Strategy Guide for Urban Models to Create and Launch Look Books Globally

Look books are publications in the form of a printed book or a digital e-book with more focus on visual content with minimum text. Many urban models in the past failed to own their image as intellectual property and failed to diversify their revenue stream and urban models should learn from those mistakes. In this article, we want to discuss creating and promoting look books for urban models as a long term and viable revenue stream. The benefit of a look book is they focus on visuals instead of text and that makes look books global market ready. In addition, look books are very popular in global hub cities around the world from Tokyo to Rio to Paris people have them as art on their coffee tables and among their private library collection. There is a big void in the urban model game for polished look books and this is the open niche and opportunities for urban models to step into the global look book market and do it the right way. Understanding Overhead and the Hustle Every hustle comes with overhead. For example, if I create a web site, I have to always create a terms and conditions page, a privacy policy page, login features, account management features and so on. Those things are overhead and extra tasks that are not directly related to the hustle. The first lesson we want urban models to learn as a smart entrepreneur in the media game is to learn how to master the overhead once and reuse the same template on all of their hustles. Again, if we have the template to apply to the opening credits of the movie and the ending of the movie or the template to a book cover, we knock out that heavy work when we produce more and more titles or movies after the first release. I understand cats want to get into the true hustle grind but before any hustle, learn to identify the overhead parts and knock them out as your first task to establish your foundation you can continue to build upon on all of your future hustles. Extrapolating Data from Existing Look Books The first step me and you urban models are going to do together on this blog is analyze existing look books on the commercial market and extract data. The data we are going to extract sets the baseline and what consumers expect of the look book in terms of number of photographs, number of pages and pricing points. Pharrell: Places and Spaces I've Been List Price: $55.00 Price: $34.65 Hardcover: 248 pages For your online research, what you want to do is go to the Art & Photography section in Amazon and look at the categories of existing book. Then what you do next is start using the “Look Inside” feature and start looking at the layouts and the pages. You want to see how pages are layout and how pictures are positioned and clip these images in a folder somewhere for future reference and point of inspiration – nice fluff words to avoid saying swaggerjack the stuff you found cool. Now in Pharrell case, 248 pages is a lot and I assume there is text involved in this book. And we found some pages that have text in it. A lot of this page layout can be done in Microsoft Office or even some of the open source stuff like GoogleDocs or Open Office. So look at these page layouts while you are at it. Monica Bellucci List Price: $60.00 Price: $37.80 Hardcover: 240 pages Okay, it look like we gather some more information looking at the “Monica Bellucci” photo book by reading the following in the description: “This glamorous volume features 150 of the most exquisite, sensual photographs of Bellucci throughout her twenty-year career taken by the world’s most important photographers, including Peter Lindbergh, Helmut Newton, Fabrizio Ferri, Richard Avedon, and Ellen von Unwerth.” So now we know 150 photographs will be the “standard” so you can do more research but from this point, I think me and you pretty much have enough baseline information as a stopping point. Number of Photographs: 150 Hardcover Book Number of Pages: 250 List Price: $55 Retail Price: $35 So now that we got a baseline, this is what important when talking about starting a business – yeah, other Black media don't give you this kind of content..I know. Learning from Kyary to Apply Batching Strategies to the Look Book Model Earlier, I wrote an article on this blog for sistas to understand batching and parallel processing to get rich with global hustles. From what I saw and research on Amazon with you now on the existing books, 150 photos are a lot and 250 pages is a lot to start off with your first look book. But the price, well, let’s talk about that later. So before I continue, I want urban models to know who Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and learn very fast to like her, study her and take notes. That is an extremely lovely iconic video above and this chick is real talent and a real model and to be honest, if you urban models couldn’t tell, she is more of a model in her latest video above as well as all of her videos. And if you ain’t feeling it, go look at the number of views on the video and see if anybody cares what you think – Kyary is a global star and rising. In fact, she is our role model and template for what we are planning as a framework for urban models and the look book is one of her strategies we are going to talk about now. Now, I want you to check out Kyary photo book that came with her last album, in fact, you should be studying the format and everything in the following video: Notice how some of the photos span two pages and I believe there was a section that probably had lyrics for her songs on it. This is something you can take away on how a look book should be formatted. Also noticed it is not a hardcover and that is where I want to discuss batching and Kyary. I noticed something about Kyary in 2013 – she is releasing singles instead of waiting for a full album and she is smart. She is releasing her EP in 97 countries via digital download and now you see why I want you urban models to love her and study her well. Many artists are doing this also, releasing singles instead of albums to increase their sales and have a quality