Inside Story: Boutique Modeling

I recently had my Fall 2012 Line Sheet photo shoot and had a mom contact me to have her darling daughter Kendyl in my shoot.   Kendyl is a doll and has modeled for over 20 boutiques.  I was happy to have her!  While they were with me I took the time to talk to mom Lynn to get the inside scoop on boutique modeling.  I asked questions from many perspectives, the models viewpoint, the parents viewpoint, the photographers, viewpoint and the boutiques viewpoint.  Read on to hear what she had to say and see some of the boutique work she and he children have done.  But first a little peek at the shoot Kendyl took part in for my company kangacoo designs and a peek at a Fall 2012 design.
How did you get involved with boutique modeling?
Boutique modeling actually found me.  I have my own Facebook boutique page https://www.facebook.com/SassyFrillsDesigns and I would occasionally get email’s from people wanting to model for me. My two toddlers take up most of my time, so I’m not very active with my boutique and I didn’t take any time to look into it until one of the modeling services asked me to be a boutique partner.  It piqued my interest enough to look into it.  I’d recently bought a good quality DSLR camera and fell in love with photography, so I ended up signing up my kids instead of my boutique as an excuse to take more pictures.  I honestly thought I would try it out for 6 months, and if we  rarely, or never got booked we would stop.  I had no idea we would be as busy as we are!  I did eventually sign up my boutique as well and sent out a couple of model packages.
Do you have agencies you are listed with? 
We are currently listed with 3 online boutique modeling services.
What boutiques have you modeled for?
Between Kendyl and Colton, we’ve modeled for quite a few boutiques.  I’ll try to list them all so hopefully I don’t forget anyone.  4 Your Little Star Clothing,Addy’s Attic, Alanna Marie Designs, Bettie-O-Bows, Bumble.Bee Dizzie Lizzie, Fadoodles, Girlybaby Bows Bands and Tutus, Handmade With Love, I Love Lucy’s Tutus, Just Bow Cute, Kangacoo Designs Katybug Bows, Lebelle Boutique, Little Snugglies by Val, Lollipop Children’s Boutique, Maya J Accessories, Maya’s Bowtique, MelissaJane Boutique, Oui! Wee Chic Children’s Boutique, PerkyPosy, Petite Peanut Boutique Pirouettes and Ponytails,Precious Threads Pretties 4 Princesses, Queen B Creations, Red Elephant Clothing, Rough N Tough Clothing for Boys, Servane Barrau Designs, Shabby Chic Bowtique, Sparkleberry Boutique The Itty Bitty Boutique, and The Sassy Tot.  We have been lucky enough to work with several of these boutiques multiple times.
What is Kendyl’s favorite thing about modeling? Least favorite? 
Kendyl says her favorite thing about modeling is all the bows and getting to dress up, and her least favorite is sometimes she’s tired and doesn’t want to take pictures.
Same question for your son.  Colton is only 2, so it was hard to get a real answer from him.  I know he gets really excited to see what’s in the packages that come in the mail and he likes mommy to take pictures.  I think his least favorite would be actually putting the clothes on that he’s not familiar with.
What advice would you give a mom wanting to get their child into boutique modeling? 
First of all, boutique modeling is not about how cute your kid is, because in my opinion all kids are cute. Most boutique modeling is done in trade, meaning the model gets to keep the item in exchange for pictures, though there are also boutiques that will offer items to be modeled at a discounted price. Ask yourself if you would be able to provide professional, or professional quality photos that will best showcase the items to be modeled.  It is not a popularity contest, but you’ll notice that there are a lot of models that are very popular because of the consistency and quality of their photos as well as the childs personality and ability to model the items they are given.  We’ve only been doing this since July 2011, but I have seen a dramatic improvement in everyone’s photos as mommy’s turn into momtographer’s and the bar keeps getting set higher and higher.  Boutique modeling is also not for someone that wants to get a bunch of free stuff in exchange for a few pictures.  Each service has their own requirements, but the model is usually given a period of 10-14 days to return 5-10 photos of each item modeled. It can be very time consuming, so do it because you like it, and not because you think you’ll get your money’s worth in goodies for the amount of time you spend taking and editing photos.  It is not uncommon for me to spend 6 hours completing an assignment for 1 boutique.
Do you take your own pictures of have a photographer do it?
I take my own pictures with a few exceptions for the occasional “on location” shoot with a designer.
Do boutiques give you specifications of how they want the items pictured? 
