The Association of Women’s Businesses in dialogue with Kathrin Grüneis
Founder and owner of the dating agency “freieherzen.ch” and member of the association:
Kathrin, what was the decisive impetus for you to take the plunge into self-employment?
I wanted to be independent, take my professional life into my own hands, make, design and shape something myself from scratch – from the idea to the realisation. My personal commitment creates added value for my customers. I actively accompany them on their journey to where happiness is at home, and my young daughter was also a decisive factor in my decision: I want to be able to organise my time flexibly and be there for her when she needs me. The third decisive factor was the fun factor. And that is overwhelming: I work a lot, efficiently and am fulfilled by my job.
How did you meet sceptics and what stumbling blocks did you have to overcome?
To be honest, I was the biggest sceptic myself. The idea had been lying dormant in me for 15 years, when I came to Central Switzerland as a Bavarian. And a good year ago, I took up the subject again, clarified the points in question, saw an opportunity in it and: Off we went. With a fresh logo, an ideal location and my personal manner, I made the seriousness of my company unmistakably clear. My critics took note of this with favour and are now fully behind me: “That’s exactly you!”
What is special about your business idea and what makes it successful?
Kathrin Grüneis: (laughs) Me. That may sound a bit over the top, but the success of my company is based on my personality – my charisma, my experience with people and my empathy. Over 20 years of relationship management have shaped me. Added to this is my professional approach: before two people meet via “freieherzen.ch”, I hold personal discussions about their ideas and interests. Only when both parties are in agreement do I release the coordinates. On request, I also coach before and after the date: I give tips on appearance, flirting behaviour, choice of clothes, etc. In addition to the usual matchmaking services, I focus on two particular areas: Single parents and singles over 55.
What tip would you give a female founder or established entrepreneur?
Never lose the sparkle in the eyes of the first founders. Every project needs passion, whether it’s uphill or downhill. The job has to be fun.
About the person
Kathrin Grüneis, 45, is the owner of the dating agency “freieherzen.ch” on Zurich’s Löwenstrasse. She is married and the mother of a young daughter. After studying business administration at the University of Augsburg and a stage at Goldwell in Paris, she started her career in the cosmetics sector at L’Oréal in Düsseldorf. Love then took her to Switzerland 15 years ago. There she worked in sales and marketing for various companies, mainly in the medical and pharmaceutical sector, such as Johnson&Johnson, Medela and Vifor Pharma. The main focus of her various activities as Relationship Manager was customer care.