stream of hits instead of album “filler” songs that will never get airplay. That is the batching strategy I want urban models to apply to their look book strategy. Instead of creating one big look book with 150 images and 240 pages for $60 retail, create a smaller batch of look books that can be compiled later into a box set and sold as a box set. So with that said, we can cut up 150 to 6 smaller look books with 25 images and sell them for $10. Now instead of cutting the price from $60 to $35 like you saw on Amazon, you list the price as $15 to $10 and you will get your full $60 back. That is why I explained the importance of learning how to batch your releases into smaller releases. Plotting Distribution Strategy You will need to start estimating how much it is going to cost to create a look book, how you going to distribute it worldwide and what it takes to sell those books and get your money. Physical books cost money to produce – if you are an urban model, avoid this unneeded startup cost and focus on digital media as you can always do hardcopy when your money is right down the road. In fact, it may be easier to sell and promote the digital copies worldwide while pushing a few hard copies in New York City or Tokyo or Paris where they will sell better. Distribution is an overhead strategy – once you figure out distribution then you use the same channels over and over again for future look books or other commercial products and tours as an urban model. For digital media, you will need to a standard format and that standard format is Adobe PDF. There are ways you can generate Adobe PDF documents from open source stuff like Open Office but Microsoft Office do some with an option to save files as PDF documents. The most important reason to do PDF and don’t listen to someone else is to apply digital rights management or DRM to make sure you get paid for copies out there in the market. Now once you have a PDF, then you need to focus on how you going to distribute it. Remember the end destination is going to be mobile phones, tablets, desktop computers and you need to test your document to see if they can appear well on those devices. The best thing to do is download the publishing instructions from Apple for iBooks or Amazon Kindle or self-publishing web sites and bloggers who will have good advice. Now, if you want to do physical book printing – I suggest sticking to paperback covers and make sure the paper is a high quality paper design for photo printing. That kind of paper is not cheap and that is why I said urban models new to this may just want to stick to digital distribution which I believe is easier anyway. Even if you do a physical copy – put a QR code on the physical book for browsers to scan to pay for the digital copy as a stealth marketing/showrooming tool inside the store. Reviewing Cost and Pricing What will it take and cost to create a look book? You should write everything down what you think, research web sites and write down everything you miss and put estimated costs. You need the scene for your look book or multiple scenes and that cost money. You need photographers and possibly models and that cost money (they want royalties from sales too). You need digital artists to make your final copy and that cost money. So all of that cost money but here is the thing – urban models should learn how to batch their costs into smaller budgets. Again, let’s go back to Kyary and check out this look book and her video (which is a promotion tool): Do you notice all she did was dress up and go around Tokyo? Found places and her photographer took pictures of her. This is a nice low budget and 25 photo look book that can be created and something urban models should consider as a low cost. Seriously, this is why I want urban models studying Kyary and I will keep saying it because she showing yall how to do it. I really don’t know the cost because a creative shoot can really just cost a few outfits mixed together from a thrift store or Plato’s Closet and around town and be less than $100 including the time to edit the videos on a computer and create a PDF to about $30,000 if cats want to hire stank attitude models and shady photographers and airbrushing cats. I really want urban models to challenge themselves and focus on creating a 25 page look book with a budget under $300, seriously. For pricing, you can list at $15 but expect to sell for $10. If you had a budget of $300, then you will need to sell 30 digital copies and add another 50% to make 45 digital copies to break even and start making profit from there. And if your book is good and creative, you can be selling $10 copies for months and months as you tour as an urban model and then some. That’s your residual revenue while being an urban model the previous butt models failed to do to get their money up right. Creating a Theme So what type of look book are you going to create? Are you going to create a photo book showing urban models traveling around London, then Paris, then Milan as an urban model in Europe? Or are you going to create a photo book with urban models at clubs with pictures going to, hanging out and it’s sunrise and urban models are just hanging out at the rooftop poolside? Or how about a drama unfolding look book that show a model in action like going to work with pictures of them in the bathroom, eating breakfast, in traffic, going to work, working, going home and relaxing? See all of the possibilities of an urban model look book instead of just skin pictures? Let’s talk about the type of overall themes and you keep these in mind as you create one for your look book. Vertical Style. This is basically one urban model with multiple styles. This is where you feature one model and put them in multiple settings where you are focusing on highlighting the one model. Horizontal Style. This setup is multiple models and they can be one style like Victorian or dressed up in sports outfits. This type of setup usually focus on the theme more than the model in question. Era. Focusing on an era such as historical periods such as Antebellum or Art Deco and putting the urban model