28 years ago, Dyon Hagenaars founded the company DC Models in Holland. Today, the company has a branch in Ibiza and not only has an elite portfolio of top internationally-acclaimed models, but it is also the industry’s first stop for the whole fashion show package.
Ger Valkenburg, having been in the spotlights as a model joined the DC Models team, bringing with him his immense knowledge in fashion and sales in the international market. With this inside know-how, 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.
With a slogan of ‘Don’t Whine. Just Do.’ Absolute were keen to meet this fashion mogul and get the low down on DC.
Take us right back to the start. How did the brand’s story begin?
Nearly thirty years ago, Dyon Hagenaars founded DC Models in Holland. The core-business of the company was and is fashion and shows. 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 to have a great show can be provided by DC Models. We try to offer our customer a total concept. The customer can do his or her own job and we do ours. This way everybody can do the things they do best.
3 Years ago DC Models @ Ibiza was added to the company. In Ibiza we work with models from Holland, Belgium and Germany. All of these are professionals and very serious in what they do. In our team we have ‘Hollands Next Top Model’, ‘BeNeLux next Top Model’, ‘Mister Universe’, and ‘Dutch Catwalk model of the Year.’ This is how we try to make a difference on the island. If there is a booking, we fly in our team and after the show is done the team flys back home. We set a very high standard on the Island.
Besides that we do quite a big deal of photography, both in Holland and Ibiza. We try to have our Dutch customers shoot in Ibiza and our Spanish customers in Holland. In both countries we have a lot of contacts 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. We don’t make any promises we can’t keep, because we know our strengths. We don’t sell air. Besides that we work with a very experienced team. All of them have worked as 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 only work with people we know personally. We know their pluses and minuses, so we know exactly who to send to the right job. This way we never get to have unpleasant surprises. We coach and train our people every few months and attend the job as well in order to react directly in case of any issues.
Besides that we have really chosen to grow step by step. No big peaks! Taking it step by step. This way we have built a stable base for our company, both in the Netherlands and in Ibiza.
At what point did you recognise the success of your business and the love in the international industry people have for the DC name?
After we had established a huge market share on the Dutch market, a few years back we started getting requests from abroad asking for our models. Our name as a serious, respectable and trustworthy company had passed 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. The most well known in this list are Ronald Kolk Couture, a classic Dutch couture designer who is very well known in Holland and the surrounding countries. Besides that we have worked with the Dutch designer Addy van de Krommenacker for years. He’s more Italian in style. Addy also dresses a lot of Dutch, Belgium and Italian Royals.
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 worked on the big Pam Hogg fashion Show on AtzarÓ Ibiza last year. 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.
Starting our Ibiza company has boosted this tremendously. Before we started our Ibiza office, although we did quite a lot on social media, we found that it was only after doing a few shows in Ibiza that our amount of followers started growing enormously. For instance, after we did a Nikkie Beach show our total Instagram followers grew by 20,000 in a month, with followers from all over the world.
After that explosion, we started to work on our social media even more. We have even extended our team with some one 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 them have their own tasks; one doing social media, one doing administration, two doing bookings, I’m doing sales in Holland and running DC Models in Ibiza and my partner Dyon (our founder) is running the Netherlands as well as doing planning and the creative projects. We have one full-timer working in Ibiza for us who is Spanish and used to work as a stylist for Spanish magazines such as Vogue and Elle.
Also we have people working in our warehouse, on technical and transport. And last but not least we have a huge amount of models in our database.
How do you stay relevant and current, where do you get your inspiration from?
We keep getting 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 also work with a lot of youngsters on our team that give us a fresh view on things. We truly learn from the young!
Don’t forget our customers in this matter. All of these people are creative minds, each and every one of them with a different view and style. For us as a team, these people are also very important and inspiring.
Which projects are you really excited about for 2018? Are there any future plans you can share with us?
We are very proud to be the agency to do the Claes Iversen shows starting this year. Claes is a Danish designer working in Holland. He dresses the Dutch Queen Maxima and his work is very high level couture. As you can imagine, we are very excited and mega proud to start working with him.
We will also be doing the big AtzarÓ Fashion festival in Ibiza for the third year in a row. And last but not least, DC Models @ Ibiza has been chosen to do the big Adlib shows in June on Ibiza..
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 into their shoes. Besides that we work with a very strict planning. 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 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 good contacts can be made there behind the scenes. This has resulted in our models doing the London and Paris fashion week last year and international shoots for brands we have met on the Island. It has also given us a 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 a some things money can’t buy, for everything else there is the Ibiza experience.