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How YouModels is helping shift the modelling industry to digital

How YouModels is shifting the modelling industry to digital

SUP46 member YouModels.com is an online platform for booking and managing models with agency contracts. Their unique search engine allows advertisers to easily find and “book the look” without multiple contact points at different agencies. We asked founder Laura Lilja a few questions about their recent funding round and merge with Global Models Inc.

 

– How did you get the idea for YouModels?
The idea of YouModels came back in 2011 when one of our founders needed to book a model for a campaign. He found the process was very time consuming and it was hard to find what he was looking for, so the idea of a platform that collects all of the world’s models in the same place, where it is possible to search for the exact looks and/or measurements, and in an exact location was born. Basically like Booking.com for professional models.

– What is the biggest challenge the model industry faces at the moment would you say, and why?
The model industry is very fragmented and competitive, and agencies are in generally very small, with no money to invest in marketing or tech. There is no centralized booking solution for professional models and the industry itself is very old-fashioned, but it recognizes that there needs to be a shift to digital.

– You recently merged with Global Models Inc and at the same time took in some funding, can you tell us a bit more about why they were a good fit?
Global Models inc is a scouting platform for models. It was founded by Maud Kerzendörfer who has been working as a model scout for 30 years, scouting models for IMG, Ford, Wilhelmina, Mikas, etc. The Global Models inc website and business idea was very similar to YouModels, both wanted to digitalize model industry, whereas Global Models inc was focusing on freelance models and YouModels only professional models. Through this merge we can cover an even bigger part of the model industry, all the way from scouting to bookings of both commercial and freelance models. Maud’s industry knowledge and network is priceless and something that YouModels was lacking earlier. YouModels on the other hand is contributing with our strong business side and technical team.

Global Models inc already has a steady revenue flow and around 11,000 members. The plan for the rest of the year is to focus mainly on Global Models inc – to grow the number of members (freelance/commercial models) on the site and get more of them to convert to premium (paying) members.

We recently changed the company name and now have an umbrella brand, Global Models Group, for the two platforms.

– Where do you see your company in 12 months’ time?
We have managed to achieve a strong position in Sweden as a “booking hub” for commercial models (GM inc) and are steadily entering the professional model market, where model agencies see us as a marketing tool for their models rather than a competitor. We are also doing conversion analyses for a few different e-commerce companies that have managed to increase their revenues through optimized model selection.

We have also raised more money to accelerate the growth by hiring more key persons within sales and tech/data.

– What does “conversion analysis” mean?
In brief: imagine two different models wearing the same clothes. One model sells the clothes much better than the other. E-commerce companies recognize that this is a fact but have yet to analyse; Why? What attributes makes one model sell better e.g. sports- or swimwear?

We can do a data analyses based on their website data, find certain patterns and identify the model attributes that are affecting the click-through-rate and conversion positively. Through this approach an e-commerce company can increase their revenues significantly, only by optimizing the model selection, or finding the best “Brand-Model-Profile”.

– How do you see that a SUP46 membership can contribute to you reaching your goals?
SUP46 has an extensive network both within investors and other companies. Through this network we are able to meet and discuss with people who can give us important feedback based on their success/failure. It is also a great meeting point with inspiring individuals and companies, and that gives us positive energy.

– What do you wish you would have known before commencing your startup journey?
You really need to be excellent in sales!

– What is SUP46 to you in one word?
Inspiration.

 


Meet the team – Tatjana

MEET THE SUP46 TEAM – TATJANA

Our Event Space sees around 250 events every year. The person keeping track of them all and making sure they are all of high quality and in one way or another relevant to the tech and startup scene is our Event Manager Tatjana. She is also the one responsible for SUP46’s own external events, such as our FemTech event series. Get to know her and how she ended up at SUP46 a bit better below!

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  • How did you end up at SUP46?

I ended up rather accidentally at SUP46. My background is from Event Management in the entertainment industry in Germany, I worked for Musicians, Comedians and TV Productions for more than 7 years. I moved to Sweden in 2011 as a “love refugee” and helped organizing the event “Stockholm Investing in Women Meetup” with my husband at SUP46. Here I bumped into Nathalie, then Event Manager and also Co-Founder of SUP46. She liked what I was doing and invited me for coffee to talk more about whether I would be interested in working with SUP46 and their events.

