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Sharing the love
When Mayumi Shugarts and Aaron Muller first met at a trade show several years back, the couple had largely given up on love. Shugarts was handing out T-shirts and the two exchanged playful jabs.
“I was at a point in life where I personally felt like I couldn’t fall in love again,” said Muller, whose first marriage ended after 11 years. “I’d date, but nobody really intrigued me.”
Both had been married, divorced and were raising children of their own.
“I can show you blogs that I was writing, I was so jaded,” recounts Muller. “Then two weeks later I’d met the love of my life.”
Now their love story is the inspiration behind a new dating service. Engaged and working out of downtown Bellevue, Muller and Shugarts last month launched Make It a Great Date.
“We call ourselves headhunters for love,” says Shugarts.
Rather than competing with dating service behemoths like Match.com or eHarmony, the couple hopes to distinguish themselves with a commitment to local, personalized matchmaking. Make It a Great Date provides three main avenues to love: an online profile, bimonthly events and in-person interviews and advice, including makeovers and a photo shoot.
At its core is the Myers Briggs personality test, an assessment of individual inborn preferences and traits that the couple feels will help their clients navigate not just their romances, but their relationships with friends, family and coworkers.
The couple says their best asset though, is their own experience, that of the “modern family.” Shugarts is 45, and Muller 39. She is half-Japanese and half-black. He is Caucasian.
Shugarts is a former Ms. Washington and spent years modeling, running home businesses and later as a single mother. Muller calls himself a “serial entrepreneur,” having spent the last 20 years as a business broker. And when the couple marries in two weeks, they’ll have a blended family with five children: 4, 8, 14, 16 and 19.
Relationships, Shugarts and Muller agree, are complicated, particularly when life has already taken off and couples may be doubtful about love the second time around.
“We have so many friends that give us the same horror stories about their dating experiences and have met many people that stay in unhappy relationships just because it is convenient,” they say. “We wanted to have a personalized matchmaking service that really delved into personality traits and [helped] with navigating through what those traits mean when being in a relationship with that person.”
In February, Make It a Great Date hosted a sold-out launch party at Suite Lounge. The couple says it’s too soon to share success stories, though the response from members has so far been positive.
In the meantime, they’re busy planning their own celebration.
“We’re getting married in two weeks,” says Muller, “So we’re trying to focus on that.”
You can visit their website here.