We try to do well sharing our love with others, but how often do you nourish your relationship with yourself? You deserve your own attention as much as anyone else!

Today we speak with Josephine Wear and Emily Holmes Hahn from LastFirst, a bespoke matchmaking company, about the important role self-love plays in the world of dating and relationships.

Splendid Spoon: Hi Josephine & Emily! Tell us about yourselves and what you do at LastFirst.

Emily: Hi Splendid Spoon! I founded LastFirst to merge my experience working at a big-box dating agency with my experience working in fashion in Paris. I saw a gap in the market for an intensely personalized, discreet, and chic matchmaking service, with a limited clientele and high matchmaker-to-client ratio.

Josephine: I started working here as a Services Associate (learning the nuts and bolts of the industry) and Concierge (with my own background in hospitality). I’m now the Network Director of our New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles branches. My typical day is so varied: I coordinate matches, attend events, plan parties, interview women and men, and hear all the juicy date gossip. Making a great match is both addicting and fulfilling.

SS: How can we stay empowered and true to ourselves in the world of dating?

E: Stay light-hearted about it and look at each “failed” date as a growing experience. Also, remember that if you’re 100% true to yourself on a first date (in terms of your outfit, conversation topics, what you order to eat, etc.), and there’s no connection, then that relationship was never meant to be. However, if you play games or try too hard to impress your date, and you then don’t connect, you’ll be left wondering if the “real” you could have been a match!

SS: What does self-love mean to you?

E: Self-love is taking frequent “me time”. For me, it’s choosing to leave my apartment an hour early to walk to work. I put in earbuds with my favorite songs, stop in a cute new spot for coffee, and don’t accept calls or look at Instagram until I get to the office! I’ve started doing this every day, walking through NYC, from Tribeca to the Flatiron, and it’s changed my life.

I’m also working on saying “no” more to social activities. Choosing to stay home, declutter, do a face mask, and catch up on my favorite shows, rather than keeping up with every event in my calendar, is an act of self-love.

SS: How do you create the perfect first date?

J: We take a bespoke approach to each date experience we create. Our questionnaire allows us to get a thorough sense of our clients’ individual dating personas: What’s their drink of choice? Where’s their favorite place to travel? When do they feel most themselves? By asking both obvious and non-obvious questions, we learn when, where, and what allows this person to be their most confident self, and “give a good date,” as we like to call it.

SS: When matchmaking you look for people’s unique beauty and characteristics. How do you find a partner for them who’ll enhance and highlight these qualities?

E: There’s no formula to our process, it’s highly intuitive! It could be the way someone sits, how they react to a sudden noise, the types of jokes they make… It’s all in the little “je ne sais quois” that make them unique, which an app can’t detect.

We also discuss what a client’s “perfect match” might look like to him or her, and what’s worked in the past. These tangible qualities can be extremely helpful!

SS: What do your self-care rituals look like?

J: I’m quite discerning about what goes in and on my body! Reading ingredient labels and knowing what’s in my food and skincare is so important for my self-care. I also indulge myself with a bi-weekly massage.

SS: What one thing should you always do on a first date?

E: Follow the 2:1 rule. For every two stories or facts you share about yourself, ask your date one thoughtful question.

J: Say thank you! Express gratitude and have a positive attitude.

SS: What are your favorite pre- or post-date self-care rituals?

J: Pre-date, we recommend yoga, the gym, or anything active! While getting ready, light a scented candle and turn on a great playlist. Always give yourself the same finishing touches such as a signature lipgloss or perfume; it’s nice to have your own ritual.

Post-date, we advise a big glass of water before bed (cocktails or not!) and thanking your date via text regardless of your interest. It’s good karmatic protocol.

SS: Dating can be challenging and exhausting. How do you think dating empowers women?

J: I think it’s all about how you approach the date. Make it an opportunity to learn and meet someone interesting. If you move through the dating process (and life!) with that mindset, you’ll never be disappointed!

E: Agreed! Also, be authentic, share your best stories and funniest jokes, and wear your “I know I’m hot” outfit! You’ll love yourself more and more with each date.