What’s your backstory?
Sierra & Sally are in charge of marketing, strategy, PR, product development and user experience at Sweet Pea, a dating app designed in opposition to the “hot or not” swiping mentality of online dating. The app gives users social context, like being able to match with people who have similar interests like “Art”, “Business” and “Food”, and giving both men and women the opportunity to initiate conversation. The app now has real-life stories of people meeting and marrying thanks to Sweet Pea, and it’s only been around since late 2016.
What’s your backstory?
I started my own marketing & PR agency in Australia and ran it for a couple of years before deciding I wanted a new challenge. I was tossing up between going back to university to study engineering, or relocating to the US. In late 2017 I made the decision to move to LA – I don’t think I have the patience to go back to the classroom at the moment! I now run my marketing agency in LA and work with Sweet Pea as head of Strategy. Moving to a new country without a network of support was challenging, and I was looking for ways to find like minded people and experience my new city.
I connected with Sierra (Sweet Pea’s CMO) and Michael (Sweet Pea’s Founder) and realised we were both trying to solve the same problem in different ways – How can you recreate the experience of meeting people in real life, online, without it feeling like some kind of “hot or not” gamified interaction? When we meet people in the “real world” we’re surrounded by context – if we’re at an art show, we can talk about the art. If we meet at work, we can have a conversation which isn’t immediately focused on courtship, if we meet in a social sports league we can bond over a common interest. When I learned about what Michael & Sierra were developing, I knew this was the kind of thing my friends and I were looking for.
I moved to LA from Arizona and was working in music after I graduated. I met Michael Bruch, Sweet Pea’s Founder, and we connected on a lot of the core values that help Sweet Pea differentiate itself. We both wanted to create something long-lasting, that helped social engineer dating in a different direction – less about endlessly swiping and feeling disconnected from human interaction, and more about creating a digital social space where it feels like meeting in real life. I was also new to LA, and had used different dating apps my friends had recommended.
While I’d had some good experiences, I was feeling fatigued at the endless swiping and I didn’t love the thought of dating in my 20’s and only using the currently available apps as my way of eventually meeting someone I liked. Meeting Michael and helping develop his idea was really exciting, because I’m working to create something my friends and I would actually use – not something owned by a big corporate monopoly which designs their experience profit off people’s frustration.