The boutiques definitely have a say in how they want their items showcased, and I actually prefer when they get into specifics because it takes some of the guess work out for me.  I want to know if you want studio or outdoor photos, props, or uncluttered, over the top, or everyday use.  It is also good to check out the boutiques page or website to get a feel of how they like to show off their products.
Have they ever asked you to reshoot?
How would you feel if they did?  I have only been asked for a reshoot once, and I was crushed!  The modeling service did not agree with the boutique because there was a mix-up somehow that ended up in a big fiasco, so the items were returned to the boutique instead of a reshoot.  I know I’m not a professional photographer, so even if it hurts my feelings a little, I would still rather someone ask me for a reshoot then hold on to photos they’ll never use or not consider booking them again because they were unhappy.  In the end, its a business, and the boutiques should expect photos to be consistent with the quality of photos on the model’s comp cards or profile. If a model has beautiful sample photos, but they are all outdoors, don’t expect them to return fabulous studio pics.  It’s all about communication, and a model is allowed to decline a booking for any reason.
Do you get to keep the clothes?
We get to keep everything we model in exchange for photos, with a few exceptions that would be worked out ahead of time.
What advice would you give a boutique looking to book a model?
Booking a model can also be a good way to advertise and promote your boutique. Some models take private bookings, but beware of scammers that will take your items and you’ll never hear from them again.  Booking through a service provides you a little more protection.  Models pay a fee to belong to these services, so they are less likely to steal, and some services are even requiring models to have a credit card on file in the event they disappear without returning their photos. Each service has their own set of perks for boutique partners, so shop around and see who you like.  When it comes time to pick your model, look at the quality of photos on their comp card or profile.  The services I belong to also post collages of the boutiques the models have modeled for, so you can see how they have showcased other boutique’s items.  A lot of models also have their own fan pages to check out.  Become a member of the boutique groups associated with the model services and ask other boutiques who they like to work with.
You also take your childen on commerical castings. How is that going? 
Good:-)  There’s not a whole lot of work for the little ones, so we’ll often go a couple months without going to an audition.  Kendyl hasn’t booked a job yet, but Colton recently did a shoot for Target, and a costume company.  Unfortunately, Colton’s is going through a very clingy phase right now and he doesn’t really have the outgoing personality needed so I just told his agent to pull him until he gets a little older.
How did you find an agent? Living in California helps! I found out by word of mouth because a couple of the kids in our mom’s group had an agent.  We started out with one agency that I wasn’t happy with, then by recommendation from another friend, we switched to a different agency.  They are now listed with Brand Model and Talent.
What advice would you give a mom looking to get their child into commercial castings?
Again, it’s not about how cute your kid is!  Agents are looking for all types of kids, but I think personality is key.  Don’t be scammed!!  You should never, ever have to pay to belong to an agency. Agents make their money by taking a percentage when your child books a job.  The little one’s don’t even need professional photos until they are 5-6yrs old because they are changing so much at that age, but of course a great picture always helps.  Most agencies will require you to send in a few snapshots for consideration, and they’ll contact you if they’re interested.  In California, agents are a dime a dozen, but don’t be discouraged if you live somewhere else, because you can probably find a reputable agent in almost any metropolitan area.  You also need to be available to take your child to castings with short notice. I’ll usually get the email for a casting the day before.
Please share  links to their modeling pages for boutiques that may want to book them.
Kendyl for Little Diamond Models http://littlediamondmodels.com/selected-model.php?id=131
Please share a few of your favorite pics of your children modeling.

2 Comments

Filed under fashion, Modeling/Photography, Resources, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Inside Story: Boutique Modeling

  1. Beautiful children and a wonderful informative article! Thanks Katie!

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