place at one time, we can. Either of us work more closely with certain clients than others, specifically when it comes to geography. We are both bicoastal but Greta tends to spend more time on the West Coast, while I’m on the East Coast. Greta incredibly strong in marketing, thinking ahead, and delegating and is very good with inception and putting ideas into action. I am admittedly not nearly as gifted in that realm. I’m much better in great customer service, which requires patience, time and energy.
ON MEETING HER SIGNIFICANT OTHER IRL: I was having happy hour at The Wren with my friend Marc late 2015, and in walked a very tall and cute guy. I said to Marc “Wow that guy is tall,” and Marc said, “I know that guy!” We all got to chatting and apparently, we both asked Marc about each other the next day. The rest is history! We’ve been together since January last year.
HOW SHE USES HER PERSONAL NETWORK TO CREATE A HIGH-TOUCH APPROACH: Networking comes naturally to us. Greta and I are constantly on the go and have been for years. We are not setting up people who found us on the Internet. We were working with people who we know from friends, family, former co-workers. Greta and I vet everyone individually, often more than once. No cattle calls. We spend 80% of our time interviewing and networking. If we have chemistry with our membership, our connections will be more successful. We are looking for the personal connection.
THE RATIONALE BEHIND THE $25K MEMBERSHIP FEE & WHY THE SERVICE IS FREE FOR WOMEN: Because our service is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach, our prices can be much higher or slightly lower depending on the job. We are strict about not accepting female clients because it is simply not our business model. We have a larger network of women than men and the ratio must be high for the model to work. Most of our competitors feel pressured to set up both parties because they both paid, and will set up a date just so they can fill a quota. We refuse to do that. We have a 95% success rate. For us, success means putting our clients into meaningful relationships.
WHAT ENTREPRENEURSHIP TEACHES YOU ABOUT FAILURE: Owning a business makes gives you complete ownership over what you create. Every setup, every decision, every matter of business falls on you. When I was still employed, I was never fully responsible for anything. Being a business owner has allowed me to grow up quickly and learn what it means to be successful and what it means to fail, and what forms those come in.
THE ADVICE SHE WOULD HAVE TOLD HERSELF AT THE START OF HER ENTREPRENURIAL JOURNEY: Be confident. There is no rulebook or requirement set for who you need to be to start a business. No certain age or background. Know what you’re good at and really know it. Once you identify that, realize that often-times that quality makes you worth something to others. Actualize it and don’t waiver. When we took on our first client I doubted whether we could actually do this. He has ended up so happy and now sends us tons of referrals. You just need to have enough faith in yourself.