WATCH | This new app is kind of like Uber or Lyft, but for the modeling industry. Instead of drivers, you have models -- who can book their own gigs on the go. It's completely changing the way modeling industry has worked for the last several decades.
Ubooker is the brainchild of models Claudia Wagner and Diana Gaertner, who are now co-founders of the website and app with two more co-founders, Nicola Scagnolari and Andrea Losso.
Wagner and Gaertner have been working as models for more than 20 years. Having seen all the ups and downs of the modeling industry, they decided it was time things changed, ultimately making it their goal to give back to the younger generation.
"I would like for the models to be in control of their own careers," Wagner said. "There were some agencies that, you know, insist on having their girls on a contract, not providing any work."
It was ultimately the unfairness of working with agencies that drove Wagner and Gaertner to start their own form of agency, in order to benefit the models better.
Modeling agencies in the U.S. typically have 20-30 percent commission rate and most models can only work exclusively with one agency. More often than not, the gigs provided by one agency doesn't earn enough for a model, which forces a lot of models to get second jobs that don't have anything to do with fashion or modeling.
So instead, Ubooker is contract-free and takes 10 percent from the model while giving him or her freedom to book his or her own gigs. The company also takes 10 percent from the client as well. Ubooker also pays the models within 96 hours, again challenging the industry standard of paying models within a couple of months.
"We didn't really invent anything here," Wagner said. "This is just the concept of cutting out the middle man - taking away the power from big companies and giving it to the individuals. This is why they compare us to Uber or Airbnb."
So far, Ubooker has 140 models approved for the site and more than 850 on the waiting list.
Each time a new model applies, one of the founders will meet with him or her in person before the final approval. The app is currently available in the U.S. and Europe.
"If you want to disrupt an industry, there will always be pushback because, you know, we're cutting out the middleman here," Wagner said. The founders expected some pushback from the modeling industry when they launched earlier in 2017.
"It's an industry that's been there for 75 years," said Nicola Scagnolari, co-founder. "We are trying to basically make it more efficient and more modern, streamline the process, and make sure that the clients are saving their money, the models make more money in the process while they do the job."