A Sweet Venture
BSBA Business Management and Entrepreneurship ’06
Co-Founder, Che Dolce
By Liz Warren-Pederson
Kari Trostler grew up in Agoura Hills, California, the daughter of an entrepreneur. But it wasn’t just watching him run his own business that inspired her. “My dad’s business is in the service industry, an adult day health care center,” she said. “He’s a good mentor, he is ethical and honest, and doesn’t take short cuts. He taught me that in a service business earning the respect and trust of your customers is critical to the success of a business.”
Trostler came to the UA to study business and honed in on management. According to Trostler, “in a small start-up business, good management requires a hands-on approach. It’s about people and being able to relate to people. You can hire a PR firm to do your marketing, you can hire an accounting firm to handle your accounting, but as the manager of your company, you’re involved in everything.”
After graduation, Trostler stayed in close touch with college friend and eventual business partnerMeredith Fiori, who holds a degree in psychology from the UA.
“We started working on business ideas,” Trostler explained. “We’re both creative but have different backgrounds that complement each other.”
In 2009, they launched a boutique-style matchmaking service, Che Dolce, which means “how sweet” in Italian. Their goal is to match commitment-minded individuals in the Los Angeles and San Francisco area with highly compatible partners. Soon they will be launching offices in several other metropolitan cities.
Fiori previously worked with a matchmaking service. “We liked the idea of that company, but not the execution,” Trostler said. “The goal was to impress the client; compatibility was not the first criteria used in making a match.”
“One woman said it made her feel like a product,” Fiori added.
“So we decided to not only focus on the men but the women as well,” Trostler said. “The idea is that both parties have to want to meet each other to make a good match. We spend a lot of time talking to both the men and women personally to really understand what they’re looking for and who they are looking to meet.”
“Matchmaking has definitely become more acceptable,” Trostler continued. “It wasn’t as talked about in the past, but now professionals are so busy, and it’s getting harder to meet quality people through the more traditional channels.”
Despite launching in a troubled economy, they’ve managed to get stable footing. “People are always willing to invest in something that means a lot to them,” Fiori explained. “Our service is for people who are looking to find a compatible partner and don’t have the extra time to do so. Some of our clients have spent ten years building their careers and establishing themselves or are recently divorced and realize they want to find a partner to share their lives with.”
For Trostler, the best part of the job has been working with the clients. “It is so exciting and feels so great when we get the phone calls from clients saying, ‘I really liked her!’” she said. “I’ve always pictured myself in the service industry, and I feel lucky to be making a living doing something I feel so passionate about.”