I started off as an Event Intern when SUP46 was just 5 months young. 3 months later I got hired as their Event Coordinator and just a few months after that when Nathalie decided to move on from her position to become the Community Manager, I took over her role as Event Manager. Before that I had never heard of Startups, VC’s, Unicorns (always thought it was just a magical horse 😉 ) and all those typical words you use in the Startup Scene. But I found it exciting, something new and totally different to what I did before. I like the environment and excitement of the people wanting to make a change.

  • What does your role at SUP46 entitle?

Being the Event Manager at SUP46 means mainly to be the contact person for all event requests for our event venue. Making sure their event will be a success through marketing support as well as giving them input on speakers and startups for their events. But I also organize SUP46’s own branded events like our Happy Hours, SUP46 FemTech, Demo Day and Swedish Startup Gala just to name a few. We have also started to be more present at other Startup Conferences like SLUSH where we took our Happy Hour concept on tour to Helsinki together with Stockholm Business Region.

I am also in charge of our conference rooms and the recently opened Startup Café by SUP46 where my role as a Creative Designer has been relevant. This happened during the planning of our move to the new venue at Regeringsgatan 65. Somehow I ended up designing our new venue and giving it the SUP46 feeling we were looking for and naturally the next step was to design and create a concept for the Startup Café as well.

  • What do you like best about your job?

The best thing about working at SUP46 is that you can take on projects that you have a passion for, even though they might not have been part of your role before. Or simply be creative by taking on new ideas and projects within your field. I enjoyed designing the new venue a lot and turning all our ideas that we had since 2014 into a physical space. I remember that one of our first workshops we had in 2014 was about the ideal SUP46 venue in 2016 and it’s great to see that we managed to implement almost everything we dreamed of.

When it comes to events I enjoy creating events where people leave with the feeling of satisfaction, to be able to have made some great contacts or simply got inspired. I think that’s what I am giving back to the community. Creating a place for people to meet, make contacts, get inspired, finding business partners or simply helping our startups through events like Demo Day to get connections to investors.

  • If you were starting your own scalable business tomorrow, what would it be all about?

I think it would be something in the field of events and/or design. I have been working with events for a very long time and all kinds of sizes. This is something I know by heart. The interest in design has always been there but in the last years it has become a bigger part of my work.

I remember a dinner party last year together with SLUSH and Startup Sauna and just for fun everybody needed to come up spontaneously with a business idea. I pitched the idea of having a platform to easily get help to design your home and especially to figure out what your style is through a questionnaire and get easy access to any kind of furniture. I think this field should be more easily accessible to any kind of consumer. I had at least two VC’s from Startup Sauna who wanted to invest! 😉

And if I do not find the right event management platform very soon, which suits my needs as an Event Manager at a startup hub, I think I have to start building it from scratch myself. So far I have not found a suitable one.

  • What is SUP46 to you in one word?

PASSION

 

If you want to host an event in our event space or rent a conference room for your next meeting, feel free to get in touch with Tatjana!


What it’s like to be a SUP46 member

WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A SUP46 MEMBER

Now that you know how to become a SUP46 member, perhaps it would be interesting to know what it means to be one? Maybe hear from a current member, someone that has been with us for long enough to have an opinion on most things SUP46? We decided to sit down with the founders of It’s My Styl, Josephine and Felicia to ask them a few questions about their SUP46 experience.

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–  Tell us a bit about your startup?

We’re running the app It’s My Styl, which is a social network for teenagers within lifestyle and fashion. The vision is to be an inspirational platform where young girls across the world can be creative and communicate about daily life with friends and likeminded. It’s My Styl is a 100% user driven community where the user both create and consume the content. We’re able to crowd-source trends among young women and can deliver deeper insights and niched target groups.

We’re a team of four based in Stockholm with a passion for building an excellent product for this new digital generation.

– Why did you first apply to become a SUP46 member?

We applied because we heard about “this cool place” which just had opened and were supporting awesome startups. We’re originally from Kalmar and moved to Stockholm because of the need for a community that could contribute with a location and an awesome network.

– What benefits have you experienced from sitting at SUP46?

The SUP46 community and network have been extremely important and beneficial for us, everyone is very helpful and want you to succeed. All from investor relations, media coverage, tech events and of course – a bunch of new friends!

– In what way do you interact with other people at SUP46?

We have not only gotten new friends in the SUP46-community, but have also been able to get new business partners. We’re for instance using 46Elks sms-service so our users can easily login and reset their password with their phone number. We’ve also collaborated with the Influencer marketing startup Beatly that helped us with a campaign to reach our target group in social media!

