Name: Juliette Prais
Position & Company: Founder and Company Director, Pink Lobster Dating
Twitter ID: @LipstickLezzer
Can you give a brief description about Pink Lobster Dating and what it does?
Pink Lobster Dating is the first and only site for femme lesbian and bisexual women to meet each other, with professional experts and more. We are also all about the love — hence why we are called Pink Lobster Dating — lobsters mate for life!
Why did you decide to create the site? Was there a specific inspiration?
I was on the dating scene and finding it especially hard being a femme lesbian myself. Online I was often faced with a barrage of creepy men thinking I was not a real lesbian just because of the way I look. Also I was often surprised by the amount of distrust from other lesbians based on my appearance alone. When I eventually found someone and had a chance to reflect on my experiences the brainwave came to me. Why should other femmes not be able to have a more positive route to finding love, to finding their lobster?
When did you launch?
We launched our beta phase two years ago and continue to focus on developing the company technically as well as offering a more extensive service.
What platforms is PLD available on?
Pink Lobster Dating runs on all platforms and has a mobile version. Initially as a company we were very much against creating an app due to the lack of security. However, we are now developing an app, which will include high levels of security (like our website) so that women feel equally safe. I am still deeply concerned for other lesbians using other dating sites and apps due to issues with safety as well as a focus on how people look.
Do you feel your dating services cater to an underserved group of people?
Absolutely they do! First and foremost I created the service in order to enable femmes to find one another free from judgement both within and outside the LGBTQ community. Also, unlike other dating platforms, we are not all about the numbers. After all if we were, we wouldn’t have created a niche dating site. It is about the quality not the quantity or as we say “we trawl; you catch”! It’s hard work searching through tens of thousands of lesbian and bisexual women. Just because you’re a lesbian doesn’t mean you like ALL women… yes some people still believe this!In this vain we have an array of professional advisors that are available to support our members through the process, ranging from dating specialists, stylists, LGBT lawyers through to psychologists and even a sex therapist.
Due to high demand we have just launched our private matchmaking services too. There are often members who do not want to show their face online and find the process daunting. Our speed dating events also offer a chance to meet many femmes all at once.
Your dating site is designed to cater to ‘lipstick lesbians’. Does the site have any features that make this service exclusive to this group?
Yes our site is for “lipstick lesbians” a.k.a “femmes”. Our vetting process is strict, but only in order to keep out “men” (not that we hate men; we just don’t want to sleep with them). All members cannot see other members until their photos have been vetted by one of our lobster sleuths. However, and this is key, we have NEVER rejected a woman based on appearance alone! Being a femme is so much more than just about looks and femme women know this. Still, 99% of the women who have signed up to date do look girlie and feminine.
Who do you consider to be your main competitors?
Any dating site that allows women to meet each other is a potential competitor. Specific lesbian dating sites will always be direct competition. It’s important for us to stand out as different not simply on the fact that we are a niche platform, but also on what we are offering our members both on and offline.
What markets is PLD currently available in?
Pink Lobster Dating is available in the UK and the US.
Do you have any plans to expand into new markets?
Yes, we have emails everyday asking us to launch in different countries.
How many active users do you currently have?
We currently have thousands of women online. When you get to Pink Lobster Dating the women will already have self-selected as femme and therefore if you are a femme lesbian or bisexual woman seeking another femme you will have a much more enjoyable and successful time. We also have many more thousands of women and a significantly large database who attend our events as well as use our elite matchmaking services.
What are your marketing strategies?
What is interesting about any company primarily focussing online is that marketing strategies need to progress with the times. Still it’s important to all use old school marketing such as radio, magazines, newspapers and television.
Social Media is vital to our business. In fact nearly 40% of our new members are directly from Twitter. This is not just from the main twitter feed @LipstickLezzer, but also from other members of the Pink Lobster Dating team such as @emmaziff and @FemmeMeetsFemme.
SEO is so important in order to direct traffic to our platform especially as we are a niche site. Our blog and video channels help this. Also we have numerous bloggers who also have their own blogs and promote us through their own sites. Appropriate and relevant partnerships are a way of building communities and the LGBT world is all about community.
How do you monetise your service?
We are currently free for all members using PinkLobsterDating.com. There are various sponsorships, events and matchmaking. We also have strategies in place for long term monetisation including targeted advertising.
What plans have you got for PLD over the next year?
Currently we are in talks with various investment companies to expand the company significantly. We aim to launch globally as well as expand on our matchmaking services, and release our App. There is a Pink Lobster shop that we will be launching very soon featuring bespoke jewellery and other products.
Check out Pink Lobster Dating’s official site here.