Andreas von Estorff has the perfect background to change the modelling industry. He is the founder and CEO of ModelManagement.com, a platform that is bringing stability to what is far from a stable industry.
An engineer armed with an MBA, Mr. von Estorff is a successful digital entrepreneur. He is also married to a model. This combination of experiences has shown him where he can improve an industry that finds itself going through tremendous upheaval.
The modelling industry is much more than the famous faces one sees in fashion magazines and high profile campaigns. Those models are on one extreme end of a long continuum. Most toil in anonymity, working freelance jobs and dealing with such issues as changing expectations, delayed or missing wages, and poor living conditions.
The seeds for ModelManagement.com grew out of this and Mr. von Estorff’s conversations with advertising and fashion clients while running past companies.
“We found out there was something needed to make this industry of modelling more transparent, less fragmented and that’s when I came up with the idea for the platform,” he explained.
There are other modelling websites, but they have few if any technical advantages, Mr. von Estorff explained. He estimated there are 4,000 different intermediaries and agencies, each with their own small stake. Put it all together with his digital expertise and there is potential to change the way the industry is run.
What if you could organize all of these entities in one place and simplify the hiring process for both brands and the models they seek? That is what ModelManagement.com does by offering a catalogue of models that brands can search by such traits as age, look, location, availability and price. They post a job and applicants who agree with the terms can apply. It saves everyone plenty of time.
Aspiring models can use the site for free but have the option of paying for value added services. There are also lessons on developing better portfolios and other aspects of the career that people may need help with. While ModelsManagement doesn’t promise anyone a job, they do offer more than 10,000 opportunities, Mr. von Estorff said.
Key value is also provided by simplifying what can be an opaque organizing process before the shoot. ModelManagement.com has the brand dictate the terms of the shoot up front so applicants know beforehand. What purposes will the pictures be used for? How long does the companies retain image rights? These are two key issues all sides of the industry struggle with.
They also coordinate payment so money cannot be withheld without reason.
That makes for an efficient but also more affordable process, Mr. von Estorff said, adding that benefits both sides. The explosive growth of social media leaves agencies with smaller budgets and that of course filters down to the models. Anything bringing efficiency is welcomed by the brand so they don’t waste time and by the models so they can pursue more work.
How are all these terms and conditions organized? By smart contract, Mr. von Estorff said. Once both parties agree to the terms they can be recorded onto a secure digital pdf contract that operates very similarly to a blockchain-based smart contract. Documents can be signed digitally and converted onto the blockchain, an option Mr. von Estorff said will become much more common in the coming years.
“It forms the basis for a professional agreement between two parties that dictates the right to use the images but also the payment terms,” Mr. von Estorff said.
The explosion of social media allows everyone to be a model if they want to be, he added. People love being in front of the camera, so much so that ModelManagement.com takes more business away from social media companies than modelling agencies, he said.
But the downside is people are creating content for nothing and that has had significant impact on people who make their living in the modelling industry
“It’s time for people to realize that if they put the effort in of being two or three hours in front of the camera they want to get paid for it,” Mr. von Estorff said. “They’re not doing it for free.”
The biggest change over the past 15 years has been a changing view of who is a model and who campaigns should appeal to. Mr. von Estorff welcomes this.
“I’m happy because you also can see the recognition of beauty changes, the way how we see beauty. It is not fair we saw beauty because we were trained and programmed by the fashion industry that to be beautiful you have to be 15 to 20 years and you have to be tall and slim. That has a lot of negative effects on society.
“I think beauty’s everywhere.”