Kaash is the CEO of Kaash Models, an agency based in London with models also located in Birmingham, France and hometown Bermuda, where Kaash grew up. We got to sit down with Kaash to learn more about what it takes to run a busy agency…
How did you get involved with modelling originally?
“I used to model a bit before university but I had some issues with how myself and some of the other models were treated, so I decided to leave and create my own agency. It originally started as me just giving jobs to my friends who were also models – I fitted it around Uni as I still had to revise for exams – but it just grew from there.’
‘More people started approaching me for jobs and other models wanted to get involved. It went around by word of mouth at first and then I decided to take it seriously as a business.”
What has been your career highlight so far?
“I would say the biggest highlight was when The Plug released his project, we got to be on the D Block Europe and Offset video set for the ‘Rich’ song. In the same week, we also did the Swarms, Annie and Polo G’s video ‘Telescope’.”
You moved here from Bermuda four years ago – how did you get to where you are now, doing high profile shoots, in just four years?
“I think it comes down to me networking every time I meet someone – even if it’s just mentioning what I do to an accountant. You never know what could happen in the future. I think it stems from that, as well as just staying organised and professional.”
How do you go about networking?
“Just face to face, or online, a mix of the two. I would say it’s about a 50/50 split. Everything is better face to face – meeting face to face with another agency, for instance, it’s very important as you get to meet the artists, the cameramen, everyone involved on a set.”
“I often go to events just so I can meet people and see what happens, and then I’ll follow up with just an email or a message. You can’t force that sort of thing but if they bite, they bite. I just keep putting myself out there and doing these things. It’s like applying for a job – you just keep trying and trying until someone gets back to you.”
What qualities have helped you grow your company?
”I think my ability to adapt is one thing that’s helped me a lot – I lived in New Jersey for a little while before I ended up here, so I’ve had experience of living in several different countries. I think that’s rubbed off a bit in terms of how to deal with different people. When I say ‘adapt’, I mean adapting to different people and how they see things as well as just different environments. People are different to manage – some of them you can just leave to get on with it, others you have to take a bit of extra care to set them on the right course. It’s a useful skill to see just who your client is, what they want and how you can work with them to give the best service.
“Organisation is another thing which I keep bringing up. I can’t let anything get in the way of delivering for a client and a key part of that is communication – that’s very important. If a client has completed a job or is in between assignments, time mustn’t be wasted. When you’ve got over seventy girls on your books then these things become important.”
Is that how many girls you have working for you?
“Yes, fifty or so actual models and twenty who we’ve recently recruited. I’m proud to say I know all of their names, all of their heights and where they’re from. They’re all just such different people, and I love them all for it. There’s one girl, for instance, who arrives at every shoot looking like mandem and then she’ll just turn on the magic, and she’ll be all beautiful, wearing a dress and everything.”
Do the models approach you to join the agency, or do you go out looking to recruit them?
”When I started it was them approaching me, although I would reach out to certain people I wanted and recruit them. Nowadays I have a dedicated recruitment team though. My website has a link for prospective models to send applications and then the recruitment team will be in touch within about two weeks to see if they want to take it further, so that’s usually how it works.”
“Even little things like how quickly they respond to our emails all gives us a sense of just how professional they are. Things like a girl’s Snapchat or Instagram all show us how they present themselves, and we take those things into account too. We do
n’t even ask for professionally-shot pictures in our application – we just let them send in whatever photos they feel will make the best impression, and if we see potential there, we will take them on board. Even if they’re not wearing make-up in the picture, beauty is beauty – if we like what we see and judge that you treat it like a professional, then that is all we need.”
You talk a lot about organisation – is it stressful balancing Kaash Models with being a student? Or does it come easily to you?
”I’ve just started my last year at uni and, of course, there have been times in the past where I’ve felt like it’s all too much to handle but most of the time I actually find it quite a refreshing change from the agency, as the subject matter of my degree (philosophy, politics and economics) is so different from the agency.
“My degree involves quantitative data – finding patterns in large amounts of numerical information – and I find that sometimes translates to what I’m doing in the agency, too. At the end of the year, I’m able to look over the figures and see which girls are getting booked and why, or which girls aren’t.
“I don’t think going to university was a necessary qualification for what I do – or, in most cases, what anybody wants to do – but I think that for me personally, uni definitely helped by introducing me to like-minded people to network with.
“I’ve met people who are going on to start their own clothing brands and businesses. That sort of thing really helps to keep you motivated, like-minded people who are all growing together. But I think that instead of uni, the most important thing for starting your own business is simply to sit down and ask yourself ‘is this for you?’.
At the end of the day, you’ll be working a lot harder and longer than you would in a regular job. As an employee, you can clock off work at 5 pm. With your own business, it’s so much harder to separate yourself like that. Some days you’ll be getting up at 1 am to work and wonder how you’re going to keep going. You’re always moving forward, looking at how to expand or what to try out next. That pace never really lets up.”
Where are you planning on taking the agency?
“We’re expanding into more countries, looking for more booking agents who can provide commission jobs. We’re also working on some clothing and merchandise which should be coming out this year. Other than that, we’re just looking to keep growing. This business is very day-by-day. You never really know what the future holds. A lot of our business comes from music videos and brand ambassadors – some companies send our girl’s merch and they get paid to model it.”
“I have a team of 5 agents, who are working with us now, which is helping us a lot. We’ve also started Kaash Mafia, which is performers of any type and talent including fire breathers and dancers. Growth into other sectors is the main goal moving forward for 2020/2021.”
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