Paige Mastrandrea Paige Mastrandrea | May 7, 2021 | Culture People Lifestyle People Feature
Through time, more and more dating apps have proven that they can, in fact, create love between two people spurred from a bond over digital communication. However, many are often hesitant to jump on, or even admit to using them. Or, they haven't yet found one that appeals to them and taps into what they're looking for. Starting as a half-joke and turned into a real-life, thriving business, Lox Club Founder Austin Kevitch shares his own personal experience with dating apps, why he hated them and how Lox Club is changing the game for the better. Here, we chat with him to learn more about The Lox Club, which recently hosted its first in-person event in Miami, and his top five favorite date night destinations in the city.
What was the impetus behind launching Lox Club?
I was going through a breakup and in that ‘let’s try meditating and journaling but I’m too lazy to actually do it’ phase. I’ve always been anti-dating apps, and I guess I hit rock bottom because I finally decided to try two of them but they felt so forced and cringe. Everyone is embarrassed to admit they met their partner on a dating app (my friends lie and say they met at Erewhon or the gym). I remember thinking “wouldn’t it be cool if there was a dating app that didn’t take itself seriously?” And I’m at that age where my grandmom bugs me, “when are you gonna bring home a nice Jewish girl?!” So as a half-joke, I made a website called “The Lox Club: an exclusive dating app for Jews with ridiculously high standards.” There was no app behind the website but a bunch of people shared it on their Instagram stories, and then COVID happened and a couple thousand people signed up so we actually built the app, and somehow here we are.
Why is it a unique dating app?
Members have to apply, get accepted and know the secret password to get in. It’s designed like a secret speakeasy hidden inside an old-school deli (see @loxclub Instagram for the full back story). Once inside, it feels like more of a community than a dating app. There’s a “matchmaker” feature that I think makes us especially unique. Members text the matchmaker their type, such as: “I’m looking for a brunette guy over six foot who lives in Miami and has a sense of humor”; or ask for profile advice like: “which profile pic do I look best in?". Everyone’s surprised that it’s a real human texting them back. Our mission is to help people find love in a non-cringe way. We also just launched virtual and in-person events, COVID compliant, of course. As a note, Lox Club is like a deli—culturally Jewish, yes, but anyone can enjoy it!
What has been the reception?
Surprisingly good. We didn’t expect it. Startups typically get 6-18 months to tweak their product until it finds a market fit and some never do. For better or worse, the first version of Lox Club resonated with people and we’ve been playing catch up. Our membership committee reviews every application, and we’ve received over 50k applications, so it’s a ton of work. That said, we feel super grateful to even taste success this early on—it’s obviously a good problem to have. The couples who reach out saying they found their boyfriend/girlfriend/partner through Lox Club make all the stress and hard work worth it. There’s even a Lox Club pregnancy! Am I overwhelmed sometimes? Definitely (it's 4:31am as I'm writing this). But I try to remind myself that it really is just the beginning. We have some wild and crazy ideas planned for the future and Lox Club is just the tip of the iceberg.
For those who are hesitant to jump on a dating app, what would you tell them?
Cool, me too. I created Lox Club because I was making fun of dating apps. Everyone on our team comes from the perspective of “yes, we know dating apps are cringe,” so every new feature, experience or event we launch has to first pass our ‘eye roll’ test. If you don’t take yourself too seriously, this is the app for you.
Top 5 best date night spots in Miami?
Casa Tua, Amara at Paraiso, La Mar by Gaston Acurio, Mandolin and Juvia.
Photography by: Photos by Lindsey Kevitch