This Basalt-based matchmaking service wants to help you find love
Around eight years ago, Gabriella Aratow, the 48-year-old founder of a Basalt-based matchmaking business called Keeper Introduction Services, was visiting her mother in Telluride and ended up going on a date with an Aspen man she matched with on Tinder.
On one of their dates, he gave her a grand tour of the Roaring Fork Valley, starting in Aspen with his favorite bar, Hooch, followed by his favorite farmers market in Basalt and even where got his tortillas in Carbondale.
While she didn’t find a long-term relationship with her date, she did fall in love with Aspen.
Now she’s helping others find love through her matchmaking business, KIS, which launched in 2020.
“I tell people, the thing about dates is you don’t know what’s going to come out of them,” said Aratow. “I did not find my romantic partner from this date. But I did find my home.”
Before starting the company, Aratow lived in California and worked at the talent agency William Morris, which underwent a merger that ultimately led to her losing her job. She realized working with movie stars wasn’t the career path for her and from there spent two years unemployed, while she taking care of a sick family member.
On a visit to Telluride, she helped her mother, who was in her 70s at the time, set up a Match profile, and Aratow herself began digging through the trenches of the online dating world.
She came across a site called Tawkify, a national matchmaking company. Right as she was about to start a profile for herself, she decided to reach out to the company to see if she could get employed.
“I’m about to sign up for this company, when a thought crosses my mind, which is that I had been out of the workforce for two years taking care of somebody who was sick in my family,” said Aratow. “I thought this is probably not a really good idea to be putting things on my credit card when I don’t even have a job. At the same time, I felt that this work itself was very much in my skill set.”
The company did wind up offering her a job, which carved out a career path she didn’t see coming.
“It all started in my mother’s basement in Telluride,” said Aratow. “It was just one of those instantaneous ways that my entire life turned on a dime.”
Aratow worked for Tawkify for four years before launching her own company. With this, Aratow joined the Global Love Institute and the Matchmaking Institute, which helps connect matchmakers in the country, who in turn connect clients with potential mates.
“I felt that I knew how to relate to people who were single extremely well because I myself have had a lot of experience being single,” said Aratow. “The good, the bad and the ugly — I know what people are going through.”
The concept of matchmaking may seem old fashioned. However, the pandemic left singles who were looking to date in a digital labyrinth, and a resurgence of matchmaking services began taking off, according to The New York Times.
The pandemic, in confluence with vast swaths of media representation of matchmaking — “Indian Matchmaker” and “Million Dollar Matchmaker,” to name a couple — aided in the rise of matchmaking services, according to The Times.
In addition, the labor that goes into online dating can be vigorous and can ultimately lead to burnout, according to BBC. There’s also the issue of there being too many online dating applications (perhaps like Tabby, a dating app for cat people.)
Aratow said singles can think of the dating world like the finance world, meaning having “multiple streams” of dating platforms, like having multiple streams of income, can improve the outcome of your investments.
Meaning that putting yourself out there on multiple platforms may lead to more introductions. It could also lead to higher rates of burnout, which is where matchmakers come in.
According to Aratow, some of the main reasons singles may seek matchmaking services is after they’ve found that online dating is getting them nowhere. Or perhaps they’re a “high profile” individual and for that reason, they don’t feel comfortable taking part in a public dating app like Tinder.
Curious about matchmaking? Here’s how it works:
With Keeper Introduction Services, there are two options available to singles.
The first option is free — a single person can create a profile on the KIS site, entering a “date-abase” of singles. This network is not public facing, though Aratow may share your profile with clients or other matchmakers.
If you’re in the database and Aratow shares your profile with a client, she will then reach out to you to tell you about the client she has in mind and may set you up on a date, with your permission, of course.
The other option is to become one of Aratow’s clients. When you become a client, she begins actively searching for an ideal match for you. With this, she may look at her “date-abase” or reach out to other matchmakers to see if they have a client who may fit what you’re looking for in a partner.
When you become a client, you’re receiving a “luxury” service, according to Aratow. With this, prices vary and can come with up to a five-figure price tag.
Most of these types of contracts are for six months and come with one or two introductions a month, said Aratow. In addition to finding matches, Aratow helps clients plan their dates and follows up with both parties to see how everything went.
“In the world of the marketplace of matchmaking price points, I would call myself fairly squarely in the middle. There are less expensive ways to go, like It’s Just Lunch, which is cheaper,” said Aratow.
“But I also feel that those kinds of services, they’re a little bit like dating mills. You’re not going to get kind of the level of quality of using a boutique matchmaking service like me,” she said. “Then there are boutique matchmakers who are significantly more expensive than I am charging, in the 80, 90, 100K price range.”
According to USA Today, some matchmakers do charge clients between $100,000 to $250,000 for their services.
To accommodate clients and their economic circumstances, Aratow attempts to work with individual clients based on their financial situations, she said.
Who uses matchmakers?
Aratow said she has helped clients of every race, religion and socioeconomic background. The typical age range she sees are singles in their late 20s up to singles in their 70s.
While she is based in Basalt, Aratow has helped singles from all over the country in their quest to find love.
While she has helped many in metropolitan areas, ski towns tend to be her bread and butter.
“I would say if there’s any kind of niche I’m known for in the matchmaking world, I’m sort of known for what I would call outdoor fitness type of people,” she said.
To Aratow, a successful match doesn’t always mean love at first sight. Aratow measures the success of a relationship in simple terms — helping her clients find someone they enjoy passing time with.
“The way that I’m defining success is I want to put two people out on a date who want to see each other again,” said Aratow.
To reach Kristen Mohammadi, call 304-650-2404 or email email@example.com.
Snowmass Tourism announced the appointment of Drew Welsheimer as the organization’s new sales group sales director. His first day was Jan. 26.