As models get better and become more established, chances are that they will end up having multiple agencies. This can mean agencies in other cities as well as agencies in other countries. So with all these agencies, which one is the mother agency?
A mother agency is an agency who helps a model work with secondary agencies, typically in other areas around the world. Think of it as the agency that you call home. A mother agency may place you in other areas of the world for work, but they are considered your main agency. Like all agencies, mother agencies work off commission (roughly 10% – 15%). This is in addition to whatever the international or secondary agency charges (typically 20%).
Models can and typically will have more than one agency as they become more established. They may have one in NY where they spend most of their time, and an agency in Paris where they go for fashion shows during fashion week. If the agency in NY helped the model land the agency in Paris, the NY agency is considered the mother agency and will take an additional 10%-15% on top of the 20% that the Paris (Paris agencies may take a lot more) agency takes. The mother agencies takes this commission as basically a “finders fee” for finding you the agency in Paris. Some agencies in an area may even work together with each other to form somewhat of a monopoly on a market, the agency that you are signed with or associated with is your mother agency.
Some models have no mother agency and simply belong to multiple agencies on their own. You can have a NY agency as well as a Paris agency, but make sure both know about each other. Agencies can be sensitive. If an agency is helping you find other agencies around the world, they are your mother agency. Of course you can do this on your own and bypass the mother agency commission, but that means all the research and leg work is up to you. Many agencies have been in the industry for a while and have developed great relationships with agencies around the world.
So let’s backtrack, a mother agency is a model’s main agency who helps them work with secondary agencies, typically in other areas around the world. Mother agencies work off commission (10% – 15%) in addition to whatever the secondary agency takes. This can make it harder to earn money, but is generally worth it as mother agencies have many connections that a model may not find on their own. The term Mother Agency is actually a simple term used to describe your home agency. So there you have it, now you know.