GLR Spotlight is an interview series featuring Matchmakers, Dating Coaches & Relationship Experts

Global Love Report – June 26, 2024
Interviewed by Global Love Report

Global Love Spotlight was created to feature some of our industry peers as a way for our community to get to know one another. Learn from what has worked successfully, as well as gain different perspectives and insights into various business strategies. We hope to continuously grow as an industry together by sharing these best practices with everyone!

Global Love Report Interview 

Tammy Shaklee

We’re thrilled to present an interview with Tammy Shaklee, a leading LGBTQ+ Relationship Expert and President of H4M Matchmaking, one of the top LGBTQ+ matchmaking companies in the US. In this interview, Tammy shares her insights on being a matchmaker who focuses on LGBTQ+ clients, shares memorable success stories, and provides advice for niche matchmakers just starting their businesses.

Global Love Report (GLR): What is the name of your company?

Tammy Shaklee (TS): H4M Matchmaking

GLR: What is your niche?

TS: LGBTQ singles coast to coast in the US, ages 20s to 80s, mostly serving gay men and lesbian women, as a niche within a niche. Where we can refer to other LGBTQ+ matchmakers if they are a better fit.

GLR: What is it like as a matchmaker focusing on a specific niche such as LGBTQ+ clients? How does it differ from other matchmakers who don’t focus on a niche?

TS: I feel honored and take seriously the opportunity to match in a community I am not even a member of. As a lifelong straight ally, I wanted gay and lesbian singles to have the same quality experience I had when being matched to my husband of 15 years. The offline matchmaking experience was professional, sophisticated, very private, discreet, and well worth my time with quality introductions of singles I would have never met on my own. I wanted to bring that to the LGBTQ community by being a professional and objective observer.

GLR: What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced as a matchmaker? And how did you overcome it?

TS: Initially, I wondered if gay and lesbian singles would trust a straight ally team to introduce them. I interviewed gay and lesbian singles for more than 5 months, one-on-one, through focus group interviews, to design a company for them, them. By truly engaging in the LGBTQ community through volunteerism, sponsorship, leadership, membership, and leading with love and giving, I felt fully invited and welcomed to provide a service that had not existed for them before at the time. We have been doing this now for 12 years.

GLR: Can you share some of your favorite success stories with us?

TS: While the majority of our clients prefer privacy, we do have some couples who have been thrilled to share their stories. Danny and Willie in California shared their preference to meet a man locally, ideally of a different ethnicity, and a bigger and professional guy like themselves. Their wedding was a wonderful fusion of Danny’s Jewish heritage, and Willie’s Asian and person of color culture. When I attended the InterPride Gala in LA, I was invited to their new dream home to celebrate the introduction that changed their life forever.

We also have lesbian couples who are married after meeting during the pandemic lockdown. Most of our clients agreed to a Zoom introduction for their first date during that time, so those couples first started getting to know each other through a virtual and remote method, as they now enjoy their dream homes in the same city.

GLR: Do you have any advice for niche matchmakers just starting their business?

TS: I absolutely recommend a layered approach to rolling out niche matchmaking services. For example, I focused only on gay men in our home state of Texas to first become successful.

Once that was established, we branched to serve lesbian women. We then branched out of Texas to major cities. We now serve singles in most of the states in the US and have interviewed gay singles in 23 countries, while we only match when they are in the US.

GLR: What approach do you use to understand the evolving dynamics within the LGBTQ+ dating scene?

TS: We learn from our singles. All day, every day, we are engaging with and communicating with thousands of the most eligible singles in the country. While we can read the trends, and engage in the LGBTQ community, we are professionals who learn from actual stories and testimonials of real-life experiences.

After a dozen years, our singles often feel more secure in dating publicly, and even being introduced in all parts of their city, not just the gayborhood of years past. Since the passage of marriage equality, we continue to see growth in the comfort of all things same-sex dating, with truly blind dates, no photos, even for some of our clients who are newly out or coming out of hetero relationships after having done the work.

GLR: Since you specifically focus on LGBTQ+ clients, what are your main concerns about their needs or wants in dating nowadays? What advice would you give to matchmakers who want to specialize in LGBTQ+ matchmaking services to address the community’s specific concerns?

TS: Privacy is a most important component of our business model. We may have singles who are not yet out in their workplace or industry. Or not out with specific family members, or publicly. Each of those details is our responsibility to respect and protect.

Our personalized coaching has helped change lives as well. We are very careful in a small community where a lot of singles may already know or know of each other. Our due diligence to make sure they do not already know each other is imperative. And our protection to make sure we do not out someone is something we protect daily. 

Subscribe to the Global Love Report newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest news about matchmakers and dating coaches!


Wish to be Featured?

Contact us: [email protected]