After experiencing first hand how poorly talent was being chosen to represent brands, Kat Quinn made the decision to start her own agency, The Kat Agency.
The Kat Agency makes a point of hand selecting, training, and mentoring each of their models and brand ambassadors in order to give their clients the representation they deserve. Some of the services offered by the agency include brand activations, experiential marketing as well as on and off premise events.
We spoke to Kat about what inspired her to start her own business and what her entrepreneurial journey’s been like to date.
Tell us about your work. What inspired you to start your business? Where did you start and where are you now?
I began my career as a corporate spokes model for a variety of very well-known international brands. Seeing an industry grossly mismanaged, I saw opportunity everywhere. Speaking on behalf of a brand for public engagements was a large responsibility. It was amazing how poorly talent was being chosen for this role and how they were not positioned to bring the best results for the brands represented.
I started my agency to evolve the marketplace as a whole. Both sides of the industry needed to be fixed; How clients find talent and how talent is presented to clients. By hand selecting, training, and acting as a guiding force and mentor, The Kat Agency created an ideal environment to thrive. Brands really didn’t know how to utilize spokes models correctly, and it’s a $350 Billion industry. At almost every event we worked, brands would ask how to hire us. To date, we have grown strictly via word of mouth. When things really ramped up, we began creating our own technology to manage the many moving parts.
I now run a company with 4,000 national talent, 14 regional managers, and an office with 9 employees. I’ve changed hats in the last 6 months to focus more nationally and internationally. Having almost 1,500 talents working regularly in South Florida, we are internally promoting team leads to managers and managers to regional managers. I’ve also taken on a larger responsibility in business development and expanding the technology we’ve built.
Lately, I’m attending more women in tech events and have grown into a mentor for young talent. I still personally work major events and complete every talent on-boarding call. Our company slogan is “Lead by Example” and I ensure to set a very high bar. Going the extra mile to provide turnkey solutions, I include items like wardrobe in every booking.
What do you see for your future?
I see The Kat Agency expanding even more within the tech and modeling scene. We have already grown so much in the last few years that I believe the future holds great success for my team and I.
What did you eat for breakfast?
I had basic oatmeal with some fruit and nuts, a quick and easy meal to get me started for the day.
What’s your workout?
I used to have a solid workout regimen, but as work got more and more busy, I fell off the wagon. But I still try to participate in Yoga and Pilates when I can!
What gets in YOUR WAY? What’s the one thing you’d like other female founders to know about overcoming that?
Being a woman, running a business in a women-dominated industry, with most decision makers being men has all been a challenge.
It has definitely not been a smooth road. Our agency is disrupting 4 major industries (recruiting, marketing, talent management, social credibility (LinkedIn) and creating innovate technology to achieve our goals. Every day is a battle. A few struggles:
- Getting past stereotypes. People hear “models in Miami” and instantly think they know you. If they only knew my average talent is college educated, speaks 3 languages, and represents brands like Ferrari and Cartier.
- Growing a technology company. Miami is currently undergoing an infusion of tech, but it was not easy to find a CTO. We don’t have a major tech industry or a pipeline of great talent. I had to travel back and forth to Los Angeles for almost 6 months, meeting some of the industry’s biggest players to sort out how to build the technology we currently utilize.
The best advice I could give to female founders is to not be afraid. Being a business owner, I have to deal with a lot of other business owners and successful people who can sometimes be intimidating. Being confident and sure in myself, my staff, and my company has been the biggest help in keeping me on my path.
What’s your favorite tech tool today–a must have app, platform or software that helps you run the firm?
The Kat Agency has an in-house CTO who is amazing! Sean Cosentino created our very own App that allows our talent and clients to book talent effortlessly. Cosentino also created our website, he transformed our site from a manual to a completely automatic website, making my life so much easier!
What would you say is your “entrepreneurial superpower?”
My ability to multitask. As a business owner you have to be able to take on multiple projects at a time and over the years I’ve learned to juggle a large amount of jobs at once. I’ll be working on a job while also texting back a talent, while simultaneously taking photos for our social media accounts. It can be a lot, but it took years of practice to be able to multitask at the level I do.
Who is the entrepreneur you admire most right now? Why does s/he inspire you?
Jordan Tomback, my business partner and husband. Jordan has worked tirelessly to help me build my career and my dreams. He helps with business development and has created the structure which led The Kat Agency to become the agency we are today. And Sean Cosentino, who is my CTO, has been critical in building the technology which has allowed us to grow. Like my little brother, Sean has an incredible work ethic and has built a system in half the time some leading tech companies told me it would take.
What the best advice you ever got, and from whom?
I have a fun quote which I think sums up everything “Wake up early. Drink coffee. Work Hard. Be ambitious. Keep your priorities straight, your mind right and your head up. Do well, live well and dress really well. Do what you love, love what you do. It is time to start living.”