David Ruffieux wants to make it clear that he does not sell sex. He considers that his 'edge'. "We do receive requests from clients for 'full sexual services,' and we have to turn them down," says Mr. Ruffieux. "That's the price of doing something different: We lose a market."
His Montreal-based company, Eva's Dream, does, however, provide escorts. Ranging in price from $250, for a night, to $12,000, for the weekend, his 15-employee firm will set people up for a date for almost any (professional) purpose. In the latest issue of Report on [Small]Business Magazine , Mr. Ruffieux explains how this business got off of the ground.
"The agency has been in operation for a year and a half," says Mr. Ruffieux. "I was a photographer, and one afternoon a male escort walked into my studio to be photographed. We became friends. He was a gay man but told me he'd occasionally go out with women. He explained that there were a lot of women out there who really didn't have time to be engaged in long-term relationships. Sex wasn't what they needed; what they needed was a date that could act normal and charming. They had demanding careers, and money, but their time was limited. Our idea was to provide these women with easy access to a list of great men who could be companions."
Mr. Ruffieux was here earlier to discuss the escort business - what's worked, what hasn't, where the market lies, and what the challenges have been.
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Rasha Mourtada, globeandmail.com: Thank you, David, for joining us today. You started Eva's Dream in 2007. What kind of response has your business gotten in that time?
David Ruffieux: We receive new applications from new escorts on a daily basis. We also have new members, ladies, who make requests and want to know more about our agency, almost everyday now. They contact us through an online form, and we provide them with a password and a username to view our list of escorts.
We started a year ago, and we got our first contract two months ago. However, that was predicted given the fact that it's a new concept, the market is small in Canada, and it takes some good word of mouth to promote our business. The next years will tell us where we go, and we are expanding our market to Europe, as we speak.
People seem to encourage us for challenging traditional attitudes about the escort business. We really seek to provide a service that is top of the line.
George from Kingston - Queen's University Canada writes: What kind of characteristics do you look for when hiring a new escort and what is the typical background of your employees (e.g. education, work experience, etc.)?
David Ruffieux: Our escorts have different backgrounds, looks and personalities, so there is not really a typical profile.
However, there are a set of characteristics that tell us if a guy has his chance to make it in this business.
Our escorts are not gym addicts but they are fit, do not smoke, do not overdrink and they keep themselves in good physical condition.
Some are well-educated (Master, PhD training) and they all have various careers (CEO, personal trainer) and life experiences, which makes them interesting to talk to.
They are aged between 20 and 60. Our escorts' attitude, enthusiasm and passion for life certainly make them stand out from the crowd.
They have general experience of and natural ease with women. They are fit, emotionally mature, well spoken and polite, honest and open-minded.
We like escorts who have lots of life experience and who have traveled. They must show confidence, not arrogance, must be good conversationalists and good listeners.
In short they must possess something the other guys don't have.
Greg from Nanoose Bay Canada writes: As a single adult, I would find it extremely stressful to enter a social or business event with a paid escort on my arm. First because I really would not know whether the person could handle the situation but secondly because I know I wouldn't be able to handle the situation. How could you explain the presence of this escort to friends, family and co-workers when you obviously have never mentioned their existence to them in the past. When does the lying start and when does it end? I would rather arrive with a good friend, a sister or on my own than go through this charade.
David Ruffieux: Some members don't have the chance to have a friend or family member at hand to go out with. Our members may want to experience something different with somebody else, among other so many reasons. I agree that some people are uncomfortable with the idea of taking a stranger out, even though our agency has already made the screening and validating part. We advise our escorts to meet our clients, if necessary, to get to know each other before the important event, and together, they review the script to prevent mishaps. The basic idea, is to promote a fun and interesting date with no strings.
Greg Smith from Ottawa Canada writes: I am sure you have heard this a million times but how does one try to become an escort/ I am 55 in very good shape and considered handsome (what I have been told). I am 6' 190 muscular and am college educated. I have had a very interesting life and enjoy conversation and spending time with educated intelligent women. Just wondering if it is possible. Many Thanks Greg A. Smith
David Ruffieux: Thanks Greg, it seems like your profile is closely what we are looking for at Evasdream. You seem to have the features that our members ask for. I would simply suggest you to give it a try and contact us!
If you wish to apply, follow the instructions on our website at: http://evasdream.com/become_escorts/escort_to_do.htm
We need two good photographs of you. You must fill out the application form so that we get to know you better. We will review your application and let you know within two weeks, if we need more info. The escort business can make you earn extra money, the hours are flexible, and you may meet great ladies.
Thanks again, Greg, for your interest.
Rasha Mourtada, globeandmail.com: That's all the time we have for today. Thank you, David.