If you love the fashion industry but design isn’t your forte, you can always stay in the niche by starting a modeling agency. And the good news is that it can be a very profitable venture with some forward planning, hard work, and enthusiasm for success.
In this post, we take a look at the basics of getting a modeling agency off the ground and the fundamental elements to ensuring the success of your new agency. Whether you decide to partner with a business process outsourcing (BPO) provider or stick to your guns and start an agency on your own, here’s a look at how to get your organizational ducks in a row…
#1 – Pick an Agency Name and Niche
Your agency needs a name before it can be established. Nut remember that this name will be the one that represents your brand for the lifetime of your brand, so you must pick something memorable and meaningful.
Do your research and ensure that the name isn’t trademarked and that there’s a suitable website domain available for it. The easier the name is to pronounce and spell, the more memorable it’ll be in the eyes of the world.
Let’s forget about the top modeling agencies and famed photography studios for a second. Modeling has a wide variety of styles and niches, so there is often a lot of confusion. Will you specialize in runway models or hand models? Or perhaps create new women black jacket e-commerce stock images and open up doors for modeling jobs? What about catering to the needs of fitness brands? These are essential questions to ask when starting modeling agencies. Find an area that can make your product differentiation a success in a rapidly growing market. The risk of being an agency of all kinds is too significant and specializing in one niche is one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd.
#2 – Create a Business Plan
A fundamental aspect and top priority of starting any organization, including a fashion modeling agency, is the business plan. Your BP will help you better understand your brand strategy and the market you plan to target as well as the professional models you want to attract. It’s also a roadmap that you can follow to raise capital to start your venture.
Any BP needs to include the following sections:
- Executive summary – a shortened version of your BP that highlights the critical details of your organization.
- Company overview – a focus on the kind of agency you’re running and the niche you specialize in.
- Industry analysis – contains key information about the modeling and fashion industry
- Customer analysis – contains information about your target audience and potential clients and their demographics.
- Competitive analysis – documents direct and indirect competitors your brand will come across as well as a strategy for gaining a competitive advantage.
- Marketing strategy – addresses price, product, promotions, and place
- Operations strategy – detailing processes of day-to-day operations and staffing needs
- Management strategy – details about the management team of your business
- Financial strategy – answering questions including the cost of startup, income, revenue, and projected sales for the next 5 years.
#3 – Set Up Your Company’s Legal Structure
All modeling agencies need to be registered as one of the following:
- Sole Proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company
- C Corporation
- S Corporation
After establishing the most suitable legal structure, you also need to register your organization (and business name) with the Secretary of State in every state you operate in.
#4 – Get Set up with the IRS and Get a Business Bank Account
Businesses need to register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and you need the EIN to open a business bank account. You also need this number to hire employees so the IRS can track your payroll tax payments.
To open your business bank account, you’ll generally need your organization’s Articles of Incorporation, your driver’s license or passport, and proof of address.
#5 – Cover Your Brand with Insurance for Modeling Agencies
Depending on which state you operate in, you might be looking at a few different types of insurance. Your options would generally fall along the lines of:
- General Liability Insurance – covers accidents and injuries that occur on the business premises.
- Worker’s Compensation Insurance – If you employ people, this policy runs hand-in-hand with general liability insurance to protect against workplace injuries and accidents but also covers medical expenses and lost wages.
- Commercial Property Insurance – covers your agency building against fire, theft, and vandalism.
- Business Interruption Insurance – covers your business in the event that it is forced to close due to a covered event.
- Professional Liability Insurance – covers your business against professional negligence claims.
#6 – Develop Your Marketing Approach
Modeling agencies need to use marketing materials to attract and retain customers, just like any other small businesses. The core elements you need to focus on include:
- Your Logo
- Company website
- Social media accounts
It is absolutely critical to ensure that you’re working on your promotional efforts with a multilingual approach in mind. You might be targeting the local demographic of models and clients when your modeling agency first starts out, but as your brand expands, international sales will become inevitable. And you’ll need to find creative ways to interact with the global marketplace, similar to the strategies used by bigger agencies. But to successfully promote and expand your brand in the global marketplace, you need to have the tools in place to communicate with customers in a variety of languages.
You can download an interpreting app for free and make use of online interpreting services to help you communicate effectively with international clients but remember that you might also have to consider localizing your website once you expand to foreign markets.
#7 – Build Your Talent Network with Experts from the Modeling Industry
Modeling agencies can only be as good as the people that work for them. Aside from professional and talented fashion models, you also need to consider hiring a professional photographer for those modeling headshots and experienced (and skilled) makeup artists.
You need to work on building a professional and reliable network in order to ensure your brand is as successful as it can be. Also, do your due diligence when hiring new models and engaging with potential customers. Hire models of varying sizes, talents, and ages to ensure you’re as competitive as you can be in your specific niche.
#8 – Deploy Patience and Perseverance
It might be fun and exciting to start a modeling agency, but it’s no small task and can be challenging. It’ll take time to build a reputation, not just with the talent, but with the clients as well.
In order to reap the rewards of your hard work, you need to deploy patience and perseverance. The competition out there is fierce for models and agencies alike. And in order to thrive, you’ll have to network like it’s second nature and build your reputation in the fashion industry.
By deploying the tips and tricks we’ve mentioned in this post, you’re already taking steps in the right direction. There’s more than just a camera, photographer, and makeup artists behind the setup of a modeling agency, but when you invest in the right approach, you can become a leading agent in the fashion industry.