Creator Of Private School Dating App Defends 'Elitist' Accusations
Lydia Davis, who created the Toffee dating app for people who were privately educated, admits it was a risky thing to do.
After nearly five years as a matchmaker, Davis sought to expand her work into the online realm, and said she wanted to find a niche to explore.
Enter Toffee -- the dating app exclusively for people who went to a private school.
After almost a year operating in the United Kingdom, Toffee launched in Australia on Sunday, after a three-week pre-launch period. While the app has already had thousands of downloads, it's also been branded 'elitist' and 'snobby'.
Davis claims that's not the case.
"I know it's a touchy subject, it's such a touchy subject in the UK, but we were like, 'this is dating, we want people to meet and to fall in love'," Davis told 10 daily.
The name 'Toffee' is itself a play on words. 'Toff' is a slang term to describe someone from an privileged background, or who exudes an air of superiority.
Davis claimed calling the app 'Toffee' sets the tone for a fun and laid back dating experience, not an exclusionary one.
"We try to be a bit jokey, we try not to take ourselves too seriously, we are not being snobby. It's more like if it's important to you and you want to fall in love and meet the right person it might something you should consider going on if you can," Davis said.
"For some people, their schooling was quite important ... that's something they hold strong to who they are."
Australia is the first place the app has launched outside of the UK. Davis said this was because a large number of Australians are privately educated -- around a third of current students, recent studies claim -- meaning there's a large pool of potential users interested in signing up.
There is a verification process involved with using the app, with users asked to be honest about where they went to school. Toffee's admins also check as many profiles as possible to ensure honesty, plus there is a reporting facility users can use if they come across a fake account.
"There are obvious mistakes as well. In a lot of fake profiles, people may say they went to an all-boys school but they are a girl ... so we are like, that's an obvious one," Davis said.
One of the app's features is called 'Social Calander' where users can list events they are attending, to see if their matches will also be there. In the UK, events include Ascot, Wimbledon and the Henley Royal Regatta.
There's also a graph that allows others to see where a person spends their time, including the city, the country, partying or at cultural events.
"We also have a perfect menu which I think the older people like, and the younger people kind of take the piss out of it," Davis said.
The 'Perfect Menu' allows users to list their ideal entree, main, dessert and cheese.
"When you match, you actually have something to talk about because with dating apps it's so difficult to get a connection, start a conversation and then meet," Davis said.
Davis said Toffee could possibly expand into the business or networking space, but they are waiting to see how the app fares in Australia over the next six months.
"We would love to think about that ... and find a way to create future opportunities, but we are still exploring."
Toffee is free to download, but if you want to become a member, it will set you back $6.99 a month.
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