We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Rosenberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I come from the mindset of “if you can help, you should.” And when I was in my 20s I figured out I had a knack for matchmaking. I was responsible for spawning romantic relationships, a marriage between a close friend and a work colleague who is now also a close friend and not to mention a ton of friendships…. and hookups. Though it sometimes got tricky navigating the fall out if it didn’t work out, I got a lot of satisfaction from bringing my friends “closer” together. Five years ago or so, when I heard from a bestie that a friend of hers (who I didn’t know personally but was also in the entertainment industry like me and had the high-profile job of assisting Seth MacFarlane) was trying to set her up and had her own matchmaking side hustle, my initial reactions were, “That’s brilliant!” and “Why didn’t I think of that?” So instead of setting up a rival shop so to speak, I decided to track this person (Jaydi S. Kuba) down and manifested us being business partners slowly but surely once I started sending her a number of clients. As much as that might sound like a well-thought-out plan, everything came together and grew organically and now we have a blossoming business together. In general, I liked the idea of having the umbrella of a business for setting people up, since that could purposefully grow the number of people I was setting up and foment more results than if I was just working with my circle of single friends, which was large but setting up people with a bit more intention, actively seeking out referrals and teaming up with Jaydi’s immense network would spark more matchmaking success. And it has! Also, a mentor of mine Nely Galan always encouraged me to have a side hustle outside of entertainment because show biz is so unstable. And now with the pandemic, those words ring truer than ever before.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
On top of being a TV producer, I co-run a matchmaking side hustle with Jaydi Samuels Kuba. What sets us apart from other matchmaking services is that our price point is much more affordable and yet the quality of matches is extremely high since we are invite and referral only stemming from our huge social and professional networks. Our service is basically like a friend setting up a friend but on steroids because our pool of clients is so vast (at this point we have referrals of referrals of referrals) and we put a lot of thought into the matches. That said, two yentas are better than one, and the power of our partnership also differentiates us. Jaydi and I often have spirited debates before we land on a potential match, and our clients are better for it. Because Jaydi and I work in television, we also specialize in entertainment professionals who have devoted most of their adult lives to their careers as opposed to their dating lives, so we understand the nuances of their lifestyles. However, our business and database has grown exponentially from when we joined forces five years ago, so now around 40% of our clients are outside the traditional entertainment industry. We really nurtured our business slowly and strategically. We raised our prices incrementally and commensurate with the breadth and quality of our database. We didn’t rush it because we wanted to meaningfully build our reputation and reach while offering a fair fee. In terms of the matches themselves, we believe there are two types of matches. Matches we are super confident about, and matches that are more wildcard or out-of-the-box in nature but we feel we’d be doing our clients a disservice if we didn’t introduce them and have them decide for themselves. So there’s a range. Most people don’t end up with someone who checks off ALL their boxes, and we try to navigate what a client thinks they want versus what WE think they need, and what’s a dealbreaker versus what’s a strong preference. Of course, the bulk of our work is the actual matchmaking, but there’s also the customer service piece, which I wasn’t totally prepared for when I first teamed up with Jaydi. I thought everything was going to be roses and butterflies and love love love. So if I received a complaint from a client (even if it wasn’t specifically directed at me), it could ruin my evening or (true story) my own baby shower. When we make an introduction, we go into it with the best of intentions… we are attempting to spark lasting love within our LA community. So when those intentions, in some instances, get twisted by human behavior we can’t control, it can be frustrating. Things can get raw and intense when you’re dealing with the most important and intimate part of someone’s life – their future life partner. As opposed to internalizing the criticism and stewing, I’ve learned empathy and a more personal approach can go a long way as can embracing feedback (both positive and negative) as a learning opportunity. Though I also think it’s important for us to determine what’s truly constructive feedback versus nitpicking because there simply wasn’t chemistry. In the same vein, it helps that we have vastly improved as matchmakers from our five years of experience as an official business, so we have refined our “craft.”
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m the worst tour guide! This might be because I’m from LA, and the vast majority of my friends are in LA… or maybe I don’t have friends outside of LA BECAUSE I’m a terrible tour guide. To be clear, this is stuff I would PERSONALLY want to do with a friend (I think that’s the point of question?), as opposed to considering what this hypothetical bestie would want to do because they might want to do touristy things and I’m not exactly down with that. It’s probably even clearer now why my social circle is LA-focused. Ha! Places to go: The Hollywood Sculpture Garden in Beachwood Canyon, The LA Reservoir, Bergamot Station, San Diego Zoo Safari Park (if they’re here for a week, you better believe we’re taking a trip!), Natural History Museum of L.A. and California Science Center (they’re right next to each other so we can bang them both out in a day!), Santa Monica Flea Market, A Current Affair or Pickwick Vintage Show (vintage expos), Museum of Death in Hollywood, House of Intuition for some fun, impromptu psychic readings / Eats & Drinks: Brent’s Deli in Northridge is a must! House of Pies, Sage Vegan Bistro, The Butcher’s Daughter, EP / LP, Petty Cash Taqueria, Margot for the rooftop Formosa Cafe, Rainbow Room and Jones for the nostalgia factor, Badmaash Hugo’s, Jitlada, Wally’s (preferably bar area) / Once we get sick of going out and order take out instead: Three Signature Salad Combo at M Cafe de Chaya and Vegan Reuben at Locali. Is this enough? Are they still going to be my friend when the week is over?!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Sandra Leviton, who was my first friend at the Paradigm Talent and Literary Agency, where I cut my teeth in the entertainment industry. She is the most supportive-of-women woman I know. There was definitely a hazing process when I started in the mailroom there and Sandra always provided guidance and encouragement, and when I was in a bind personally or professionally, she always knew what to say to compel me to carry on… or when in doubt, I’d come over to her place and we’d carve Jack-o’-lanterns and forget about our worries (well, mostly MY worries). Towards the end of her tenure at Paradigm, we sat next to each other, which brought me much joy. Pretty sure if I screwed something up she would tell me something to the effect of… well, you smoothed it all over with your charm, and not everyone can do that. We have consistently helped each other immensely over the past decade and some change but haven’t ever technically collaborated professionally until recently when my husband and I invested in her YA thriller film with a feminist bent, Student Body, because we believe in her and the project with every fiber of our being!!