Laura Molderings and Dominik Badent, the founders of VIA Model Management, are not your average agency founders. They’re super passionate about their work and both are extremely determined and focused to closely support and care for their models by building a talent-first agency. In the past years, VIA quickly gained popularity and is now placing their talents with leading international agencies and have secured jobs from famous designers around the world.
We spoke with Laura about the origin and future plans of her agency.
Let’s start with VIA in one sentence.
We’re passionate, straight forward and caring.
Tell us about your scouting approach – what’s your focus and why?
Our current approach at VIA is very selective and we only sign talents that have a high chance of becoming a successful international model. We lay our focus on not only the physical appearance of a model but also their professional behavior as well as character and overall vibe. The girls we start to seriously develop have to be into modeling with their heart and soul because otherwise, it’s unlikely for the model to connect with clients and therefore to have a good career.
How did the journey of VIA start? What motivated you?
In 2012 immediately after my bachelor, I decided I have to start my own mother agency together with Dominik, who is the co-founder of VIA. While I had found a great New Face, we had to create a name, logo, website, bank account and so on in one week. Our first successful models were signed and also we organized the first days of Berlin Fashion Week from there. We worked non-stop. It was such an exciting time.
For me, it was always very important to have happy girls, who can enjoy working in the model business with being protected from things that could be not nice. We believed it was necessary to go a different way, as it was usual in Germany, to create consistent and flourish careers. That’s why Dominik and I are very passionate to keep our girls’ backs free and why we focus directly on the international market.
We realized we had to invest more than the industry average into the knowledge and the skills of our models with the risk of no return. To be economic we had to improve workflows and build our own unique system that gives our models tips and advice for all areas and levels. We strongly believe it was the right way to invest systematically into training the skills of our models, in a unique personalized way.
We always want to offer the best we can. We really love to help our models to be best prepared and then later to be able to execute on the highest level. That is what motivates us.
What did you do before starting your agency?
I was always so much into photography and did start to do a lot of shootings in 2008 with New Faces from leading agencies in Germany. These photo skills help our models a lot in their beginnings.
While I studied communication design in Cologne, I started to scout new models for the agencies I worked with. Through my scouting and during my study I got an internship at one of the biggest agencies in Germany and besides running VIA, Dominik and I did another internship 2014 at one of the biggest agencies in London. Both opportunities taught me the foundations.
What’s your biggest success and challenge so far?
For us, the biggest success is when we get a big thank you from our models because they are happy with what is happening. Also, it was always a special moment for us when cool bookings from big brands were confirmed, e.g. Saint Laurent, Chanel, Dior, Valentino, Miu Miu, Gucci, Jil Sander, Balmain, Elie Saab, Maison Margiela, and many more.
Our biggest challenge was to create consistent successes. We had to learn that a girl may get a great booking once because of her beauty but to create momentum and get rebookings or even requests for bigger projects from a client, requires so much more than beauty.
What’s the meaning behind the name VIA?
VIA means way/street. We wanted to create a system that gives our models a way to achieve their goals in the modeling business. We love that the V points down and the A up. So we will go with our models through all ups and downs.
Tell us about your talents: any story you want to share? Successes, setbacks, fun moments?
We are blessed with so many lovely girls and so many fun stories.
Once we had a situation that one of our girls was sitting in her school class while I received a call from Gucci, that she is booked for their show. Her mother packed her luggage and she took a flight to Milan directly after school and walked the show. It was such a wonderful unexpected moment.
What are your goals with VIA for 2022?
Happy models and happy partners. Dominik has planned some exciting new enhancements for this year. We want to keep working on our system, to help our girls as much as we can to build their careers and to enjoy the work.
If you could change one thing in the modeling industry, what would you do?
I wish everyone would respect the time of models more. Especially during fashion week, it is always heartbreaking to see how unorganized some castings are. The models time often gets exploited, as they have to wait for hours or need to come back for the 3rd time, even late at night, and in the end, will not be booked and will be left frustrated and unrewarded for all their time and efforts.
What do you like most about WhoCan?
We like how easy to use and fast WhoCan is. WhoCan is bringing innovative technology solutions to everyone in the industry – creating something that helps agents and casters alike.
Lastly: Why should casters definitely work with VIA Models?
As a specialized high-class mother agency, we can offer our partners a service orientated booking experience with international upcoming or well established talents with a great work ethic.