We had the good fortune of connecting with Erica Younkin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erica, how do you think about risk?
The risks I’ve taken in my life and career have really been about asking if what I’m doing is serving me. With work, that’s asking myself: Am I learning? Am I challenged? Am I valued? Am I being treated with kindness? If more than one of those things aren’t a “Yes”, then I know need to make a change. That comes with risk, but I’m less concerned about the end result as I am with how do I feel right now. Starting Match Me Cards® was a big time risk, but I knew the journey would have its own day-to-day rewards. It’s been worth it.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Q: What sets you apart from others? We designed our business to be different. We aren’t a dating app and we aren’t a matchmaking service. We wanted to give people a new tool to find romantic connections through their existing network. Match Me Cards® inherently is different. Q: How did you get to where you are today business-wise? I’ve been in marketing for over 20 years, which is mostly a supporting role, and I always had a desire to create my own product. I wanted to experience what it was like to lead from the beginning—the idea, the execution, and of course, the marketing. I also knew that I wanted to solve a real problem in a way that hadn’t been done before. Since I was single, and the dating tools out there just weren’t working for me, it got me thinking. After a lot of thinking, Match Me Cards® was born. Q: What you are most proud of or excited about? I’m proud that we’ve built a tool that brings the people together more. We want people to be involved in each other’s dating lives—to ask questions, to offer ideas, to make connections, to check in. We joke that Match Me Cards® is a permission slip to be set up, but it really is a reminder that we can’t do most things alone; that includes dating. It’s OK to ask for help, and to offer support. We need more of that in this world in general. Q: Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? It hasn’t been easy, but I knew that going in to it. I think not taking shortcuts and creating trust is tremendously important to overcoming our specific challenges. It seems simple on the surface—Use these cards to turn your network into your matchmakers. But, we’re asking people to change a habit and a mindset… and even asking them to be a bit courageous, so we need to create trust. Trust takes time and proof. In my career, whenever I’ve raised my hand to take on a difficult project, I’ve put in the time, I repeat the behavior. That builds trust. Q: What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story? Speaking from my own dating experience, Match Me Cards® has really empowered me to ask my peers for help. It’s provided me an opportunity to be vulnerable and to have more meaningful conversations. I like to lean in to personal growth, so it’s given me a reason to do that. It’s also made my dating experiences so much more enjoyable. I’m not walking into first dates knowing that we both swiped right on each other. Instead, it’s like OK, our mutual person thinks we should connect. Let’s find out why.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My best friend from childhood really did come visit with her family from Florida a few summers ago. The itinerary, much like theirs, would start with a show at Red Rocks—with pre-show food from Pizzeria Locale, plus a stop into a dispensary. The next day would include a stroll down Tennyson Street with lunch at Vital Root. Then a half-day rafting trip through one of the nearby canyons, followed by après drinks at Bread Bar in Silver Plume. Then we’d pack our bags for a four-day trip to Aspen/Snowmass via Independence Pass… to enjoy the hiking, the wild flowers, the farmers’ market, and the prettiest bike path in the world. After one last stop to Maroon Bells, we’d head back down to Denver and relive our week over cones of Little Man ice cream before dropping them at Union Station to take the light rail back to DIA.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout is a group of people… and we’re all related 🙂 My family has so many entrepreneurs and smart business people in it—from my parents, to aunts and uncles, cousins, and generations before ours. Those are the people I turn to for advice and lessons learned. I’m super fortunate they are obligated to pick up the phone.
Erica photos by Christine Miller Card photos by 123rf.com