in a snapshot of that era is good visuals. Event. These are events such as urban models during Hurricane Katrina, supporting President Obama election, a day at the hair salon and so on. An urban model should be very creative and use themes based on these characteristics and come up with something unique. These themes is what going to sell, not skin shots which is what the previous urban models done in those garbage magazines and pics distributed on butt model blogs. In fact, an urban model do not even need to have a nice body, she can just be creative in scenes and do better than those other chicks with implants, tattoos and other nonsense. Creating the Shots for the Look Book Now that you are getting ready to start your look book after establishing a budget and a theme, you want to start prototyping first. This is using images from the web or use Google Map print screens of scenes and place them in the book first. You want to create a prototype of the book with fake photos and text to create the layout and flow first. Once you do that, then you replace the photos with real urban model photos and replace the text with real text. It is the form and layout of the look book that matters and you want to prototype that first before doing any photo shoots. Now once you do the layout, then you can do your photo shoots. I won’t get into details because that is the meat of your hustle whether you want to green room and put scenes behind the urban model or send them to China to take pictures on the Great Wall. What my focus was on was helping you get down the overhead part so you can keep creating look books over and over again like a factory. Releasing and Promoting Your Look Book Let’s get something out of the way, you got all the time in the world to promote your look book so don’t worry. Take your time, slowly build up your audience and don’t blow all your money on some big launch party. What you want to do is just carefully plan your global strategy and positioning for your book to be sold. Remember that overall, you are releasing your book worldwide through digital media and you are probably going to release limited editions of hardcovers you can sign or autograph in a big city like Houston or New York or something like that. There are plenty of marketing strategies you can do to sell your book digitally and let’s just talk about a few: Facebook Page: You can create your Facebook page of the look book with the behind the scene photos and also show a small thumbnail gallery of the photos and provide a link to where they can buy the photo book. Blog Advertisement: You can pay bloggers to host a banner ad of your upcoming look book and focus on the smaller ones, not the big blogs who will be acting stuck up and jealous of you trying to be a successful urban model. You Tube page: This is where the previous urban models seriously screwed up at. These urban models used YouTube for dumb ish like hanging out with old horny DJs and promoters or losing maximum revenue potential messing around with WorldStarHipHop instead of pushing their own brand. Use YouTube to run commercials for the look book and use YouTube professionally – no silly trite crap. Actually, I want to stop because I did have a list and I’m about to change up at the last minute after thinking about what I said with YouTube. Here is the thing and what I want urban models to realize – you are selling to a global audience who will be downloading your look book. That is thousands and thousands of downloads worldwide from your book. So $10 x 10,000 downloads is $100,000 for your 20 photo look book. I don’t want you urban models getting caught up going to some broke ish like Black bike week, Black beach week, going to some broke ass college campus or military base. Focus on real markets around the world and position yourself right. Stay focus on the real money and look at Seoul, Tokyo, London, Rio, Paris, Milan, Lagos, Johannesburg, Berlin and so on and target those markets. Make yourself an international star and focus on fashion and style, not some broke ghetto model crap. Best of Luck with the Look Book I think urban models can be really creative with making and publishing look books and creating a worldwide distribution setup. Remember that as an urban model, most of your peers ain’t thinking like that and don’t believe in themselves to go out and achieve the big money out there. You should not be scared and I hope I gave you enough information to move forward on. I think if urban models actually sat down and did the numbers and estimates, they will find creating look books to be a better long term revenue strategy than skin modeling or hanging out in negative rap videos.

3 thoughts on “Strategy Guide for Urban Models to Create and Launch Look Books Globally

  1. Great article ED! I can’t stop incorporating broader ideas based off yours. This is an excellent idea for staging models for some sistas hair extensions, clothing & t-shirt, mobile dried foods vintage display, etc! This is a great idea to give some young ppl something to do this summer bcuz its getting HOT! and they need outlet oportunities like this. hey even inputing links to media on certain pages for interviews, video product promotions, etc. Making the look book more interactive since we are already working with QR codes.

    I’m gonna research some more to step it up on my end.


  2. Thank You!!! Thank You!!! Thank You!!! I will send the Look Book live links. I will never forget the help Ed. One day soon I will reference this article, during a business launch interview as on of my most important reads ever. Trust&Believe

  3. Great Works! Ed, I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your time and energy and all of your posts, and especially during Women’s History Month. Each and every post has been most informative. Helping Sistas, to truly understand their unique value, gifts, talents and position. Affirming the necessity for tapping into inner self for positive change and creative productivity, here and abroad, this is real leadership, Brotha.

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