Also, you’ll always find interesting tech people, students and companies at SUP46’s monthly event Happy Hours, which is open for everyone, not just members.

– What are you aiming to accomplish within the next six months?

We want to close our ongoing seed-round and expand our team with one UX designer.

A lot of fun things are also going to happen on the product side! The app is going to get a whole new look AND soon we’re launching on Android where actually 50% of our target group is – so we’re hoping to be ready for a nice growth curve in the beginning of next year!

The majority of our stylistas are from Sweden today but we can see that the Finnish users is going to increase with 10% within these coming 6 months as well.

– Do you think being part of SUP46 will help you in reaching this?

Definitely, we’ve already gotten great investor leads from the SUP46 network!

– What is SUP46 to you in one word?

Second home.

It’s My Styl are also one of the startups joining us from Sweden on our next #NordicMade trip, at which we are visiting New York for the third consecutive year. Ringing NASDAQ’s opening bell, a pitch night with local investors and media as well as community building activities for all the Nordic startups and much more is on the agenda.

If you want to know more about a startup membership at SUP46, don’t hesitate to contact our Membership Manager Lukas.


How to know you should startup

How to know you should startup (w HappyTail)

Have you ever had the urge to break free and start your own company but feel unsure of whether or not startup life is for you? We asked Maja and Katharina – the founders of HappyTail, one of our members – a few questions about their thoughts on starting and building a scalable startup. Hopefully their input can be of help and answer some of the questions you might have about starting out.

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– Firstly, please tell us a bit about your startup.
HappyTail matches dog lovers locally. It is a fun and social network for people sharing the same interest: dogs! In the app you can easily find dog friends and dog sitters as well as dog friendly places nearby or join social walks in your neighbourhood.
The problem we see today is that dog lovers with common interests such as breeding, agility, social walks or mutual benefits – say you need dog sitter or want to borrow dog – can’t get in touch easily today.
We are solving the problem with a fun and social network based on location.

– How did you know you wanted to start your own company?
We have always been inspired by great ideas – especially when we see a need on the market but no solution for it – and if this is the case, then you have to go and fix it yourself!

– Do you have a routine of some sort to create order in the normally quite versatile startup life?
Yes, of course! We have weekly to do’s that we have split among the different team members and that we follow up each week. It helps to focus on the most important tasks and to see and evaluate our progress.
In addition we always start the week with looking through what else needs to be done and when and who we will do those tasks.
Maja: I personally exercise regularly, once a week with a trainer and the other days I keep active with cycling, running and power walking. For me it is important to eat healthy and combined with my daily exercises, it gives me the energy I need to feel good in the otherwise very stressful startup world.

– What is the best thing about running your own company?
You can work with something that you love. You can be a part of changing the future and making the world a better place 🙂

– What is the best thing about being female founders of a startup?
We stick out, there are not that many female founders in the tech startup scene (yet)!

– If someone reading this has thoughts or plans to start their own company, what would you say they should start with?
Find the right team that fills the necessary skills to get started without the need to have an investment in place.
It is important to check your own network first, because the longer you have known the person to join your team the better 🙂 But of course there are other ways as well, for example your friends’ networks or more formal networking events where you can find for example tech people. It is always important though to get a reference from a person you trust!

– How does one find a co-founder?
This part is really hard! You need to find someone that complements you and at the same time believes in the same vision as you. You should be able to trust each other and work well together, so the optimal situation would be that you have known this person for a long time, maybe have done some projects together and know that you can endure hard times together!

– What are the three things you wish someone had told you before starting up?
Most things we were told, but it’s hard to take in when you haven’t experienced it yourself. But what can be a challenge is:
1. Everything takes much longer than you think and also cost much more, you should multiply estimated time and money with 3 when planning your roadmap
2. It takes time to build the perfect team, because there are many components that are “more important” than a persons skills, for example passion AND personality. Don’t rush when building your team, it might be more costly in the end if you employ the “wrong” person
3. Try to get your legal papers and shareholder agreements in place as soon as possible, it can be harder and more time consuming to do this later on in the process

Do you have further questions or has this perhaps sparked an idea or two? Look out for the next SUP46 FemTech event, a great opportunity to meet and network with entrepreneurs and other women in tech. It will take place in our event space on June 20 and we will soon publish all the information here. You can also take a look at one of our previous FemTech events here.

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