So, you want to start a modeling agency? Lacking the experience? Don't worry, it's not impossible. You'll have your work cut out for you, but really your success depends upon one thing – marketing. It's no secret that if you're already in the fashion world in some capacity, launching your own modeling agency will be easier. You'll already have the contacts. You'll already know the best places to headquarter your business. But when you're just starting out, you're essentially starting from scratch.
One of the first things you need to do as an emerging model agent is to acquire models. It should go without saying that the more models you have in your books, the better. That said, you have to be ready to market yourself as a modeling agency representing models. In addition, you'll have to choose a good location – ideally a geographic area with a large demographic of model types – for establishing your agency.
Think About Your Target Market
Once you add a few models to your roster you will need to decide what type of business you want to own. Fashion magazines and runways aren't the only places with a demand for models, even though they might be the most lucrative. Before you start your agency, assess the various types of modeling jobs that will align with your skill set and contacts. For example, a new modeling agency might have more luck with catalog modeling. Networking with local businesses as they prepare for seasonal catalogs can be one opportunity. You can also think about focusing on a particular niche such as an agency with plus-size models. Differentiating yourself from your competitors as early as possible will pay off in the long run as you build your agency.
While it's not the most expensive business venture because often you'll just need a computer and an internet connection to start a modeling agency, there will still be
Build on Small Successes
When you bring a model
Be Persistent and Don't Give Up
You'll need models. You'll need a place to work. And you need to work your contacts. Some of the world's most profitable and famous modeling agencies started on a shoestring budget. The key to a successful modeling agency is not necessarily money; it's having good contacts and knowing how to use those contacts to grow and expand.
- • Intern or volunteer at an established agency. It's a great way to gain practical experience and learn the ropes of the business.
- • Run your agency out of a reputable location. If your office is in a questionable part of town, or your home, you will quickly gain an unsavory reputation.
- • The Small Business Administration and the American Small Businesses Association are both useful resources to help start your business.
- • To help your clients book TV commercials, suggest they take an appropriate on-camera course.
- • Most top agencies do test shoots, put together "comp cards" (a postcard with various shots), and provide other tools of the trade for their new clients. If there is a model you believe in without financial resources, be willing to shell out the cash. It's perfectly acceptable to be reimbursed for these expenses once the model starts booking jobs.
- The modeling industry is full of scam artists. One of the most common is claiming to have work available, but in reality the "agency" is trying to sell classes and expensive photo shoots to naive young people and their parents. A legitimate agency makes money in one way: commission off of clients' bookings.
Liz Gold has been published in a variety of capacities writing about everything from Kennebunkport and southern Maine municipal government, art and cultural events, to cloud technology and business transformation. Her experience extends to both corporate and freelance; she's a former Senior Editor at the B2B publication Accounting Today, writing about public accounting firms with a specialization in diversity, technology, best practices, and business development. During her tenure, she was also co-founder and editor of AccountingTomorrow, a blog focused on intergenerational workplace issues that is still thriving today. Most recently, Liz has been writing about accountants working in the cannabis industry on CPA Trendlines and reporting on cannabis trends for Southern Oregon Good Herb magazine in Oregon.