Category Archives: Sales and Building a Client Base

Inward Beauty

Many people with ambition for the fashion and modeling industries do not take into account personality and the ability to work well with others. For example, women make up the majority of the Victoria’s Secret customer base, and because of this, their models are chosen based mostly on their appeal to women, not men, so it is important that a Victoria’s Secret model’s attitude appeal to women. Whatever the direction in the fashion and modeling industries, assertiveness, intellect and friendliness go a long way. As a representative of yourself, you must behave in a manner that would not tarnish your image. Without these characteristics, agents, clients, and directors alike, will look elsewhere, regardless of how beautiful or talented you are. Victoria’s Secret Chief Marketing Officer, Edward Razek, puts it bluntly: “We don’t deal with divas.”
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For more on how to become a model, see the post on “Model Stereotypes”
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CLIENTS WE WANT UNDER THE CHRISTMAS TREE

IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A PORTFOLIO book full of images, it would be an efficient use of your resources to target an audience that uses those types of images. If you have commercial images, target a company that distributes clothing catalogs. Beauty headshots can attract cosmetics companies, designers that specialize in swimwear want to see a model’s figure, and so on. Don’t start over if you don’t have to.

IF YOU HAVEN’T STARTED building your book yet, read Sell Yourself to learn the most effective way to build your book from scratch. If you establish your market after you have built your portfolio and the two don’t pair up, you may need to get all new photos taken in order to tailor your look to that market’s brands and services. By building your book first, or tailoring your images to fit your market, you can really maximize your sell-ability.

Let’s say your target market is commercial print and your target brand is White House Black Market. HERE ARE 7 CHARACTERISTICS that make WHBM attractive for someone who fits their mold:

ONE. Through the practice of traditional marketing by way of regularly  mailed catalogs, they produce an almost dead- yet quite effective form of marketing for them and many booking opportunities for you.
TWO. Having a parent company that sells multiple brands allows for more exposure where you can cross-sell to each of those brands.
THREE. The brand’s target audience fits your marketable age range making you a more likely sell. Their customers would easily be able to picture themselves wearing the things you model.
FOUR. An online presence offers more face time.
FIVE. Sharing similar features with their past models makes them more likely to book you.
SIX. Keeping things fresh by continually changing up their models is a favorable circumstance for a new face trying to break into a market. Still, if they hire you, they’re likely to book you more than once.
SEVEN. They frequently release new collections and advertise accordingly, creating, yet again, more opportunities for them to book you.

This example has demonstrated  that the target brand not only understands the value of advertising and is willing to fork out some dough for models, but they shell out several opportunities for one to seal the deal, too. Although not a guaranteed job, you’ve at least done your homework and can FEEL CONFIDENT TAILORING YOUR PORTFOLIO WITH THEM IN MIND.


SELL YOURSELF

Establishing yourself is really just sales- something we all do everyday whether we realize it or not. You sell yourself to your peers, your job, agents, directors. The real reason we sell ourselves to agents is to maximize the opportunity of face time with directors- where we then try to sell ourselves again. This also allows us more time to focus more exclusively on what we do best- model. The problem many models face is that the agents don’t end up getting us as many go-see’s as we’d like, and when they do send us out we have to compete with all the other models they’re sending on the same job.

When agents look for models, they need to maximize their efforts. Therefore, they must make sure that who they decide the market (sell) is versatile and can appeal to most audiences, or at least a large one. When you walk in their door, it’s up to you to prove (sell) this to them- that you fit that mold. Then they arrange some photos of you that  how you can pull off a variety of characters and submit you for any job that comes their way with a description of someone with your general features (blonde hair, blue eyes, 5′ 9″).

Suppose PC Laptops is the client and the only thing separating you from the competition is the lack of a photo of you in a business suit. Chances are you won’t get the booking because the client has to go out of their way to imagine you fitting the role. It’s like an actor who plays the same role year after year and can never get booked for anything else because no one can imagine them in any other role. And then one day you see them in a movie playing a villein instead of a comedian and you like it. Then you begin seeing that person in many more different roles. This is because people no longer have to use their imagination. This is your main job as an independent model- to make it easy for them to imagine you as the perfect fit. This is also something an agent doesn’t go out of their way to do for you because they will make their money whether the client picks you or one  of their other models.

When agents look for models, they need to maximize their efforts. Therefore, they must make sure that who they decide the market (sell) is versatile and can appeal to most audiences, or at least a large one. When you walk in their door, it’s up to you to prove (sell) this to them- that you fit that mold. Then they arrange some photos of you that how you can pull off a variety of characters and submit you for any job that comes their way with a description of someone with your general features (blonde hair, blue eyes, 5′ 9″).

