After 12 years of running a modelling agency, Same Tham figured there needed to be a faster way to do things.
“Every time we needed to borrow talents from another agency, I thought to myself, I really wished I could have a system where I could easily find all the talents in Malaysia when I needed to,” he expressed.
The idea quickly materialised over coffee with a close friend who happened to be a programmer.
From there, Modello was born.
Simply Put, It’s Like Grab For Models And Brands
With the Modello app, brands have full control over the hiring process.
When a brand needs a model, they can set the job requirements and post it onto Modello.
As soon as the job is posted, talents who meet the requirements will receive an instant notification to apply for the job.
On the brand’s side, they’ll receive a notification as soon as someone applies for the job and can start reviewing the applicants immediately without waiting for a compiled list.
“Also, another benefit a brand gets by using Modello is that there are no hidden charges whatsoever,” Same added.
“The brand has total control over how much they are prepared to spend on a campaign.”
Scouting The Right Model
Because Modello encourages all talents (even aspiring ones) to join the platform, the jobs posted typically require minimal experience or skills.
So if a model feels over or underqualified for a job, they can simply not apply for those.
“We try not to interfere too much in the process of job matching. We want it to be as close to a ‘free market’ as possible,” he said.
That means letting the market decide the value of a transaction.
Where Modello steps in is in reviewing the rating systems by past employers.
A talent with a higher rating will naturally have an advantage over one with a lower rating.
Think of it like choosing which seller on Shopee or Lazada you’d rather buy from for the same product.
Most would naturally gravitate towards the one with a higher rating.
Modello also gets talents to provide as many details as possible during the sign-up process including their experience and skill levels.
All this information will be sent to the brands when someone applies for their job.
“Lastly, we also have an in-house talent manager, Pavell who will intermittently schedule phone calls and meet ups with talent,” Same shared.
A talent with a good job history and good scores from Pavell will get a ‘verified by Modello’ badge displayed next to their profile.
Transactions Use A Credit System
For the brands to advertise their jobs on the platform, they will need to buy credits.
For example, in order to post a job where a model is paid RM100, the advertiser has to get 100 credits from Modello in order to do so.
Modello charges a flat mark-up rate of 15% off all credit exchanges.
So to get 100 credits, an advertiser will need to pay RM115 to Modello.
As for models, the credits are transferred to them after completing a job.
They can then convert it into cash where each credit is worth RM1.
“Every 14th and 28th of the month, we pay out the converted credits into cash to our talents, automatically,” Same explained.
Currently, Modello has over 6,000 registered talents and about 20 agencies onboard their platform.
Same shared that a talent with a good track record and review ratings can expect to get perhaps 3 to 4 gigs a week.
On average, one gig would earn them RM300 to RM500, which can translate into RM4,000 to RM8,000 of monthly income if they get consistent gigs.
He shared that the platform’s biggest challenge upon first launching the app was getting advertisers to manage their campaigns themselves.
Back then, many brands would rather pay higher prices to agencies because they weren’t aware of how easy it was to find talents on a platform.
“We had to let them trial it out and, in fact, to this day, we are still giving out free credits and personal product demos to our agency clients so that they can try using our service,” he said.
Modello is currently in its pre-revenue stage and is actively trying different ways to achieve market fit.
The coronavirus has no doubt slowed them down but they expect to break even very soon.
At this stage, our priority is still to perfect the app and serve our first batch of customers well. Once we have achieved these objectives, we will then move on to expanding the service to more brand partners.Same Tham, co-founder at Modello.