Welcome Shalomoji friends to our weekly Shalomoji column where we interview Jewish influencers around the world to help inspire and support aspiring newbie entrepreneurs, creatives, and thought leaders.
For our very first feature interview, we are saying Shalom to Writer, Public Speaker, and Entrepreneur Margaux Chetrit-Cassuto. Cassuto discusses life as the founder of Three Matches (a Jewish match-making agency), and dives deep into offering a slew of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs ranging from marketing tactics, daily habits, essential skill sets and much much more. Check out the full interview below.
Q: Three Matches is described as ”a family-owned and operated matchmaking agency dedicated to connecting the most-eligible Jewish singles around the world. Tell us more about Three Matches for those who may not know.
A: Three Matches is a result-oriented matchmaking agency founded by my mother and myself over a decade ago. Today, we represent some of the most eligible Jewish men and women worldwide and have expanded to host charitable events, offer coaching and concierge services as well.
Q: How did the idea of Three Matches come about?
A: Like all good ideas, Three Matches was born out of necessity. At the time, online dating was leaving a lot of people jaded and creating more problems than it was resolving by removing intimacy and personal connection from the dating experience. Enter Three Matches with a 2.0 version of traditional matchmaking- bigger, better and more intuitive than ever before.
Q: Tell us about your role at Three Matches and what a day in the life looks like for you?
A: I am the founder, matchmaker, social media and marketing director, in-house psychologist and chief custodian at Three Matches. Like most entrepreneurs, I am practiced in the art of wearing many hats. My typical day starts bright and early reading emails from clients who went on their “first date” the night before. This generally lends me the motivation I need to take on the many tasks before me: be it meeting with prospective clients, coaching current members, advising on first date formalities or recruiting “most eligible” men and women.
My schedule and attention are constantly shifting to tend to the most urgent matters, but one thing remains constant, my days are peppered with meaningful social interaction (phone calls, face-to-face meetings, video conferencing, instant messaging etc.) and consequently, I am on an endless search for a power outlet to charge my collection of Apple devices.
Q: What makes Three Matches different from other Jewish dating sites?
A: Three Matches offers a personalized approach to dating. There is a limited amount of technology involved in an effort to put the heart and the humanity back in dating. I look after every last detail down to the dinner reservations to ensure that all my members need to do is show up and charm their match.
Q:What marketing tactics did you use to develop your loyal customer base/ create buzz around Three Matches?
A: Before Three Matches initially launched, I had a large base of eligible men and women ready to buy what I was selling. This was really a rare privilege and the effect has snowballed thanks to the results and word-of-mouth. At the end of the day, there is no marketing tool more powerful than a solid reputation.
Q: Aside from Three Matches you’ve had a plethora of entrepreneurial accomplishments, namely you’re the Founder and Director of Partnerships at the Ivory Bow Company, which is described as “a luxury subscription box and online boutique designed to celebrate women, the lives they lead and the milestones they mark.” For aspiring entrepreneurs, what skills do you believe are absolutely essential to become successful?
A: Every successful entrepreneur (at least as viewed by me) has a drive to make the world a better place and a feeling of responsibility that this task lies in their hands.
They are listeners. They listen to their audience, to the market, to those who came before them and they learn from everything they hear (and even the things they don’t hear.) Throughout the process they maintain a humble adaptability to accommodate whatever is thrown at them while never losing sight of their goals.
Q: Entrepreneurs know best that before success comes failure. What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
A: I’ve made many mistakes along the way and every day is a learning experience for me and an opportunity to be better than the day before. A failure in my eyes is only really defined by not learning from yesterday’s mistake. With that said, I can’t pinpoint a failure per se (that’s a very scary and absolute word), but I can say that I have revised the business model quite a few times to better meet the needs of my clientele.
Q: You have an extensive background with both public speaking and writing. In particular, you’ve written for a variety of publications, such as The Jerusalem Post, The Forward, The Montreal Gazette, Time Out Israel, Vulkan Magazine and many more. You’ve spoken at Segal Centre Young Leaders, Megan David Odom GA, Israel Bonds YP Division, and have led many other speaking engagements. Having strong communication skills (both written and verbal) is obviously essential in leading a successful business. How has your experience as a writer and public speaker contributed to your entrepreneurial success? How would you advise newbie entrepreneurs to strengthen their communication skills in order to reach a level where they feel comfortable with public speaking and reaching out to write for well-known publications?
A: Strong communication skills have served me well in every role I’ve ever played in my life. There is very little standing in your way once you are able to express what you want and effectively engage with the people who can give it to you. I think every professional who aspires to greatness (entrepreneur or not) should hone their communication skills through obsessive compulsive practice until it becomes second nature… and in the very rare case that practice does not make perfect, I think they should hire someone who has mastered the art.
Q: Do you have any daily habits, tools or business hacks you find useful to share with the Shalomoji readers?
A: I read tremendously and connect with many people from various walks of life daily. Books and people are my life hacks and my business hacks. They introduce me to non-traditional concepts in a practical way and often make me confront world views I might be less comfortable with; consequently guiding me to think more creatively and with a unique sophistication. I think everyone should visit opinions they don’t necessarily agree with and wrestle with them. This is a traditionally Jewish practice we learn from our Talmudic sages.
Also, in line with Jewish thought, I like to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and send heartfelt thank-you notes (or emails) often; as well as actively contribute to the community around me. Call me a unicorn: I’m a millennial who still believes in human social interaction. Furthermore, I think a business that does good does well too.
Q: Are there any books, blogs, or podcasts you recommend that you believe helped shape your success?
A: Truthfully, I consume anything I can get my hands on. Irrespective of the subject or language, I believe there is always something that can be learned and that in of itself can shape success. Of course, I have some thought leaders I am partial to and won’t miss a word they write like fellow Canadian, Malcolm Gladwell (on the topic of human interaction); NYTimes columnist, Nicholas Kristof (on humanitarian issues) and relationship and sexuality expert, Esther Perel. I also frequently visit Chabad.org for inspiration on everyday things as influenced by the Rebbe.
Q: Can you give readers an inside scoop of what’s next for Margaux The Serial Entrepreneur?
A: Right now, I’m in the midst of selling my subscription box start-up both to my pleasure and to my chagrin. It stings me to part with something I built with all my heart, but it brings me lots of pride to know that somebody else believes in the idea and wants to continue it and grow it. I will stay on in an advisory capacity but my entrepreneurial efforts will mostly be concentrated on continuing to grow Three Matches, introduce as many happy couples as possible and eventually grow my own family.
I used to allow myself to be pulled in every which way and gave in to it spreading myself thin because of a chronic case of FOMO (fear of missing out) but with some maturity, I have come to understand that building an empire (and a personal life) are worth far more than credits on many smaller projects. Furthermore, it leaves me with a far more fulfilling sense of accomplishment too.
Q: We here at Shalomoji would like to leave our readers with a nugget of inspiration. What has been your greatest inspiration? Is there a particular quote, life motto or mentor you look up to that has given you unforgettable advice that you’d like to share?
A: My greatest inspiration is not a motto or a mentor (though I appreciate both) it’s a mentality that has pushed the Jewish people to strive for excellence throughout history and drives me: This translates as a relentless pursuit of education and social justice. It also means to lead a life and business according to our Torah values. Do this and success will almost naturally follow.