Brigitte Warne was a successful, 25 year old model when she co-founded Silver Fox Management. An agency that exclusively represents top, mature age models, the oldest being 98!
She Does This sat down with Brigitte to discuss life before Silver Fox Management (SFM) and how her career as a model set her up for a successful life as a manager.
SDT: So prior to Silver Fox Management, you were a model yourself! Can you give us a bit more of an insight into what life was like before started SFM?
BRIGITTE: Life was a lot more unpredictable and spontaneous before starting Silverfox MGMT. Usually, I wouldn’t find out until the day before if I had booked a job, or what castings I was meant to be attending (which was very annoying sometimes!).
In some ways my life before starting Silverfox MGMT was amazing because I had so much freedom. I had the opportunity to complete two university degrees, ride my horses, model internationally and start a small business (which I went on to sell).
When I did have work, I'd usually have an early start, at a studio or an outdoor location, spend an hour in hair and makeup and then the rest of the day shooting! Shoots are normally quite long, and physically demanding but if you have a great crew on set, it's always fun!
There are some challenging aspects to life as model: never knowing when your next job will come in, how busy you're going to be and how much money you're going to make. I learnt to take it in my stride and focus on other things during the quieter times.
Overall it was a great life, and I feel very lucky to have been able to have had so many opportunities whilst modelling!
SDT: What was the inspiration behind starting SFM?
BRIGITTE: Silverfox was born out of a desire to create a more inclusive and diverse industry. We really wanted to change the crazy perceptions that society had created around ageing. We had identified that so many brands and companies were neglecting their most affluent and loyal consumers in advertising, which we knew had to change!
We also looked at overseas trends, and after the success of all the body positive campaigns, we knew it was the right time to start looking at age diversity.
The other issue that was facing Aussie brands was that even if they did want to
use more age diverse talent in their campaigns there wasn't anywhere for them to be booked from……and so Silverfox MGMT was born!
SDT: How do you think being a model yourself has helped you running an agency?
BRIGITTE: It's been a HUGE help! Even though I'm only 28, I've been in the modelling industry for over 10 years, so I have a very good understanding of what makes a good model.. and let me tell you, its not always good looks!!
Quite often clients are just looking for models that are professional, flexible, reliable and good at taking direction, rather than choosing someone who looks like a supermodel!
I'm also able to understand what makes a great agency from the models perspective, as well as the clients perspective. I'm incredibly passionate about Silverfox MGMT and all our incredible models. I've worked tirelessly to ensure Silverfox MGMT is an agency that I would love being with if I was a model - where the models always come first, and that our clients love working with us!
SDT: What was the hardest part of starting your own business been?
BRIGITTE: What's NOT hard about running your own business?!?! We faced so many hurdles and challenges in the beginning: from accounting issues, to trying to hire the right staff. It's all a challenge!
I actually think the hardest part has been knowing that at the end of the day, everything falls on me. Owning a business is a 24 hour commitment, especially in the modelling industry where everything is last minute and high pressure!
At one point last year I realised I was working so much it was starting to take a real toll on my mental and physical health. I forced myself to make some changes. I had take a little step back and hire the right staff. I was a bit of a control freak in the beginning, so I had to learn to delegate to others (which sounds like it should be easy, but letting other people do your work for you is REALLY hard!!).
SDT: You’ve gained some amazing media coverage for your business. What would be your top tips for women wanting to get their business or name out there and gain exposure?
BRIGITTE: We've been so luck to have such amazing media coverage!! I was very lucky that my business partner Georgia Branch, had a background in PR, so we were able to kick things off with a bang!
I also think the reason we've been able to continue to gain so much media attention is because what we're doing isn't all about making money, it's about challenging stereotypes and making a positive change in the world!
We realised very early on that the media loved to hear about business's and people that are creating a positive change or filling gaps that haven’t been filled before, which is why Silverfox MGMT and our #agepositive movement is always in the media.
My biggest advice would be, no matter what field or industry you're in, you need be a game changer, a disruptor, AND be prepared to take risks! It is scary as hell, but ultimately that's what will make you stand out and make people take notice.
SDT: What does the future look like for Silver Fox Management?
Silverfox MGMT just keeps getting bigger and better!! We're lucky to have grown so rapidly since we launched 2.5 years ago, and have since opened up divisions in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and New Zealand.
Our next step is take Silverfox MGMT global, so we are actively looking into other international markets, with our eyes firmly set on the U.S.A as our next stop!
We just want to keep spreading our #agepositive message around the world, and hope that our agency continues to grow and thrive!