Interview: Creating a Dating App for the Sober Community

Global Dating Insights had the pleasure of speaking with Jessie Urvater, Founder of Club Pillar. She discusses how the platform is set to connect the sober community, and address some of the common misconceptions about a sober lifestyle.

Club Pillar is a membership-based dating app & brand, which looks to redefine sober dating & community. Ahead of its launch later this year, GDI spoke with Jessie Urvater to explore the platform’s origins, philosophy, and next steps.

GDI: Hi Jessie, wonderful to be speaking with you. Can you introduce yourself and tell us about Club Pillar?

I am Jessie Urvater. Born and raised New Yorker. 25 years old. I have been sober for five years. Club Pillar is the first members only dating application and community for sober and sober curious individuals. We offer a truly unique experience for our members: a boutique dating application with exclusive access to one of a kind events (depending on the membership model the individual selects). The core of the Club Pillar community is a members only dating app open to those looking for substance free companionship. Club Pillar caters to all types of sobriety: sober curious, lifetime teetotalers, sober, in recovery or ‘California sober.’

GDI: Why did you feel it was important to create this community space for those open to sobriety? Where do you see ClubPillar’s place in the online dating industry?

There are over 1,500 dating apps in the market, yet there’s a glaring gap in the market- a void for a reliable, trustworthy platform dedicated to helping sober and sober curious individuals find meaningful connections. 

The current mass-market dating apps are dominated by users who indulge, making them incompatible with the needs of the sober. You’ve got a match. They seem cute, they’re gainfully employed and their opener is decent. But after some back and forth you receive the inevitable message: “Let’s get a drink this week.” If you say you don’t drink they’ll wonder why. If you say you’re sober, they’ll assume you’re no fun. If you say you’re a recovering alcoholic, they’ll run for the hills. And no matter the response, they’ll follow up with the same question: “Why don’t you drink?” This sends you barreling down the road to TMI with a total stranger and rarely leads to a proper date, let alone a budding romance.

I’ve experienced these scenarios more times than I’d like to admit and I thought I had worked out some solutions: mysterious next morning job interviews, alcohol allergies, too hungover to drink. But these lies won’t fix the problem itself.  Drinking environments are still triggering. The people across the table are often uncomfortable navigating a night without booze. Modern dating is enough of a minefield  without having to treat your sobriety like an obstacle, So I decided to launch Club Pillar. Amidst the rise of the sober curious movement and the surge in membership clubs catering to wellness and lifestyle choices, the timing for Club Pillar couldn’t be more perfect. As more individuals explore sobriety or adopt a mindful approach to alcohol consumption, there’s a growing demand for platforms that align with these lifestyle changes. Club Pillar taps into this zeitgeist by offering a space where sober and sober curious individuals can connect authentically, free from the pressure of alcohol-centric social norms.

By combining digital dating with real-world events, Club Pillar not only meets the needs of today’s health-conscious consumers but also provides a timely solution for those seeking meaningful connections within a supportive community. I believe Club Pillar caters to today’s increasingly health-conscious consumers seeking genuine offline experiences. It bridges the gap between digital dating and real-world events, catering to an underserved community seeking meaningful connections sans alcohol-centric environments. 

GDI: Do you feel that sobriety is misunderstood? Is changing the perception of sobriety part of your mission statement?

Absolutely. As part of our larger mission, we believe that the only way to encourage more people to explore sobriety within contemporary  western society’s  value system is to manufacture an inspirational lifestyle associated with abstaining from use. Most efforts to encourage sobriety have struggled to resonate with young people because there remains perceived negative social status consequences to sobriety- however, if this perception can be changed, interest in sobriety will increase- in fact, we want to create a net positive social status gain from being sober or sober curious.

GDI: Can you tell us about some of your plans to bring people together? How will members of ClubPillar be interacting with one another?

We plan on bringing members together at our in person activation which range from speed dating in ice baths, sober retreats, dinners, cooking classes, parties, and more as well as on the actual application. 

GDI: Looking ahead, what are your objectives for ClubPillar over the next 12 months?

Launch in NYC and LA to start, host 5-6 in person activations, strategic partnerships, grow our community, and scale the business. 

Sign up on Club Pillar to get ahead of the waitlist pre-launch.

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