Lori Cheek: Taking Online Dating Back To The Streets!

Cheek'd, Spotlight, Lori Cheek, The Indie Chicks

Ladies, prepare yourself for a whirlwind in online dating; a revolution if you will! Lori Cheek has created a company that offers a truly unique, fun, and badass dating experience. We couldn’t be happier to spotlight her genius or her product. Listen up ladies, because you’re not going to want to miss a delicious detail of Cheek’d.

How did you come up with the idea?

Living nearly half of my adult years as a single New Yorker searching for Mr. Right, I saw something missing in the seemingly saturated online dating market—a human touch. One in five relationships supposedly start online. What about the other four? A few years ago, I was out to dinner with a friend & architectural colleague and I had excused myself from the table. When I returned, my handsome dinner date had scribbled on the back of his business card, “want to have dinner?” As we were leaving the restaurant, he slid that card to an attractive woman at a nearby table. {{{LIGHTBULB}}} It had happened to me a thousand times during my NYC commute—spotting that intriguing stranger on a train, in a café, crossing the street, at baggage claim, etc. and nearly 999 of them got away. Handing a business card could have been one answer, but I was entranced by the mysterious gesture of handing it to the object of your affection and removing the personal details included on a typical business card, which is simply too much information to hand to a total stranger. A person’s name on a card, alone, could potentially lead you to their front door in a matter of minutes.

My solution to the problem would apply a personal approach to online dating by moving the initial encounter offline with a smooth physical introduction. In May of 2010, I launched Cheekd.com—my solution to the 999 missed opportunities I’d personally experienced. Shortly after launch, the New York Times proclaimed, “Move over, Match.com” and coined Cheek’d as “the next generation of online dating.”

What was the process like for you from concept to product and launch?

The Saturday afternoon after coming up with the idea of Cheek’d, I gathered a group of friends at the Soho House, added many bottles of wine and we spent the day brainstorming about lines, designs and ideas for the (soon to be named) “Cheek’d” cards. I continued this concept and branding process for a few months while working my full time job at Vitra, the Swiss/ German furniture/ design company. I’d never started my own business and struggled with the actual “business” side of creating the company. I found myself walking around in circles with this great idea for almost a year until I was introduced to my now Co-Founder at a party, who suggested we sit down the following Monday morning and bring the idea to life. We met, as suggested, and by the end of the week had a Business Plan and started the process of incorporating, patenting, trademarking, sourcing vendors, building the site, etc. Nearly one year after my initial meeting with him, we launched. We both had jobs through the entire process, so we couldn’t focus our efforts 100% on building the business. I left my job and started working full time on Cheek’d in November of 2010 and Locke followed at the beginning of 2011.

Cheek'd, Lori Cheek, The Indie Chicks, SpotlightFor those who don’t know about Cheek’d, what sets it apart from your typical online dating experience?

Despite the soaring popularity of online dating, there’s one inherent flaw: You never really know whom (or what) you’re going to get. Cheek’d introduces real-life spontaneity to online dating.

Everyone knows that men and women tend to exaggerate their social merits on online dating networks and Cheek’d provides a way to reverse engineer the process. You see someone attractive, you make eye contact (or perhaps even offer a wink), then you hand off the card; its easy, adventurous and risk-free. We see it as a refreshing alternative to online profile browsing—instead of heading home after work to search for love online in complete solitude, you can start the process as soon as you set foot out your office door.

The cards also offer a real purpose and advantage to other online dating sites and expand a subscriber’s dating opportunities beyond the pool of people registered with an online dating service. By bringing the social aspect back into dating and moving it from your computer to your everyday life, Cheek’d is giving it’s members an opportunity to leverage technology without completely depending on it.

You offer a unique experience that allows for a face to face meeting, and attraction, before the online profile viewing. Do you find people are more open to using this form of “online” dating?

After launch in May of 2010, I saw Cheek’d as something that would be popular in bustling metropolitan areas. Two years later, we’ve shipped to customers in 47 states in America and 25 countries internationally. It seems to be taking off all over the world and utilized by all kind of personalities who fall anywhere between extremely extroverted and intensely introverted– it works for everyone. The cards are also non-gender specific so can be used on anyone at any time and anywhere in the world. Cheek’d definitely makes introducing yourself to an intriguing stranger less intimidating by combining the charm of witty, old school calling cards with the power of the Internet. We feel that the initial (in-person) chemistry can’t possibly be replaced on line.

Your site offers a level of safety and security that is really reassuring. Do you have people who come to you for that reason specifically?

I’ve definitely had customers utilizing Cheek’d for safety purposes. Cheek’d allows members to capitalize on a fleeting social encounter without exposing personally identifiable information. Subscribers can’t be cyber-stalked in advance and unique codes for individual cards prevent creepy exes from prying.

