Based in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Lara Asprey is hailed as one of the UK’s most successful VIP matchmakers, dating and relationship experts and entrepreneurs.
As a matchmaker, she has successfully matched numerous couples from high society and well-known celebrities.
Founder of Asprey Introductions, Lara has spent several years matchmaking her close friends and contacts, finding them suitable matches after recognising and pinpointing their struggles in finding a match. The agency offers a matchmaking service as well as dating and relationship coaching, life coaching, styling, photography and regular singles events in some of London’s most desirable locations.
For over ten years, Lara has built up an enviable ‘Little Black Book’ full of the most desirable and eligible singles around and strongly believes there is a need for a service catering exclusively to them, being careful in her process of selecting the members admitted to the Club.
In 2018 Lara starred in a brand-new TV show The Ultimate Matchmaker on the W Channel (UKTV) which first aired in August 2018. The show followed Lara, her agency, staff and clients on their journey to find love. It is the first and only high-end matchmaking show of its kind, specifically focusing on the lives and loves of the country’s most aspirational singles.
Lara’s multi-faceted career has led her to the world of publishing, signing a book deal with So Vain Books back in 2015, where she has incorporated her extensive knowledge of dating into a relationship advice book entitled The Very British Rules of Dating. The book focuses on coaching women in the UK how to navigate the turbulent dating landscape where men don’t talk to women and everyone is addicted to dating apps. It sets out to encourage tongue-in-cheek advice such as ‘getting better at banter’ and ‘the rules of rapport’.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I’m the founder and CEO of Asprey Introductions (previously known as The Sloane Arranger) which is a matchmaking agency based in London that helps the ultra-eligible and successful singles find love. The business started around 5 years ago and last year was featured on TV show ‘The Ultimate Matchmaker’ (on UKTV) which was such fun to shoot. I grew up in Sunningdale in Berkshire before studying Business and Marketing at University. I suppose I was always naturally very nosy and although not very detail oriented, I always got a buzz out of trying to do things differently.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
No, I coasted for a while in my 20s trying to figure out what I was good at and what I hated! I think sometimes having too prescriptive a plan can often lead people to miss out on being opportunistic which is so important these days. After graduating I had many different jobs in marketing and branding which gave me some good experience. I set up my first business at 26 which was a small branding and design agency and was even a signed songwriter and singer with Sony ATV for a few years so no it’s safe to say I didn’t have a plan!
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Yes of course. There are the obvious challenges that come with any business relating to sustainability and pushing for more turnover but there have been internal challenges too with regards learning how to keep your mind sharp and focusing on the bigger picture. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when you’re nose deep in smaller details – and when you start a business you’re IT, HR, Strategy and Sales combined. Being an entrepreneur can often feel like you’re constantly swimming against a strong tide for the first few years while you try to establish and prove yourself so perseverance and self-belief are crucial, as is reliance to knock-backs – as there will invariably always be a few.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
I have created a mini-human and she is by far my cutest and most wonderful achievement to date! I was never sure I would be very maternal as I was always quite career focused – never really feeling broody or that there was a right time. I often wondered if I would be able to be as good a mum to my little girl as my mum has been to me, but nature is amazing. I think it can be hard for women to know when to have kids and I can honestly say there will never be a perfect time but you will make it work.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
I think you have to be really hungry for success. Before I started my own business I was working in jobs which were perfectly fine, but which didn’t fulfil me or make me feel proud. I think in order to make a positive change in your life you have to be really hungry to do so, it can’t just be something you would ‘like’ to do, you have to be so hungry for that change that it almost becomes an obsession. I have also learnt that fearing failure is a good thing as it can propel you to work harder – so if you worry you won’t succeed that’s totally normal but use that energy to propel you rather than hinder your efforts.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
Yes, I think mentoring is wonderful. I have a few people I am starting to mentor now which I love doing. It’s often not about imposing your own views and opinions onto people but more about getting people to think in ways they might not have before. I didn’t have an official mentor so to speak but I do have a great network of trusted advisors who always give me good advice and who have helped me think things through when it matters.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?
I would like to see men have longer paternity leave so the playing field can be evened out when it comes to having children and more subsided childcare so women don’t feel like they can’t come back because of associated costs. Women also need to feel there are more flexible ways to advance in their careers as times change.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Think bigger and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. People often don’t go for the highest of heights because they assume there are so many people who are also competing for the top stop – but truthfully, I have learnt that the number of people who really think that big and go for gold are very few, so in reality the competition up there is tiny. You might as well go for it.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
There are quite a few things I am exploring at the mo; from setting up more international hubs of my business, to writing another book and launching a new podcast and dating app. I don’t like to think too far ahead but there are certainly lots of interesting things on the horizon.