Suppose PC Laptops is the client and the only thing separating you from the competition is the lack of a photo of you in a business suit. Chances are you won’t get the booking because the client has to go out of their way to imagine you fitting the role. It’s like an actor who plays the same role year after year and can never get booked for anything else because no one can imagine them in any other role. And then one day you see them in a movie playing a villein instead of a comedian and you like it. Then you begin seeing that person in many more different roles. This is because people no longer have to use their imagination. This is your main job as an independent model- to make it easy for them to imagine you as the perfect fit. This is also something an agent doesn’t go out of their way to do for you because they will make their money whether the client picks you or one of their other models.

Next week we’ll take this further and talk about choosing your target audience wisely…


Pitching Yourself to a Magazine

James Patrick Photography blogged an interview with a fitness magazine editor  that will help any model looking to get more exposure and portfolio credentials. The following are condensed points to the interview I find most helpful in getting a submission accepted. You can also click the above link for the full article. 

  • The submission needs relevant to the magazine
  • Media is always in need of interesting, well-written, innovative articles
  • Submit finished photos, not contact sheets
  • Photos need to be a good reflection of how you currently look
  • The more information you provide (i.e. available for travel, are a writer, have an idea for a story, specialties, upcoming shoot dates) will help you stand out over other models
  • Understand that editors are super busy and inundated with e-mails from hundreds of people every day
  • Pitches from photographers tend to go over better than pitches from models, especially when the photographer says, hey, I’m shooting so-and-so in 2 weeks, is there anything you need me to get while he/she is shooting with me?

Angela Brown, Owner of  SLUG Magazine, suggests emailing your submission to a targeted magazine editor, press list, or list of magazine editors, and making sure you bcc the contacts when you send it out to a list. Angela sets up a Google Word Alert for her submissions (with the name of the headline if, for example, it’s an article submission) so that you get alerts when people write about it online because you don’t always get notified when they write about your release/submission -even if you ask them, they just don’t always have the time to.

INTERVIEW with LaRue Novick, the Editor in Chief of Max Sports and Fitness Magazine:

Understanding a fairly hectic schedule, how often do you get pitches from models, trainers, writers, photographers, etc?
I probably receive a handful each week.

MS&F March 2011 Cover

March 2011 Cover

When it comes to models pitching themselves to you; and taking into account how many pitches you have to get; how important is it for a model to have a unique pitch story?
MS&F is different from other national magazines in that it is Max Muscle Sports Nutrition’s No. 1 marketing piece. To explain, this magazine, which is more than 100,000 in circulation, is distributed to more than 140 Max Muscle stores across the nation. From the stores, the magazines are distributed into their local communities at drop off sites that include gyms, doctor’s offices, high schools, yoga studios, YMCA’s, etc.

The magazine is intended to “sell” Max Muscle products, but it’s more than that. When I took over, the magazine was more about driving ads and the body-building industry, which sometimes embarrassed some of the Max Muscle franchisees who wouldn’t be able to drop off particular issues because of the racy, super-muscled content. Today, the magazine is a true lifestyle magazine covering everything from beauty and fitness to nutrition and supplements.

With all of that said, most of the profile pieces in our magazine have to do with Max Muscle customers and franchisees. So, if a fitness model comes to me with a unique and inspirational article (particularly a weight loss story), I most likely can’t do a profile piece unless that person takes Max Muscle supplements.

MS&F Interior Page

However, we do feature people who aren’t Max Muscle customers from time to time, especially if they have a big name in the industry. For example, fitness models in our workout articles do not necessarily have to be Max Muscle customers.

What are some of the things which help some applicants stand out over others?
If you are a fitness model and a trainer AND a writer, we’re in business as I always need interesting, well-written, innovative workout articles. Also, if you let me know you are willing to travel to do a shoot and you are always photo ready (trust me, some are NOT), it helps you stand out.

We have a tiny budget, so our models work for Max Muscle product and for clips for their portfolios, plus the national recognition that comes with being in a national magazine!

Do you prefer when you get pitches via e-mail, fax, regular mail or other?
E-MAIL! There’s only so much room in my office!

How many photos do you like to see included with a pitch?
Doesn’t matter, but definitely want to see a variety. Please, do not send me contact sheets from photo shoots because I don’t want to see images where your eyes are closed or you’re making a funny face (haha!). I want to see finished photos.

Have you come across some definite No-No’s when it comes to applicants contacting you
Don’t be pushy and tell me you’re the best for the job and why and then keep emailing me to see if I got your previous 10 emails. Also, if you are a huge bodybuilder (male or female) with veins popping out everywhere, we’re not interested.

Without names, do you have any stories about a difficult experience you had in working with someone?
It’s frustrating when you choose fitness models because of their pictures and they show up for the shoot all flabby and not at all like they looked in the photos. It wastes everyone’s time and that is just unprofessional. I’ve had that happen a few times. Now, I ask potential models to send me a picture with their camera phone. And it better be current.

How much contact is too much contact?
One follow-up e-mail will suffice if you haven’t heard from me yet. I save all e-mails from models in a specific “models” folder and will refer to that when necessary.

What are some of the best pitches you think you have seen?
Truthfully, pitches from photographers such as James Patrick and Mike Byerly have been better than pitches from fitness models, especially when the photographer says, hey, I’m shooting so-and-so in 2 weeks, is there anything you need me to get while he/she is shooting with me?

