Bella Agency - Leading the Boutiques
When it comes to modeling agencies, popular wisdom may suggest that bigger is better. For years models and clients have gravitated towards larger agencies such as Ford, Elite and Wilhelmina. Within the last few years, this presumption has been challenged. Now the trend is toward smaller boutique-style agencies. While these larger agencies have name recognition, smaller agencies can provide a personalized approach that larger agencies many times can not.
At the forefront of the 'boutique' agency phenomenon is the Bella Agency. Agency founders Ray Volant and Susan Weinberg pride themselves in their approach to serving their clients' needs. What exactly is the Bella Agency
Many successful models have found not only agency representation through Bella but overall guidance with regard to their careers.bringing to the table that has proven to aggressively compete with the many agencies in NYC? Without a doubt...reputation! Mr. Volant's contributions to the industry are well-known. It was his innovation that bridged the gap between fashion, catalog, and commercial print modeling having founded the first commercial print division at a strictly high fashion agency. Originally, fashion agencies only booked fashion and commercial print agencies only booked commercial print. Mr. Volant's vision was to blend the two within a high fashion agency with the purpose of capturing a share of the already prosperous Commercial Print market. That spurred the current trend in the industry whereby most agents cater to both if not more divisions.
With a combined 20 years of industry experience behind them, Ms. Weinberg and Mr. Volant have created for themselves a reputation for excellence and have established a network of contacts throughout the marketplace. Increasingly personal relationships and personality are playing a key role in their success. Now an agent, Ray Volant started his career in the modeling industry on the other side of the camera. Ray quickly went from Junior to senior agent at FFT, a small New York- based commercial print agency. Ray went on to FORD Models, where he created and developed two of its most successful divisions- Commercial Print and Men II. During this time he built a stellar reputation as one of New York's top 50 agents. Susan Weinberg began her career freelancing for one of the largest casting directors in New York City. This initial exposure to the entertainment industry led to Susan's next position as an Assistant Booking Agent at Cunningham Escott Dipene (CED). Her talent, hard work, and ambition led to rapid promotions first to Junior and then Senior Booking Agent. Susan subsequently brought her talents to FORD where she co-directed their Commercial Print Division. Now they have joined forces to create the Bella Agency with much success. Mr. Volant and Ms. Weinberg are well known and admired throughout the industry for their professionalism, work ethic, and good nature. This is what made their evolution from working for a Top agency to owning their own such a smooth transition. Their strongest supporters are among the elite in the industry including photographers, casting directors, models, art directors, etc. Many are rallying for their success.
Mr. Volant and Ms. Weinberg believe in developing a model's career, paying close attention not only to those jobs they book today but also those jobs they aspire to have in the future. It is difficult to offer this kind of service in a larger agency; many models end up getting lost in the shuffle. It was important to Mr. Volant and Ms. Weinberg to create an agency that incorporated the many values and principles they hold so dear. Owning their own agency had always been their dream. When asked if they were nervous at the prospect of forging out in what had been a struggling economy they stated, "there is never a good time to start a business- You just have to do it!"
In my experience as a model in NYC, I have heard only glowing remarks with regard to their character. It is their integrity, disposition, and approachability that has set them apart from the rest making them a true force in the industry. Many successful models have found not only agency representation through Bella but overall guidance with regard to their careers. Bella's approach includes managing their models casting and work schedules, arranging test shoots, and even scheduling the occasional hair appointment at many of NYC's Top Salons! For some, the big agency approach works. For others, who desire a more hands-on approach, a boutique agency may be right up your alley!
Doors opened at Bella Agency at 270 Lafayette St, NYC in June. The space offers a warm atmosphere that is inviting rather than intimidating to both models and clients. They service clients that include Levi's, Target, Yahoo, Sears, J.C. Penny, Macy's, Aqua fresh, Self Magazine, Oprah Magazine etc. The list goes on and on.
When asked what inspires them day to day in such a competitive industry they stated, "we just love what we do!".