With Kai Rostcheck
This week we had a conversation with Kai Rostcheck, who recently introduced the website TinyHouseDating to our community. This concept presents an intriguing angle on the Movement in general. We’d like to hear your comments (below).
Tiny House Blog: Tiny House Dating? Really?
Kai: (Laughs) Sure, why not?
Tiny House Blog: Ok, fair enough. Maybe we should turn the question around. Why create a Tiny House Dating website?
Kai: While researching the tiny house movement, I noticed several themes. One of them was that “other people” just don’t understand our values. Tiny House Enthusiasts on several different blogs and forums commented that they are confident and fulfilled by decisions they have made on their own, but when it comes to companionship something’s missing. They were having a hard time meeting people who shared their perspective on what’s important, so first dates rarely went much further.
Tiny House Blog: And a dating website will fix this how?
Kai: Here’s the thing, Tiny House Dating isn’t about Tiny Houses. Those are objects. Our site (and the movement in general) is about a shift in values. All we are doing is creating a deal-breaker filter, someone who can’t get his head around Tiny House living isn’t going to join the site. This means that everyone who does opt-in, does so with a similar intentions. Their specific choices around friendship, dating or life partnership will vary, but the unifying theme is connection and understanding.
Tiny House Blog: So it’s like a non-smoker knowing she wouldn’t want to date a smoker? She wants to know his preference up front so she doesn’t waste her time, right?
Kai: Exactly. But instead of smoking, our filter is lifestyle choice. Tiny House Dating is for people who place higher value on freedom, flexibility and even sustainability than on “stuff.”
Tiny House Blog: Do you have to live in a Tiny House to join?
Kai: No. We hope that members of other communities (like Minimalism, Simple Living and Homesteading) will join, too. In fact, our profile questions are specifically designed to help people talk about who they are and how they want to live, rather than focusing on where they are living right now.
Tiny House Blog: Has the community really grown large enough to support our own dating site?
Kai: One thing that really blows me away was a statistic I discovered while creating I Love Tiny Houses. Tiny House videos have been watched nearly 27 million times! I know that far fewer Tiny Houses have actually been sold, but this number leads me to believe that there are many, many people wanting to change the way they’ve been living. And again, we don’t expect everyone who joins to end up living in a Tiny House. They might simply be choosing how to purposefully “right-size” their lives. It’s not a bad place to start.
Tiny House Blog: But there are all of those other (massive) dating sites out there already, with so many people to choose from…
Kai: It’s about alignment. Tiny House people know what we are looking for. Our very interest in Tiny Houses defines us as being outside of the status quo. Could we go on a hundred dates through Match.com or OkCupid and find the right person? Sure…anything is possible. But wouldn’t we rather opt for one high-quality connection and a better chance that it will work out? I think so.
Tiny House Blog: We know that your site is brand new, but there is already some activity. Can you tell us what you are noticing, and how people are describing themselves?
Kai: Members of our community definitely crave connection. Their personal profiles and stories reinforce what I mentioned earlier; many Tiny House people want to find friends and partners who share their values. I’ve noticed other important contexts, too. For example, we can see clearly that Tiny House partnership is not just about the house itself. Our friend Andrew Odom says it best, I think, when he advises potential Tiny Housemates to, “Hold your relationship up above all other things.” Then, there is the reality that building/buying a Tiny House together can be very stressful and/or incredibly bonding. Finally, I frequently hear things along the lines of, “The world still thinks we’re nuts. But being ‘nuts’ together makes us stronger.”
Tiny House Blog: Do you worry that people will perceive this website as an opportunity for you to capitalize on the Movement?
Kai: I really do. But I think of it this way: I have seen tons of Facebook posts where a reader chides a builder for the total cost of his or her home. And I read Macy Miller’s recent rebuttal (to her detractors) with a heavy heart. It’s easy for people to misinterpret things or filter through their own experience. The bottom line is that we want to bring people together. If we are able to do so, it’s going to be worth any misconceptions.
Tiny House Blog: What’s the cost of membership?
Kai: Right now membership is free. We are building this community from the ground up. The first people to join have been absolutely fantastic about sharing their enthusiasm and feedback. We are learning from them, and we know that we need to reach critical mass in order to create an exciting platform that gives lots of people many choices. Down the road we’ll consider a nominal fee to cover operating expenses.
Tiny House Blog: How can people sign up?
Kai: Just go to www.tinyhousedating.com and register with coupon code “free2join” for complimentary gold membership.