TWO of Scotland’s leading modeling agencies have come together in an ‘east meets west’ business merger.
Stolen Models, formerly regarded as Edinburgh’s premier agency, has been incorporated with the Glasgow-based Model Team, giving clients a catalogue of the best models in the country.
Annalese McDermott, who owned Stolen, decided to hand over the reins to her Glasgow counterparts after choosing to pursue new ventures.
The team’s books include the current Miss Scotland Nicola Mimnagh, Gillian Cook – Scottish Model of the Year 2009 and Topman’s face of autumn/winter Louis Galloway.
The Model Team has been synonymous with the fashion industry in Scotland for 40 years, and although they are not the biggest agency, they consider themselves to be the best.
Cathy Owen, operations manager, said: “Lots of other agencies think that by filling their books with everyone that applies will make them appear stronger, but we believe in choosing the absolute best talent – so we are very picky about who we sign up.
“The offer from Stolen was presented to us exclusively – we have known Annalese and worked with her a lot over the years and we have a real mutual respect.”
Ms Owen said the merger means The Model Team now have the resources to cover clients in the country’s two main cities – a luxury they have never enjoyed before.
She said: “A lot of our models live in Glasgow and because we were quite separate before it meant they didn’t have the opportunity to reach clients in Edinburgh.
“Now we are spread across both with models from across Scotland and it means everyone has the same chances of being booked – we feel no other agency in the country has this pool of talent.”
The Model Team charge anywhere between £500 and £2,000 per day’s work for a model, but their highest rate recorded for a model for just one day was £15,000.
Ms Owen said the agency does not believe in driving down prices just to take business from competitors and the team has stood strong on charging for what they believe the models are “worth.”
She said: “As a result of our strong range and the diversity of models, added to by the purchase of Stolen, we feel we will be able to continue charging what the models are worth, even in difficult financial times.
“Even last year, though like all businesses we did have to negotiate to secure business, we stood our ground on occasions to fight for fair rates, as a result we lost out on some bookings but eventually secured higher paying jobs with clients who understood in order to work with the strongest models and agency it is acceptable to pay a fair price.
“How are the models and the agencies to make money if clients are offered the services of models for less than they are worth?
“With the takeover of Stolen and our stronger position we hope we can continue to work on this principle, in what unfortunately is predicted to be an even more financially difficult year.”
Ms Owen, who has over 10 years of experience as a model, stylist and a photographer’s personal assistant, said the team are undoubtedly a “force” determined to put the agency on the map worldwide.
She said: “A lot of our clients in Scotland are looking for commercial models – so they’re not looking for skinny extremes or quirky looks, but we know that is what is looked for on the catwalks around the world, which is why we have a broad range.
“At the moment one of our plus-size girls Angelica Gray – from Glasgow – has been doing amazing things.
“She flew to Milan recently for a shoot for Vogue Curvy, which is an off-shoot of Vogue Italia and she is fast becoming Scotland’s top plus-size model.
“With the takeover of Stolen we also feel we have the strength to think bigger and increase our market, we are taking our talent direct to the major creative decision makers in the fashion industry as we feel we are lucky to represent models that will appeal to clients on an international scale.”
Sue Thomason, editor of Beautiful, a fashion magazine which promotes “real-sized women”, said: “This merger will make The Model Team the strongest agency in the country – if they’re not already.
“The Model Team is very choosy about who they take on and are determined to maintain an exclusive image and I’m sure they’ll go from strength to strength.
“Not compromising on their prices illustrates their desire to be an elite agency and this tactic has its pros and cons.
“It’s good for the models lucky enough to be invited on to their books, but not so good for businesses – such as magazines – who want to hire models.”
Fiona Best, owner of Catwalk Productions, has been a fashion show producer for 15 years and before that she owned an agency called Best Models.
Her business organises and produces shows for designers, the Edinburgh College of Art, Glasgow Caledonian University and numerous shopping centres across Scotland.
She said: “I think the fact that The Model Team are selective about the girls and guys they take on is a very wise move.
“In this current economic climate there is no point in having lots of people on your books who aren’t working – not only will they not be bringing in money but they would feel let down by an agency that was not getting them work.
“Annalese’s decision to hand Stolen over to The Model Team was the right one as the type of work both agencies were doing was quite similar.
“I think The Model Team will really drive forward now with the additional talent they’ve inherited from Stolen.
“Clients in Edinburgh were always keen to work with Stolen because they had models living locally who they could meet up with easily.
“It was seen as the best agency in the east of Scotland and I think The Model Team has always represented the best of the west.
“Additionally, The Model Team will now have an unfathomable list of contacts on their books with regards to clients.”