European Business Magazine catches up with Irene Valenti – the Ceo and founder of the Uber successful international matchmaking agency that helps people find their perfect partner. With everyone living increasingly busy lives , people are finding it harder to find that someone special. And that’s where Valenti International come in. They organise the whole process for you .Valenti International have just won International Matchmaker of the Year 2020 from our executive readers and so we find out the secret to their success.
EBM-Let’s start at the very beginning. Valenti International was founded back in 1990 and successfully operates to this very day. Could you tell us how did you come up with an idea of starting this business? What was the very beginning like for you, what challenges did you have to face and overcome at that time?
Irene Valenti (IV)-During my travels in 1989, I continuously heard amazing women and men similarly talk about their difficulties in meeting the right partner. From this, the entrepreneurial light came on for me and I set my sights on finding the solution. What I found was that there were many high quality individuals searching for a life partner, the true challenge however was in pairing them together. How would they ever meet each other? Would their paths ever cross? This is how Valenti was born, became a huge success, and great opportunity to do something that I really love – which is helping people.
Growing up in my family, matchmaking was a natural part of my life. It was talked about and conducted – in fact, my father matched my siblings and I to our partners. Having matchmaking in my blood, a strong intuition, and determined nature, I felt confident that I could take this idea and make it successful. My experience as an entrepreneur and mother and robust people skills further fortified my optimism about this.
Getting off the ground was not easy, as I had just relocated to California from Canada and had limited resources. Also, when I originally talked about the idea of creating a high end matchmaking service, most tried to discourage me. However, matchmaking was a foreign idea to most at that time. Through various friendships, I was introduced to the Rancho Santa Fe community, which happens to be one of the most desirable zip codes (92067) in the country and where our worldwide headquarters is located to this day.
I will share more details about this, some of the joys and pains of starting a new business idea and building an empire in my new book, coming early-2021.
EBM-Today, Valenti International features the Valenti Equestrian Club, Valenti Matchmaking, and the Valenti Foundation — 3 completely different, but successful businesses. What’s the secret formula for making them all so successful?
IV-Giving back is always on my mind and heart – especially when it comes to children
and the elderly. Children are so often vulnerable and powerless and the elderly are often lonely and left behind. This inspired me to start a 501c3 non-profit in 2003, which benefits both populations.
We were looking for a new home in the RSF area, as we had outgrown our original office spaces. The solution was a beautiful and traditional mansion with enough space to house our entire team which had grown from one to over twenty in a short period of time. The bonus was this property had a huge equestrian facility. This solution turned into something amazing for the brand and resulted in having a beautiful property for fundraising events as well as a strong presence in the horse community.
Valenti Matchmaking, the Valenti Foundation, and the Valenti Equestrian Club complement each other in every way due to similar clientele. It is a handful but juggling and multitasking is so much fun when you are surrounded by such beauty and love. However, Valenti Matchmaking always comes first and our clients are our number one priority.
EBM-Looking at the business empire that you’ve created over the years, do you think that there are some particular skills that you need more than others in your job?
IV– At the inception of Valenti, I already had years of experience as an entrepreneur with a strong background in marketing and business and the ability to build a business empire from ground up. A vital big part of the Valenti recipe is how matchmaking is in my blood. It is something that is difficult to learn, yet came natural to me, due to being born with into it. This is complimented by great intuition, love of people, and great people skills and tied together with a sense of responsibility, passion, self belief, and a never give up attitude.
EBM-Valenti Matchmaking has been the leader in professional matchmaking for more than 30 years now. Its core philosophy is ‘Matchmaking in The European Tradition’. Could you tell us more about the company’s philosophy and what does it mean?
IV-Matchmaking in the European Tradition is a philosophy based on old world values. In previous times, families would commonly seek out the services of a village matchmaker to find a suitable partner for their unwed daughters and sons. The matchmaker’s task would be to pair these individuals based on key elements of personality, education, class, family background, values, and life goals.
I have melded the flavors of this traditional approach with a modern and intuitive touch to create a process that is both time-tested and has also thrived in this progressive and digital era.
EBM-Tell us more about the Valenti Matchmaking clientele — who usually decides to turn to the company for help and what do they all have in common?
Over the years, what was one experience with the client that you remember as a good lesson to this very day?
IV– Our clients are atypical and have everything except that special someone to share life adventures with. Self made men and women of all ages who are accustomed to hiring the best assistance within their professional and personal lives. Furthermore, they typically arrive at Valenti when they are most interested in finding a special relationship and willing to invest in themselves for this.
A wonderful memory is my first day in business with my very first client. I explained to her that she would be my first and only client to start. Her response was “I am not doing great on my own and trust that I would have a much better chance at finding love with you.” The spirit of this memory holds true to this day, in that our clients rely on us and trust us to make the right choices for them in finding romance.
EBM-Having a team of true professionals is extremely important in your business. How do you find the right people to join you in the company? Tell us more about the team that surrounds you.
IV- Having a team of trusted, loyal, capable, and committed professionals is a vital component of Valenti. Members of my team have come aboard through various avenues including traditional searches as well as referrals from business associates, staff psychologists, clients, and other friends of the company. All members of my team were vetted in a thorough manner, in a similar fashion to how we carefully screen our clients. As a testament to the close knit and dedicated group that I have assembled, many team members have been with the organization for extended tenure. Part of the reason why I have survived challenging times, is the strong support from my foundational team.
The company is structured in a manner that allows us to provide an unparalleled level of service to our clients. Our consulting team provides detailed information regarding our process to prospective clients. Our matchmaking team thoroughly screens prospective clients, meticulously crafts new introductions, and provides coaching and guidance. Finally, our concierge team coordinates all details related to introductions, with input from our clients. This fortifies an already strong partnership and ensures a first class experience from start to finish in all areas.
EBM –Let’s talk about the future. In your opinion, how will Valenti International evolve over the next 5 years? What’s your vision for it for the next 10 years?
IV– I envision Valenti as a household brand with worldwide recognition. Valenti will continue to own the highest position in the industry, which I founded and was created in 1990. This will be elevated even further by building a team of super stars worldwide that align with the Valenti core values.
I plan on writing several books – one of which is already in the works and will be potentially life changing for millions of individuals across the globe. The expected launch time frame is early-2021 if not sooner. Keep an eye out for the prelaunch on Amazon coming soon as well as it’s arrival on the NY Times Best Sellers list.
The Valenti style of matchmaking is the future.