Whitney Wolfe has three loves: her work as the founder of dating app Bumble (which has changed the way women approach the online dating scene, and she has the emails to prove it), her three dogs (two great Danes and one golden Lab), and skin care. In fact, she is happy to confess that she spends 45 minutes on her nightly routine, which involves no less than 30 products.
When it comes to the app—which Wolfe launched in 2014 after co-founding and leaving her biggest competition, the hugely recognized and often criticized Tinder—Wolfe’s message is clear: women have all the power. Bumble is, in essence, the same dating app that you’ve used before, except that women can send a message first (and she only has 24 hours to do so). Consider it the same as spotting a cute guy in a bar (or hiking Runyon Canyon, surfing in Tulum, or making you an almond milk cappuccino at your local coffee shop), locking eyes with him, smiling, and having the confidence—or in this case, the easy tool— to go up and say “hi” first. “When I started the app, my objective was—and still is—to make women feel comfortable and confident. I didn’t like that our society works to make women feel powerful and confident in the workplace and in their daily lives, but when it comes to dating and relationships, the message is that they shouldn’t be too forward or sleep around or approach dating the same way that men can,” explains Wolfe. “It creates this unfortunate and destructive society, not only for millennials, but for the whole dating community. So that was my big issue with it. In my personal life I’m so confident, but when it came to dating I always felt like a piece of meat, which became this weird, back handed, never ending cycle of bad. So I wanted to create a platform that says BS on that expectation.”
Hence, Bumble was born. While Wolfe drew on her experiences from her time at Tinder to create the app, she also looked back to her own relationship dramas. “I’m extremely fortunate in the fact that I have a wonderful boyfriend who is very pro-women, and is all about women being treated with respect,” says Wolfe. The pair met the old fashioned way though, when he clipped the back of her ski’s while the pair were skiing in Aspen. “He had a lot to do with the psychology of Bumble and taught me how screwed up some of my past relationships were,” explains Wolfe. “I know from first hand experiences and the emails I now get, that women weren’t receiving the same treatment in the dating game as men.”
Wolfe’s approach to dating though, seems more like what you’d expect from your pretty, confident, popular-with-everyone older sister. Not only is she beautiful and chic, but she doesn’t shy away from how awkward the dating scene is, “no matter how often you’ve chatted on the app, it’s always awkward when you meet someone in real life,” she says. When chatting with the golden-haired founder it’s easy to imagine that she’s definitely the go-to source for her girlfriends when it comes to dating advice. Her online Bumble community only clarifies how true it is, with hundreds of emails poring in to Wolfe’s inbox (she gets over 1200 emails per day), about how the app has changed their dating experiences and made women more confident. “I even had a guy write to me thanking me for introducing the app,” she says. “He talked about how he was a really sensitive guy, but he felt like he had to be this macho man because that’s what society expected of him. But through Bumble, he felt like he could be more himself and open up, showing his sensitive side.”
In a world where communication, technology, almost weekly tech updates and lightning fast innovations jostle to co-exist with real life situations such as dating, romance, women’s issues, politics and simply existing, Wolfe’s message is one of positivity and encouragement. After all, before beginning Bumble she was all set to launch an app called “Merci,” which focused on positivity and kindness, a place where women could go to experience positive online behavior. She also promotes girl power within—most of the people who work on Bumble are women—which is somewhat of a tech world anomaly. But as Wolfe says—and proves every day— Bumble forces you to own it.
By Tara Lamont-Djite for Semaine
First Date Starter Kit
Ring tassel leather keyring
How to choose a partner (The School of Life)
Cheek to chic swish and pop blusher
Metallic Textured Wallet
Tinted Peach Balm - Peach
Tips to succeed in online dating
"You should start a conversation with as many guys as you want and let something come from that. It’s like being at a bar and talking to different groups of people.”
“Try asking a clever question, something that shows you take an interest in what they have.”
“Be true to yourself. Try to present yourself in an authentic way.”
“I think it’s funny to call out the awkwardness versus trying to say, ‘Oh, it’s sunny outside.’”
"ASAP! It’s never going to be more awkward than it is in real life, so why even sleep on it?"
Whitney's Guide to the Perfect Date
“It could be fun to break the ice in a lively space like a bar that has different types of spaces or maybe even meet in a botanical garden, taking a walk, so it’s a different experience. I’m a fan of staying away from the nightclub and doing things that make you feel good as an individual. Let’s grab a coffee and then go for a walk. Something that’s active and fun breaks the ice.”
“A concert, or a really fun music thing. Going to see a fun show together is always great. Taking a bottle of wine, a baguette, a couple of blocks of great cheese and having a picnic in a beautiful park. Or else something unique like cooking a meal at home or finding out their favorite restaurant and creating a fun, home cooked meal based on their favorite dish.”
Racquel silk-charmeuse maxi dress
Fabulous Vanina clutch
D'Orsay leopard-print calf hair and patent leather pumps
+ Agent Provocateur embroidered tulle underwired bra
+ Agent Provocateur embroidered tulle underwired briefs
Asymmetric knot necklace
“Go to an exhibition or gallery, a comedy show to test each other’s sense of humor or a vintage bookshop and look through old books together.”
“Soho house if you have membership, or a member’s only club. I think if you’re a woman then you have the power move going to one of those places. Head to a really cool bar that offers mixology, so you can sit and try out cool, new drinks. A cooking class dinner is also a really fun activity to do together.”
The Pre-date playlist
24 Hrs with Whitney Wolfe
"I wake up and pretend to be sleeping because my boyfriend gets so angry that I’m up so early and so ‘up and at ‘em.’ So I turn the brightness down on my phone and I send about 100 emails before six or seven AM."
"We have two great danes and a white lab so we get up, make coffee, take them for a walk and play with them. For breakfast I’ll have a coconut milk and about 100 shot latte. I’m really healthy and trying to eat really clean so when I do eat something I’m sticking to vegan soups and salads."
9AM UNTIL EVENING
"From nine I’m pretty much on my email working all day. I get thousands of emails. I probably average over 1200 emails a day. I’m heading up a lot of different teams within the company so we have marketing, back end development, we have finance, and beyond that we have a lot of general inquiries that I’m dealing with."
"I spend 45 minutes on my face routine, I’m a product and facial addict I’m very into the 30 process evening routine. I’m not big on makeup but I’m big on skincare. I love the Biologique Researche p50."
"I try to be asleep by about 10:30pm. I have not watched a TV show in about five years to be honest."
iPad mini origami smart cover
Hooded waffle-knit cotton robe.jpg
W - silk eye mask
Charge and sync cable
Decorative metal crocodile clip
REBOOT Pear Yuzu
Inissia Xn100540 Coffee Machine By Krups - Red
Ballpoint pen refill in medium black
Whitney's go-to apps and digital reads.
Music streaming service
Time out app