Do have a favorite Cheek’d story or love connection?

I’d have to say my favorite Cheek’d story to date would be the personal Lori Cheek’ng of Hip-Hop Mogul, Russell Simmons, which immediately got picked up in the New York Observer where they proclaimed that “a new method of courting has been catching on among the social set: Cheek’d.” Read the article here.

What are your fun and flirty suggestions for how to pass the card? What’s the most badass way you’ve heard of a card being passed out?

One thing I love most about doling out these cards is that one doesn’t have to stick around for any type of rejection; whether they’re gay, married or just not interested, you really have nothing to lose except a card. I also look at it as a “tag, you’re it” kind of game for single adults. I love the technique of just slipping one as you pass someone going the opposite direction on an escalator or as the subway/ elevator doors close. Half of the messages I get in my Cheek’d inbox mention the word, “intrigued.”

My other favorite method is to just slip it into someone’s pocket for them to find later. I dropped the “our fate is in your hands.” card into acclaimed French Documentary Filmmaker Gedeon Nedaut’s coat pocket while he was on a seemingly boring date and this was the message I got in my inbox a few days later: “Not sure if this is a joke, nor how and when I got a card with a link to your page, but I am of course intrigued. Meet me at the Whitney Museum Sunday at 3pm. 5th floor. –Gedeon”

Do you ever have Cheek’d date nights or live get-togethers?

We have Cheek’d Parties once every couple of months in NYC. We’ve done them in a few other cities, as well. The events are basically an after work happy hour where everyone can get a mini deck of five cards, get signed up and start getting Cheek’d at the events. Our next NYC event, Cheekdtoberfest, is scheduled for October 23rd and everyone’s invited!

Cheek'd, Spotlight, Lori Cheek, The Indie ChicksWhat is next for Cheek’d, any big plans for the near future?

Cheek’d 3.0 will be a mobile experience allowing members to select and send virtual Cheek’d cards. These virtual cards will act as a tool for users to “break the ice” with a level of privacy via their smartphone.

Of course we want to know how our readers can sign up if they are interested. Is there a 200 question personality test?

Unlike the exhausting process of filling out a typical online dating profile, the Cheek’d Profile takes about 5 minutes. Users can upload only one pic and answer 9 questions such as “Most Played iPod Song, Last Passport Stamp, Favorite Board Game & Daily Fuel.” Since Cheek’d clients “shop in real life” and have very brief written profiles, they avoid both the bait-and-switch and lengthy back-and-forth common to many dating sites. The reality is (in most cases), you’ve already seen each other, so we’re giving you the opportunity to re-meet online, find out a little more about one another and hopefully soon take it back offline in the form of a date!

Do you pay for using the website or just for the cards themselves?

For a nominal fee ($20 to join), Cheek’d users receive their online profile and a set of 50 cards – each with a different phrase – and a unique ID number to direct those who receive the cards to the online profile to learn more about the card giver. Your first month’s service comes with your initial deck of cards. Each month thereafter, the fee is just $9.95. Trial decks of 5 cards are also available for $5 and also include your first month’s service. You can even customize your own deck of Cheek’d Cards (in any language) to say whatever you’d like to say for $25.

We’d like to offer your readers a 50% off deal on any deck of Cheek’d cards with coupon code: “INDIECHICKS”

Thank you, Lori! I, as a single Indie Chick, will be taking advantage of this sale. Be on the lookout, gentlemen, Jewels has cheek’d cards! 😉 

You can also reach Lori and Cheek’d at the following social media links.





Julie Zantopoulos

Julie Zantopoulos

Julie is Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of The Indie Chicks. She's working on publishing her first book, a collection of short stories, and writing a young adult novel series. Other loves include whiskey, the Flyers, and anything LOTR, Harry Potter, or Young Adult Lit. Don't be shy about following her on Instagram or emailing her to discuss contributing to The Indie Chicks.

  1. I love this idea! I can’ tell you how many times I’ve been out somewhere and saw someone that caught my attention but I had no real way to approach them or to let them know I’m interested in that moment. This would be a fun, innovative way to be a little ballsy without boxing someone in, let them have the option to find out more or to pass without the personal “rejection” type feel. It’s like a warm lead vs. cold calling…more sales/dates come from warm transfers any day of the week!

    1. Exactly! I love the idea of seeing somebody first, of feeling the attraction, and then having fun slipping them cards in unique ways. I see my friends and I with cards playing a truth or dare type game with them and having fun being flirty. I LOVE it. I have a trial pack…have yet to use them, but I will keep you posted. I may just use that discount and get some more. 😉

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