If you’re looking for dating help, Dema Badr is ready to help. The Asheville native and entrepreneur has launched a new website, Modern Black Book, that offers her matchmaking services to help people connect.
With the help of an online survey and private parties and events, Badr plans to set up safe, successful dates with pre-screened, compatible singles. The approach, the opposite of “the exposure and insincerity” people find in online dating sites, harkens back to a time when people valued face-to-face meetings over swiping through photos and profiles on a phone.
The matchmaking service is something new for Badr, who has an extensive fashion background. She operated a women’s clothing boutique a decade ago in downtown Asheville and recently returned to town and opened a new shop, Scout Boutique, in Biltmore Village.
Ashvegas caught up with Badr recently to learn more how Modern Black Book works. Here we go:
Question: Can you tell me a little bit more about how Modern Black Book? It sounds like a combination of a personal service and online dating. How do you describe it?
Badr: There is actually very little online interaction with Modern Blackbook. The site is our first point of contact with anyone who wants to outsource their search for love with a very personal and human matchmaker. There is a 40 question survey on our site that gets you into the “blackbook”, providing us with everything from basic contact info to some thoughtful insights into your dating history and personal preferences. From there, service is completely personalized–no public profiles or insincere messaging–ever.
Q: Is Modern Black Book locally focused, or is it a regional/national site?
Badr: We are locally focused on Asheville and a 45 mile radius and cater to singles of all ages.
Q: Is Modern Black Book expensive?
Badr: What’s a reasonable price tag for true love? Modern Blackbook costs $60.00/month, and clients are asked to sign up for 6 month packages. The 6 month time frame helps facilitate our mantra “it’s not magic, it’s matchmaking”- meaning no overnight results–it’s a slow burn kind of process. We’ll get to know you, you’ll get to know your most datable self, and you’ll go on curated dates–where you could potentially meet “the one”.
Q: What demographic do you think Modern Black Book appeals most to? Is this a site for Millenials? Boomers? GenXers?
Badr: I don’t think Modern Blackbook appeals to an age demographic, as much as it does a personality type. If you value values and your privacy, and have had some not-so-hot online dating experiences, you’ll be attracted to this old-school approach to finding a modern relationship.
Q: What are your qualifications as a match-maker?
Badr: When I moved back to New York City from China in 2014, I worked as freelance manufacturing agent found a lot of free time on my hands. In a serendipitous way, I began working for Modern Love Club in my free time, under professional matchmaker Amy Van Doran, and instantly felt fireworks go off in by brain when I started working there. I think it’s what people mean when they say that they have “found their calling.” It married all of my social interests in emotional intelligence and intuition to my desire to be a bona fide do-gooder and love-advocate. When I moved to Asheville to open Scout Boutique last October, I figured that my professional matchmaking days were behind me. I quickly realized that the desire to find love and meaningful relationships is not geographically restricted, and that I could offer the greater Asheville area this amazing service that doesn’t exist here.
Q: How do you determine who becomes a client?
Badr: Unlike online dating sites, client’s don’t pay a monthly fee to be wished good luck with our service. Based on survey responses, a one-on-one interview, and completion of a background check, Modern Blackbook will determine if our services are right for our clients before encouraging them to sign up for a 6-month package.
Q: What’s one tip you can offer to someone headed out on a first date
Badr: Be present and embody the sincerity of a zero-expectations-in-search-of-pleasant surprises attitude! The first date isn’t necessarily the kick-off to a whirlwind romance, though it can be. It is primarily your way to gather enough information about your date’s personality that you can go home (practically sober and alone!) at the end of the evening and confidently determine whether or not you’d ever like to see this person again.