We had the good fortune of connecting with Mel New and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mel, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
It started when I was a student at the University of Arizona and I joined a campus ministry that I loved but I didn’t want to date any of the guys there. I knew some friends in a different campus ministry that I was interested in, but I didn’t want to leave the ministry I was currently involved in. I think God gave me the vision for, what is now IYKYK Dating, one day when I was walking to class. The vision was all the singles from Christian ministries getting together for one big party so they could meet each other. Little did I know that vision would become reality 10 years later when I overheard, my now co-founder, Stacia say “I want to start speed dating”. We met the next week, made a promo video, and had 90 people signed up for our first Christian Speed Dating event. It wasn’t our plan to make it into a business, just a way for Christian singles to meet. We had such positive responses that I realized it was filling a need in the Christian community. Since we could only max out our speed dating events at 30 people, someone suggested we host a mixer to allow for more people. Although I was hesitant, worried that we wouldn’t get enough people, our first one was a huge success and IYKYK Dating now runs mixers regularly!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
IYKYK Dating bridges the gap between The Church and single Christians by hosting fun and engaging in-person mixers. In addition to these organized events, we equip singles with practical guidance and easy-to-follow communication scripts to help navigate the confusing ”dating” phase of a relationship. Our core values are honor, integrity and clear communication, and we have a strict “no ghosting” policy. The idea of our events is to gather the local singles from surrounding churches within a city together to meet each other in a low-pressure, easy way. There are always even ratios of men to women and we max out each event at 75 women and 75 men. We provide snacks, drinks and fun ice-breaker games so there is never an awkward moment! Our end goal is to host two separate mixer events, three times per year in every major city in the United States with two different age ranges: 22-32 & 32-43′
I got to where I am today because I believe it is what God planned for my life. God knew better that I did that this business is uniquely suited for the talents and gifts that I have. I have worked in corporate America, odd jobs, and even created a different business (after getting laid off due to the pandemic). This business, above all else, has flourished due to God’s hand in every aspect of it. I will be honest though, it hasn’t been easy because there isn’t really a road map for this industry. I personally don’t know any other companies that run large scale singles mixers .. especially Christian mixers. The reason being there are so many dynamics at play, dating hesitation, past relational wounds, to even sometimes doubt around if “God wants me to do this”, along with egos. You have to be strategic, network a lot, and be very present on social media. Our primary mode of advertisement is social media. As I’m sure you know social media has its challenges, including the second half of our demographic, Christian men, aren’t on social media .. due to their desires to keep purity a priority. We have a hard time getting the word out to Single Christian men. Also, there is a natural assumption that Churches will get on board with the vision for IYKYK but there are a lot of leaders at church want to make sure they’re sending their peers to legitimate organizations that align with what they are teaching at their churches. When you just start off with only a few thousand followers you don’t necessarily look very legit.. It is a pain point for IYKYK Dating because we feel like we have so much to offer and its hard when people wont give you the time of day. Recently we are seeing more growth on social media – instagram and tik tok, which is amazing. We have had influencers, pastors, and even dating apps reach out to collaborate with us. We have seen a positive change over the last few months and look forward to continuing that trend!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First stop is Breakfast at Morning Glory, then walk around the Farmers Market in Little Italy, then head to Coronado and rent bikes and ride around the Del and the beach, go to Henry’s for lunch and after go get a popsicle from the Sundae’s at the Del, digest a little and then go get a burrito from La Pearla in Point Loma then drive to sunset cliffs to watch the sunset while you eat burritos. Watch the best sunset in the most beautiful place!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to dedicate my shoutout to Stacia Brundage, the cofounder of this company. She is one of the most versatile, hardworking, and efficient people I know. This company would have never started without her by my side. She’s pursuing her career in real estate in San Diego, so if you’re looking for a new house…you know who to call!