Any parting comments to readers?
Just understand that editors are super busy and inundated with e-mails from hundreds of people every day wanting something. It’s hard to keep up sometimes. That doesn’t mean we don’t like you or don’t care or will never use you. The more information you provide (i.e. available for travel, are a writer, have an idea for a story, specialties, upcoming shoot dates) will help you stand out over other models vying for a coveted spot in national magazines.


Campaign Exposure

I sent out an advertorial to Leticia Katz, a writer for Salt Lake Magazine’s “Beauty Buff” blog. Salt Lake Magazine is one of Utah’s largest magazine publications. Leticia contacted me back with interest and followed up with some questions to complete a post about the bikini body project. This is great exposure for me, as you can guess. Next task will be to gather a list of beauty and fitness columnists and send the advertorial to them, too. If you help market the campaigns you model for, this is what happens:

Advertorial (Urban Dictionary)
An article or editorial that has been written for the purpose of promoting a product or service. The word itself is a combination of “advertisement” and “editorial.” Often the piece will avoid a tone with overt bias.


News Segment

The following is some airtime I secured for a local hair salon who had just won an award. I was able to step in as a model for the segment and gain some exposure.

Watch Video Segment for KUTV Channel 2 | Morning News Segment – Hottest Hairstyles For Fall

Night Before Preparation:

It doesn’t surprise me that many models are younger. You have to have all that energy to get up as early at 4am, eat whatever you want, and still feel motivated to pose and be ready for the camera or audience. It is 10:45pm and I am still working on a few things before heading to bed. I’m stressed because I’m exhausted and know that 4am will come very soon. Do I really have to do the things I think I have to do, or will I do fine without all that planning ahead (do I have enough wardrobe options, should I pack snacks, should I prepack my makeup bag, wash my hair)?

Day of:

So this morning I wake up and don’t really have time to think but I’m dead tired and make a bee line to the coffee pot, skip breakfast wondering what to expect for the morning- will there be any food at the location, if there is and I eat then it’s a waist for them, if there’s not and I don’t eat than I’m screwed. After running out of time, I think maybe I can stop at a gas station and grab a pastry on the way. News Flash (no pun intended): gas stations are not open that early in the morning. Thank god for my coffee to tie me over in the meantime.

The Creative Director / liaison between me (the one who secured the spot for airtime) and the salon had his baby this morning so it made introductions a bit non-existent and a bit awkward when the dots were finally connected. This also explains the lack of communication on what to pull together to the event. I didn’ know for sure if I was going to just be there for support and direction or as a model, and if I was modeling what I would wear, if I needed to do my own makeup, where and when I would meet up and with whom. This is all very important stuff which I just had to prepare myself for just in case it went either way. For example, last night I stopped at H&M and bought a bunch of trendy clothing for the wardrobe and then packed it all as backups for myself and any other models that may need it.

[PHOTO: Here you can see the stylists next to their models. Models on the left, stylists on the right- except for the one with the guy on the left- he would be the stylist.]

Having never really done a TV news segment before from what I can remember, I didn’t know what to expect- except not to expect anything to be set in stone. When we arrived 10 minutes behind schedule it was confusing to know where to enter and the door was locked, so by the time we actually find someone to let us in it was about 7:00- our ready for airtime cue (actual airtime was 7:23am). I’m all anxious, thinking we’re really running behind, only to find that we will sit for another 20 minutes waiting for our actual airtime- which was cut from 2-3 minutes to 1 1/2.

Things I learned:

  • The model should always look into, or at the corner of the lens of the camera when it’s focused on her/him. It just seemed awkward when I didn’t do this.
  • My eyes looked really wide open for some reason.
  • Opening your lips isn’t recommended for video.
  • All the models should be on the same page. I felt I looked farther away from the other models, and I had my hands behind me while theirs were in front.
  • My boobs looked really big with the outfit I chose. I probably should have worn something darker, and less contrasting on top to have more balance and direct less attention to them, and more attention to the hair.
  • Looking at the target when the camera moves away from you is a great way to direct the audience to them. It’s probably important to listen to what’s being said so you know what to expect.
  • Check yourself before you wreck yourself. I believe my lipstick was smeared a bit. Don’t know how that happened, although I suppose it could have been a shadow. Also, my eyes seemed to have shadows underneath.
  • It’s hard to get people to follow direction.
  • Improving usually works out, doesn’t hurt, and gets things done.
  • We all learn from mistakes and are better next time.
  • Some people don’t care about new segments and would rather not get up so early in the morning. It’s important that the one who asked for it is the one who receives it so they can fully appreciate and take advantage of it. Otherwise, don’t sweat it and make sure you have a good time.

Bloopers:

No mention of the salon’s NAHA award (the whole reason we got the airtime)

No mention of the new salon opening up in Chalk Garden in the next couple weeks

No mention of the Creative Director, or his brand-new baby