Sue Walker founded Kids London, a children’s modelling agency, in 1996 after having worked as a model herself. Noticing a gap in the market, the agency was born out of Walker’s dedication to providing the modelling world with a wider representation of the children in urban London. Talking to Schön! Sue gives an insight into the person behind the successful company. We discuss the glamour of the 80’s modelling world, starting your own business and making amazing things happen for other families.
You started out as a model, what was that like modelling in the 80’s/90’s?
Less pressure than today’s modelling world, more relaxed, good money, lots of fun and plenty of partying in all the cities. We were young and having fun, seeing the world and earning good money. I had a fantastic time and met some great people…saw many wonderful places.
Do you ever miss modelling?
No. As I grew older and had a child, your priorities change, going away from your children when they are young did not appeal to me.
Starting any new business is hard, what were the biggest problems you faced when you first started out?
You have to believe in yourself to make others believe in you. Also for me, working in an office 10am-6pm, 5 days a week – I just wasn’t used to that kind of life. So I needed to adjust to being committed and to less freedom.
How does your previous career as a model help when running Kids London?
A lot, I’ve lived the life of a model and know what it’s like to go on the castings, the rejection, the effort that is required, the travelling involved. You cannot buy experience.
How has the children’s modelling industry changed since you began your agency?
Its grown so much in the last 15 years, more designers and brands are doing kidswear. It really has turned into a mini adult modelling agency in the sense of advertising. Big campaigns with big name photographers, and edgy editorial shoots, [it’s] very stylised. Parents will always spend on their kids more than themselves and retailers recognise that. Also everything in adult fashion you can guarantee a mini me version.
You set out to create an agency that reflected a diverse range of children, has your ethos changed at all since then? If so/not, why?
No my ethos hasn’t changed here in the UK, especially London. We have a huge mix of all races and cultures, which makes for some wonderful/ beautiful faces. I find that more interesting to photograph, for the past few years the top kid models in Kids London have been either Chinese, or mixed race afro Caribbean.
What plans do you have for Kids London in the future?
To continue to strive at being one of the best kid’s agents, and to give people opportunities that they may never have had. I love making amazing things happen for people and families.
What advice would you give to someone trying to start their own modelling agency?
Good luck. It’s very hard work and takes a lot of dedication. With any business it takes over your life which can be difficult if you are also raising a family. You only get out of life what you put in, the same goes with a business.