Seven brides for seven brothers? No problem if you’ve got the cash.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a number of Indian men who were in arranged marriages.
But I never knew anyone who’d married a mail order bride.
There are plenty of them out there, though. In 2007, there were 16,500 mail order marriages in the U.S. alone. (Source: Business Week.)
A lot of those brides came from Thailand or the Philippines. Others came from Russia or the Ukraine.
And some of them came from the Czech Republic, many (paid) courtesy of Joseph Weiner, a Wharton MBA from NYC whose second career (after investment banking) was entrepreneurial. He founded Hand-in-Hand, which matches fellows with marriage on their mind with Czech women.
"Every guy wants a beautiful younger woman," [Weiner] explains. "It's the nature of us."
Let’s face it, as the Hand-in-Hand web site tell us:
In the 21st century, more and more women are deciding to focus on their careers and other interests rather than settling down with a successful and interesting man. However, the advent of introduction agencies such as HAND-IN-HAND can make the dream, which many men aspire to, of having a beautiful, educated, reasonably younger and unique woman by your side a REALITY…This program is designed for single men looking for a true life partner who is beautiful, significantly younger, educated, is unspoiled by feminism and whose culture is one of support & respect.
In its 14 years in a business apparently unspoiled by feminism – which, lets face it, has spoiled so very much for so very many - Hand-in-Hand has grown from a single outfit, to a global empire with 30 satellite offices in the U.S., Western Europe, and Abu Dhabi. These offices are franchises – the franchisee having paid Hand-in-Hand $16K for the privilege of….
I was definitely a bit confused here, trying to figure out what value-add a franchisee could bring to an on-line matchmaking business.
But, sho nuff, you can get an answer to pretty much anything – possibly excepting the meaning of life – by a bit of a google. So on FranchiseClique, I learned that Hand-in-Hand franchisee make their $16K back:
1. By selling our services to men in your territory.
2. By offering our packages to travel agents in your own area, and getting an override on all the business they do with us. We are the only company that has a package that allows you to walk into travel agents and do business, so you have little or no competition.
3. By offering our services to the huge gay population. We are the only agency that facilitates the introduction of men to younger, handsome men in Eastern Europe. It's not incumbent on you to sell this service but it is a very profitable part of our business and comes with the franchise package and free leads at no extra cost.
Okay. Other than #2, I still don’t complete get how the franchisees make money, other than acting as a middle man to someone who couldn’t find his way directly to Hand-in-Hand. Does Hand-in-Hand hand-in-hand over the leads that come in from the franchisee’s territory, and have them work them, up close and personal? Point #3 does mention “free leads.” Whatever.
All I know is that Weiner’s sold 30 of them to folks interested in:
…potential profits of $250,000 per year for an initial investment of as little as $16,000, and the
opportunity to own a franchise in an interesting and glamorous industry that you can operate from your home or small office.
I’ll grant them that this is an interesting industry, but, ah, I’m having a hard time seeing how trafficking in humans is all that glamorous – even if all the women that get trafficked do, actually, look like the glam girls on the Hand-in-Hand site.
And they are all girls. The franchisees who want to work with the gay community must get a secret handshake link to the site where the glam boys are.
Needless to say, where money changes hands in exchange for human beings, there’s bound to be some controversy, and because of some nasty business associated with international matchmaking,
… the U.S. passed the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA). The statute requires background checks on U.S. citizens before communication via the matchmakers.
Okay. That somewhat protects the mail order brides themselves. What protects the prospective bridegrooms from getting scammed?
Perhaps it’s working with an agency like Hand-in-Hand that is respectable enough to have been profiled in Business Week.
Whether Hand-in-Hand is on the up-and-up or not, they do have a way with words.
Beautiful Czech women and Prague women are the cynosure of all eyes. They possess all the essential qualities that men desire to have in their life partners. It is a dream of every man on this planet to meet gorgeous Czech brides and make them their soul mates... The beauty of Prague ladies lies not only in their sensual look, but they are at the same time adventurous, highly literate, well-acquainted with modern gadgets and courteous with deep respect for family values and traditions.
Who says marketing people exaggerate? (“It is the dream of every man on this planet….”) Who says marketing people don’t know how to use big words? (“…the cynosure of all eyes”). Who says marketing people never get the technical facts straight. (“….well-acquainted with modern gadgets”).
And who says marketing people have no sense of humor:
If you want to join the mounting list of males who are mad to meet gorgeous Czech brides, then open the doors of eternal love and happiness- Contact Us. (Italics mine.)
And lest you think that these Czech lovelies are gold-diggers, we are told that Hand-in-Hand is not only about women who are unspoiled by feminism, but who are similarly unspoiled by the rampant consumerism that has undeniably tainted the world, never more so than in the last several decades:
Keeping materialism at bay, these attractive ladies as prospective brides believe in serious relationship full of love and commitment.
These gorgeous Czech women are interested in men they don’t know who are twice their age, as opposed to Czech fellows their own age, and it has nothing to do with materialism?
As for seven brides for seven brothers? At $2K per capita, that’ll cost you $14K if you don’t bother with the trip to Prague, but just have the brides delivered F.O.B.
For another $2K, you might as well go ahead a buy a franchise.
Labels: interesting business