Interview with Charlie and Claudia from Couple Karma

Read how husband and wife team Charlie and Claudia have taken years of lessons in their own relationship to create Couple Karma, a free app to help make other couples happier.

What is Couple Karma?

Couple Karma is a free ‘give-and-take’ Android app for couples. The idea is that you and your partner add ‘wishes’ for each other that will make you happier in your relationship.

These could be small gestures of kindness (see our list of 50 wishes to inspire you), or more general things that you’d like your partner to do or explore.

You can find out more on our website. You can download our app from Google Play. We are also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We’d love you to join us there!

Who is behind it?

We are a husband-and-wife team. Charlie ditched his job as a philosophy lecturer a few years ago and retrained as an Android programmer.

Claudia is currently the breadwinner and works at a University, but in her free time she is the Couple Karma social media/communications manager and helps with testing the app. Our good friend Simon, a professional designer, helped with the app and website design.

This is us shortly after we started going out in 2000 (for some reason Charlie would not let go of his pint):

What inspired you to start Couple Karma?

After Charlie quit philosophy, we went through a lot of soul searching to see what path to take next. We both wanted Charlie to do something that would suit his logical mind and that would enable him to be self-employed. At the same time, we also really wanted to create something positive that would help make other couples happier.

We met at a fairly young age (21/23) and have been together for 17 years, so, like all couples, we have been through ups and downs.

We have learnt a lot through the years, fundamentally growing up together: we met as students, moved in together after a few years, had a 1-year distance relationship while Charlie worked in the States, and finally got married and had our lovely son in 2009.

We actually used a pen-and-paper version of Couple Karma to help us through more difficult patches (e.g. coping with unemployment while our son was very small). But we thought that an app would be much easier and a lot more fun!

How does the app work?

Both partners need to have an Android device (we’re thinking of publishing an iPhone version at some point, but for now it’s Android only).

You register and invite your partner. When your partner joins, you can then add wishes for each other. You can give feedback on how well your partner is doing via various emoji buttons. You can also exchange messages and upload pictures to spice up your wishes in fun ways.

To find out more, check out our blog post ‘My Wish, your Wish’ and our FAQ page, though the app should be intuitive enough to get you started quickly.

There are only two Couple Karma rules we recommend:

  • Always phrase your wishes in a positive way.
  • Don’t wish for things you know your partner dislikes.

Who is your target audience?

Android users who would like to add a bit of fun and sparkle to their relationship!

What’s your USP?

What sets Couple Karma apart from other relationship apps is the idea of ‘give and take’. Couple Karma helps couples think about what they can do to make each other happier, and it also helps them to do it. That’s the kind of ‘give and take’ that has always worked for us as a couple, so that’s what we wanted to encourage with our app.

There are other fun relationship apps out there that do things like quizzes, calendars, or cute stuff like ‘thumbkisses’. But those other apps don’t focus on encouraging ‘give and take’ in the way that Couple Karma does, in our opinion.

What are the biggest hurdles you have faced in launching an app?

Obviously there are quite a few relationship apps out there competing for visibility on the market, and many of them have advertising budgets which we can’t compete with as a husband-and-wife team.

That’s frustrating, especially as we think that Couple Karma compares pretty well to other apps in terms of the quality of the app itself. Our solution has been to focus on social media as our primary route to visibility, rather than advertising.

And your proudest moment to date?

We were proud to get positive feedback from some of the first few couples who downloaded and used the app.

It was very rewarding to think that the work we had put into the project together had actually had a positive effect on other couples’ relationships. Also, being asked for an interview by the Talented Ladies Club! J

Where would you like to see Couple Karma in five years?

Of course we would love to see Couple Karma really take off, both on social media but particularly in terms of the user-base of the app itself. We really do think our app can help couples with their relationships, so the more users it gets, the more good it can do!

What three pieces of advice would you give someone wanting to launch an app?

  1. If you don’t have a big budget for advertising, then you need to have a social media strategy. In our case, we use our Instagram site to feature couple photos, and we use Twitter and Facebook as a general relationship advice/inspiration hub.
  2. The app has got to look good, so you need a good designer.
  3. Don’t underestimate how long your work on an app will take! But don’t give up if there are setbacks. You will get there in the end.

Read more about Couple Karma on their website. 

Main photo by Anna McKay