Nearly 30 years ago, Dyon Hagenaars founded the company DC Models in Holland. From day one, he has been the creative driving force behind the company and today, the company not only has a branch in Ibiza, boasting an elite portfolio of top internationally-acclaimed models, but is also the industry’s first stop for the whole fashion show package.
Ger Valkenburg, partner to Dyon, joined the DC Models team having previously been in the spotlights as a working model. Bringing with him his immense knowledge in fashion and sales in the international market, he supports all his customers with his years of experience and vision, with his mission to ensure every projected is unique and customised by him.
Known for his meticulous planning, his no nonsense ‘Don’t Whine. Just Do’ attitude and his vast experience in the fashion industry, the Absolute Ibiza team met up with this Ger to hear all about his story and how DC came to conquer the catwalks of Ibiza and beyond.
How did it all begin? Tell us about the start of the brand.
It was 29 years ago when Dyon Hagenaars founded the company DC Models in Holland. The core-business of the company in Holland is fashion and shows and we offer the complete picture. We provide everything that is needed to do a fashion show; models, backstage coordination, presenters, technique, stage, decors etc. Everything that is needed have a great show can be sourced and provided by DC Models. We try to offer our customers the total concept, allowing them customer the time to do their job and whilst we do ours. This way everybody can do the things they do best.
Three years ago, DC Models @ Ibiza was added to the company. In Ibiza we work with models from Holland, Belgium and Germany who are all professionals and very serious in what they do. In our team we are proud to have ‘Hollands Next Top Model,’ ‘BeNeLux Next Top Model,’ ‘Mister Universe,’ and the ‘Dutch Catwalk Model of the Year.’ This is how we try to make a difference and set a high standard on the island. When there is a booking, we fly in our team of to professionals and after the show is done the team flys back home.
Aside from complete fashion show production, we do a great deal of photography, both in Holland and Ibiza. We try to have our Dutch customers shoot in Ibiza and our Spanish customers in Holland. Either way, we have a lot of contacts in both countries who can be of use for that.
How has the business grown to be where it is now? What has contributed to your success?
Part of our success is in believing in ourselves and in the people we work with. We never make promises we can’t keep because we know exactly what our strengths are. We don’t sell air. We also work with a very experienced team. All of our office team has worked as either models on stage or in front of the camera, so each and every one of our team knows exactly what they are talking about.
We also only work with people we know personally. We know their plusses and minuses, so we know exactly who to send to the right job. This way we never have unpleasant surprises. We coach and train our people every few months and are sure to attend the job ourselves in order to react directly should there be any issues.
Aside from that, we have specifically chosen to grow step by step. No big peaks! Taking it step by step. This way we have built a good base for our company, both in the Netherlands and Ibiza.
At what point did you recognise the success of your business and the love the international industry have for the DC name?
A few years back, having established a huge market share on the Dutch market, we started getting requests from abroad asking for our models. Our name as a serious, respectable and trustworthy company had passed over the borders. This wasn’t something that happened at once; photographers and fashion brands found our models and company step by step over the years.
Being a recognised brand in the industry, have you worked with any top fashion brands you can share with us?
We work with a wide range of customers, with the most well known being Ronald Kolk Couture. Ronald is a classic Dutch couture designer who is very well known in Holland and the surrounding countries. Besides that, we have worked with Dutch designer Addy van de Krommenacker for many years. He’s more Italian in style. Addy also dresses a lot of Dutch, Belgium and Italian Royals. We are also extremely proud of the fact that we work on the Claes Iversen shows. Claes is the designer that dresses our Dutch queen Maxima. His work is very high level couture, so you can only imagine how very very excited and mega proud we are to be working with him.
Last year we did a shoot for World Family Ibiza. This was great opportunity for our company to expand over the borders, as this brand is huge all over Europe. Last but not least we are very proud to have worked on the big Pam Hogg fashion Show on AtzarÓ Ibiza. Pam is very well known, with her most famous client being Lady GaGa. With this opportunity, we had the chance to show ourselves in a totally different league.
In Holland, DC Models is the biggest partner in Bridal shows. We do the shows for TLC’s ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ and we were the first agency to show the Randy Fenoli collection in Europe!
How has the advent of social media impacted on you, I can see from your online presence you seem to embrace this.
Launching our Ibiza company has certainly boosted our online presence tremendously. Before we started our Ibiza office, we did quit a lot on social media, however we found that after doing a few shows in Ibiza, our amount of followers started growing enormously. For instance, after we did a Nikki Beach show, our total Instagram followers grew by 20,000 in a month with followers from all over the world.
After that, we started to work on our social media even more. We have even extended our team with someone to do this for us and write a monthly blog on our company and its events.
The team must be pretty large these days. How many people are now part of the DC machine?
We work with six full time people in our offices and two part timers. Each one of the team have their own tasks; one doing social media, one doing administration, two doing bookings and I run sales in Holland DC Models and Ibiza. My partner Dyon (our founder) runs the Netherlands department as well as the planning and creative work and we have one full timer working in Ibiza for us who is Spanish and used to work as a stylist for Spanish magazines Vogue and Elle.
We also have people working in our warehouse, technical department and on transport. Last but not least, we have a huge amount of models on our database. On a yearly basis, we place about 300 people on modelling jobs.
How do you stay relevant and current and where do you get your inspiration from?
We are constantly inspired by what we see around us, both in the Netherlands and in Ibiza. Social media is also now a big part of our inspiration; Colours, emotions, etc.
We work with a lot of youngsters on our team that give us a fresh view on matters and we truly learn a lot from the young!
Finally, we cannot forget our customers. All of these people are creative minds. Each and every one of them has a different view and style. For us as a team, these people are so very important and inspiring.
Which projects are you really excited about for 2019? Are there any future plans you can share with us?
This year we worked on the Ibiza Bridal Week shows and last February we were at Paris Fashion Week as well as a tremendous amount of foreign shoots. Last but not least DC Models @ Ibiza were chosen to do the big Adlib shows in May in Ibiza. Last year a complete team of our models were also flown in to Denia to do a fashion show there for Adlib.
We also do shows at Ocean Beach and are part of the upcoming 15th edition of the AtzarÓ Fashion Festival. In Holland we are working with a new designer for us; David Laport. David’s designs are extravagant and colourful and we are so very exited to work with him.
Why are you different to other businesses within the model and fashion industry? Explain what DC clients get?
Our team is honest, straight to the point, respectful and punctual. Part of our strength is our communication, both to our clients and to our models. We listen very carefully to what our clients want and try to step in to their shoes. Aside from that, we work with a very strict planning process. We do what we promise and we can be reached 24/7.
How has the new office in Ibiza helped your business? Do you feel the country’s high creativity levels have contributed to your further your success?
Yes, definitely! Ibiza is a small island with a lot of creative people, designers and brands visiting every year. In the past few years we have found that so many great contacts can be made there behind the scenes. This networking has resulted in our models walking at London and Paris Fashion Week, as well as working on many international shoots for brands we have met on the Island.
Working in Ibiza has even gained us lot of exposure in Holland for our Dutch company. The ‘Ibiza’ name has a high level of magic all over Europe. No amount of adverts could have done this for the DC name. There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there is ‘the Ibiza experience’.