Motivated by her own marital break-up, and wanting to help decrease South Africa’s high divorce rate, she quit her job at the Merebank Secondary School to practise being a life coach and, later, a matchmaker.
Naidoo can now boast of matching more than 700 people, and her passion for matchmaking has turned into a full-time career. Her target group comprises high-end professionals and chief executives.
Her matchmaking and life-coaching service is called Next Level Up.
“When I attend networking events and people ask me what I do, I respond that I’m a matchmaker and they are just blown away. While some may think there is no need for matchmakers in modern times, it’s surprising how many people need help with their relationship choices,” said Naidoo.
She started to matchmake almost 12 years ago and depended mostly on referrals.
“I got divorced because my ex-husband and I started to become very different from each other. We no longer wanted the same things in life. This led to an amicable divorce,” said Naidoo.
Her own experience made her realise that many people divorce because they make the wrong choice when choosing a life partner. This set her out on a mission to meet like-minded people.
“Life became extremely lonely and I found that, other than work colleagues, I was quite isolated. I began to wonder where people go to meet people of the same calibre as themselves. I realised that there must be thousands of others exactly like me - good people who have a lot to offer the right person but have no idea where to find them. That’s when I realised that I could offer a service to help people find their ideal partners,” said Naidoo.
“At first, I charged a pittance for my service. When I later turned it into a career, I had to have a structured plan in place,” she said.
Naidoo charges her clients R1000 to draw up their profile and R500 per introduction. She doesn’t charge people upfront, but only claims a fee once the couple have paired for their first meeting. “And unlike your online dating services, I will personally meet with an individual first. This decreases the possibility of people being scammed. On meeting the individual, I draw up a profile of them,” said Naidoo.
The profile includes their basic details such as their age, height, religion and weight. “Then I look a lot deeper. I ask them questions relating to their values, their life goals and their history,” said Naidoo.
On completing the profile, she adds the individual to her database and then pairs them with compatible individuals on her database.
“Once I’m confident that the two people will click, I immediately inform them of each other. I exchange their profiles and a meeting is set up. My job ends at the point that one of them enters into a relationship,” said Naidoo.
In an age of social media and technology, one would think that there would be no need for such a service, but Naidoo disagrees. “I’ve been there and did the exercises for myself to see how it works. Sometimes people don’t even know if it’s actually the person they think they’re talking to online,” said Naidoo.
Being divorced for 18 years, Naidoo had difficulty playing Cupid for herself but this doesn’t bother her.
“I was in a long-term relationship and it ended. I’m still searching for my own partner, but this will have nothing to do with my matchmaking services. I’ll never date anybody who comes to me for help. It is only ethical that my career and personal life remain separate,” she laughed.
In between trying to save marriages or starting new ones, she is confident that her Mr Right will pop up soon.
“It’s only a matter of time,” she said. “I believe that everyone deserves to be loved and adored, to experience that kind of great love that inspires you to live your best life. The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives,” said Naidoo.