Luxury, fashion, beauty & digital

Luxury, fashion, beauty & digital

A Digital Perspective – Taryn Williams, WINK

This month I’m talking to Taryn Williams, Managing Director of WINK. Between asking for my first modeling shoot, I’m consistently impressed with WINK and their narrative on the beauty and fashion world around us.

A beautiful website, a great story.  Our relationship is purely digital.

How has digital and social technologies changed the model, fashion and beauty industry? Tell us about your own journey, and how it’s been shaped through these elements. 

When I started modeling social media was all my friends and I all trying to read latest edition Vogue at the same time! It’s amazing to reflect on how things have changed so much in so little time.

We have all heard the stories of a young models being “discovered” at a local mall by an agent. But these are one in a million and often more urban myth than real. In the past if you were not with an agency you really had no way of getting your name out there. In the digital age aspiring models have access to audiences that they simply did not in the past. Whether that audience is an agency staffer, media publications, corporate executives or the public at large, access to an audience that can “discover” you is irrefutably much, much broader. That is the opportunity for the model.

From an agency side I would make a couple of observations.

Firstly the power that was previously been wielded by large established agencies has been eroded. The lower costs of establishing an agency, in so many ways facilitated by digital technologies, has seen an increase in the number of smaller start-up and challenger agencies. And being challenger businesses these new companies are often happy to lower their margins, be unconcerned with exclusivity contracts or simply increase the supply of models into a market of relatively flat (arguably diminishing) demand. This is good news for companies that are procuring models but bad news for the status quo agencies. The established players have a decision to make, embrace changing markets and adapt or face the kind of annihilation that the music industry has experienced since the widespread adoption of digital technologies.

On a personal level WINK has been able to challenge established agencies for reasons such as these. At the most simplistic level we are able to supply a high quality product being great service and talent, quickly and efficiently at a lower cost. Add to this the experience and sophistication that WINK staff have from years in the business, then for a buyer of our services it’s a pretty compelling argument.

The other point that I would note is that like the individual model, our business – through the adaption of digital platforms and predominantly social media – has the ability to market ourselves very quickly and for almost no cost. Show me a person who doesn’t like to look at models shot beautifully and I’ll show you a liar!

Digital and social technologies quite simply have allowed new businesses such as WINK to compete with the big boys (and gals!). We are super excited about the future not defending the past.

Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.