School friends Matt Wilson and Joe Murley, who grew up in south Bristol, are the brains behind Datemakers. They connect Bristol’s loved-up couples with innovative date ideas that are a massive step up from a drink down the local. They’ve got more than 55 bookable dates from independent businesses, ranging from a go at glass-blowing to a private aerial silks class, via graffiti workshops, wine tasting and golf lessons.
In just over a year, they’ve grown their business from pipe dream to busy website, and have big ideas for the future. Here’s Matt to tell us more:
Hi Matt! So, tell us, where did the idea for Datemakers come from?
We had the idea after a hazy night at the Coronation Tap. We were talking about impressive dates, and the only suggestions we could find were expensive restaurants or expensive cocktail bars. We’d also taken a keen interest in marketplace start-ups, and thought why not create a marketplace of date ideas? So that’s what we did, all in an attempt to ease date night planning and mix things up a bit!
When did you officially start the business?
We launched the first version of the website in early 2017, although it was very clunky. After securing a small amount of funding, we were able to relaunch the site in July and have been sending couples on dates ever since.
The biggest challenge we faced in the early days was that people assumed we are just another matchmaking website. We don’t matchmake: we just make the dates.
Why did you want to target Bristol’s independent businesses with your dates?
Bristol is the city we call home, and we are extremely lucky to have the variety of amazing independents that we do. Our job is great because we get to show off the best of the bunch, across lots of different sectors. The food and drink scene is obviously booming with increasingly creative concepts, however that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Have you had any disastrous dates or demanding clients?
We once had a couple in Clevedon booking our Ukulele House Party date (where you are taught a few tunes in the comfort of your own home). The problem was that Ben, our uke guru, had no way of getting to the date. To cut a long story short, Joe picked him up from one side of Bristol, chauffeured him to Clevedon, waited for almost two hours while the date was taking place, then chauffeured him back. It was a five-hour round trip, but a successful date night! When we say we help organise these dates, we really do get stuck in.
Let’s get personal now. What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?
Since we started Datemakers there have been no bad dates, obviously! Our worst dates date back to a time long before such a convenient website. Ironically, as founders, we don’t have much of a personal dating life, but we have sampled lots of our dates together. The bromance remains strong!
What have been some of your highlights so far?
The best part of starting Datemakers has been getting couples to try things they would never usually do. So far, we’ve hosted 48 different date activities, ranging from blending your own gin to vegan afternoon teas, or afternoons spent knife- and axe-throwing. We’ve also run some entertaining competitions with previous prizes including a two-night stay to Paris for two, where we had to set up a Parisian date night. Currently, we are running our #Bristol2Berlin Christmas competition which is set to be epic.
What’s next for Datemakers?
We are committed to delivering quirky date ideas and the plan is to continue doing just that. The aim is to become the go-to destination for couples looking for things to do for two, one city at a time. Brighton is next on the hit list, but Bristol will remain our HQ and the city we hold dearest.
What’s would be your dream date?
With the upcoming cold spell, I would say the dreamiest date would have to be our couples’ massage. It’s an on-demand massage service, so there’s no need to leave the house, and a bit of zen time is just what the doctor ordered.
Book dates by visiting www.datemakers.co.uk. Bristol24/7 readers get £10 credit by using the code ‘B247’
We’re currently looking for singles to go on blind dates for our print magazine, which are organised by Datemakers. Get involved by emailing email@example.com