Shae Primus: CEO of the Middle-Class Matchmaker
She grew up in Atlanta and said she is well connected. She was already hooking people up when she was younger, which inspired her to start her business eight years ago as a matchmaker. She isn’t chasing the top 1% but rather the wide swath of busy middle-class professionals who want more discretion than dating apps can provide.
“I believe love is for everybody,” she says on the show. “So I don’t care if you’re driving a Buick or a BMW, wear Gap or Gucci. I keep my prices affordable so the average person can afford me.” (To her first client on the show, she quotes $3,000 to $5,000 and promises her client five introductions.)
She said she has “a young vibrant community of singles” and of the matchmakers, she is the only one that focuses exclusively on metro Atlanta.
She requires clients who sign with her to meet with a trained psychologist before she sets them up on dates.
For her, the successes are what keeps her going every day. “I have so many babies and I’m always at weddings,” she said. “And people love saying they were matched by a matchmaker. It’s a thing!”
Kelli Fisher and Tana Gilmore: Co-Owners of the Matchmaking Duo
Kelli Fisher and Tana Gilmore recently arrived in Atlanta from Charlotte, North Carolina, where they started their own matchmaking business about a decade ago after long stints working for bigger companies in other fields. Kelli said Atlanta was a better location for their business.
Their fee structure starts at $25,000 and they work nationally. They also have two “love liaisons” who recruit potential dates in Atlanta. Their primary clients are successful Black women.
“We came to slay and play!” Tana said on the show after successfully matching two singles.
“We used to be in corporate America,” added Kelli. “So a lot of times very successful women feel comfortable talking to us behind the scenes. They can be themselves because we’ve been there.”
Many of their clients are simply tired of the dating app rat race. “They’re coming to us because they’re waving the white flag,” Kelli said. “You hire a head hunter for jobs and you hire a heart hunter for love.”
They require clients to take relationship coaching and image consulting as well as have a professional photo shoot. This process takes about two months before clients even go on a first date. “Coaching,” Tana said, “is our secret sauce… We try to give our clients what they need, not what they want.”
Occasionally, Kelli said, the clients are so busy they don’t put in the work: “If we want it more than they want it, we sometimes have to part ways.”
Joseph Dixon: CEO/Founder & Matchmaker at RealBlackLove.com
He is a straight Black man, which is unusual in the matchmaking world. He started the “Real Black Love” dating app in 2013 and met his girlfriend, Paris, through his own app. She is now his business partner of him. He also started his own matchmaking firm. He recently moved to Atlanta from Charlotte himself, same as the Matchmaking Duo.
He proved how green he is in Atlanta during the AJC Zoom interview by referencing Atlantans as “Atlantians,” which caused the other cast members to chuckle. Shae corrected him.
“Coming to Atlanta is a no brainer,” Joseph said. “It’s the Blackmecca. It was a natural fit for me.”
Joseph said he tries to manage expectations but some would-be clients are just blatantly unrealistic. “I’ve turned down people because they’re chasing unicorns,” he said.
The Matchmaking Duo tried to collaborate with him when he was just doing his app and they felt he stole some of their ideas without credit. “They were snobbish as hell,” he said about them.
And Shae has a love/hate relationship with Joseph calling him on the show “arrogant and braggadocious” and mocks him for not being “certified.”
He said he thinks the women don’t want him around.
When he holds a party and invites the other cast members, the Matchmaking Duo find out that Joseph is starting a “matchmaking academy” that sounds suspiciously similar to what Kelli and Dana had just started. This is the drama leading into episode two this Sunday.
Ming Clark: Owner of Color Blind International
She focuses her business on interracial dating and most of her clients are men.
“I don’t feel you should limit yourself in terms of love,” she said.
She charges up to $100,000 so her services are clearly on the high end.
“The men do the choosing,” Ming said. “When men are ready to get married or settle down, they come to me and I know that they’re serious. Most of the time.”
She said her clients are accustomed to luxury and she sends them on dates comparable to what they are used to.
She will watch clients work with women to see how she can help them. During the first episode, she “breaks up” with a client she feels isn’t trying hard enough.
Shae throws some shade at Ming in the first episode, noting that she matches wealthy men to “exotic” women. “I’m not calling Ming an escort service. I guess if she is paying the bills and she’s doing well with it, then amen! ”
WHERE TO WATCH
“Love Match Atlanta,” 9 pm Sundays, Bravo and on the Peacock streaming service