Rural Business Focus Podcast

Online Dating and Digital Start ups – meet the co-founder of Muddy Matches – Lucy Reeves

Lucy Reeves, co-founder of Muddy Matches, shares her journey of starting a niche dating site for people in the countryside. She discusses the challenges of starting a dating site in the early 2000s and the stigma associated with online dating in rural areas. Lucy emphasizes the importance of persistence and the need to manage expectations in a niche market. She also talks about the evolution of Muddy Matches, from being a community platform to focusing solely on dating. The conversation highlights the unique challenges faced by niche dating sites and the importance of staying true to their niche. Muddy Matches is a unique online dating platform for people who love the outdoors and rural lifestyle. The founders, Lucy Reeves and Emma Royall, started the business in 2006 and have since created thousands of success stories, including long-term relationships, marriages, and even babies. The success of Muddy Matches is attributed to its focus on a specific niche and its commitment to providing a high-quality service. The business has grown organically through word of mouth and has recently launched a mobile app to reach a younger audience. The future plans for Muddy Matches include further development of the app and potential expansion into overseas markets.


  • Starting a niche dating site in the early 2000s came with challenges and stigma, especially in rural areas.
  • Persistence is key in the early years of a startup, and it remains important even as the business matures.
  • Managing expectations is crucial in a niche market, where quality and quantity may be limited.
  • The evolution of Muddy Matches involved focusing on dating and letting go of other community features.
  • Niche dating sites face unique challenges and must stay true to their niche to differentiate themselves. Focus on a specific niche and provide a high-quality service to stand out in a crowded market.
  • Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and happy customers are the best form of advertising.
  • Be prepared for unexpected challenges and adapt your strategy accordingly.
  • Maintain a strong connection with your target audience and listen to their feedback to continuously improve your business.
  • Stick to what you know and do it well, rather than getting distracted by other potential ventures.

Image credit: Lucy Reeves, Muddy Matches. 

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