Venus Stock is a newcomer with a focus on the premium beauty, health and wellness market. Victoria Hulett-Gross, CEO, talked with Infozone contributor Brantlea Newbery about the collection.
Small, specialty agencies have increasingly become a rarity in the time of the ‘big box’ shops. Also the economy has been so troublesome – in this climate what compelled you to start Venus Stock?
Before starting Venus Stock, I was already doing Visual Branding consulting for my own clients in the beauty, health and wellness fields. Venus Stock really evolved out of the needs of my existing clients; I saw a deficit in premium stock photography specifically for the health and wellness and beauty markets.
With a background in modeling what drew you to stock as a business model for this venture?
With my background in years of modeling and traveling around the world shooting with many world-class photographers I became aware of lighting, makeup, hair, what it takes to create a great photograph-the details. I draw on this experience for my content and productions of what I want to shoot. It was an easy crossover to continue working with the great teams of people I’ve worked with as a model, now on the producing and sourcing side of things, It helps tremendously.
Tell us about the ‘Venus Stock’ collection and how it compares with the current offerings.
Our collection is composed of high-end, ad campaign-ready images; images that meet the highest standards of quality. We work with photographers who understand our market and share our vision. There’s an attention to detail that you can really see in the collection- the quality of the models, hair, makeup, retouching, and production value that makes a Venus Stock image stand out.
Beauty is so subjective and each culture and generation defines it differently. What defines a ‘Venus Stock’ image and does the collection have the elasticity to embrace different perspectives?
A Venus Stock image could be a macro image of a rose all the way to a beautiful model in a fashion spread. What makes an image successful is the ability to convey beauty on an emotional level; images have to connect with people rather than remain only aspirational. The beauty industry is about more than how you look, the reason that the beauty industry is so huge is that it taps into how we feel. Beauty is about recognizing what is special and unique so there’s absolutely room for diversity in age, size, gender, color, and lifestyle. At the heart of it, our goal is to create images that inspire people on a personal level.
There must be many photographers anxious to submit and work with Venus Stock – who are a few of the contributors that come to mind as a definitive shooter for you?
It is so hard to single them out, to name a few of our most prolific photographers:
Dorit Thies- Her work exemplifies the type of high-end fashion and beauty imagery that is unique to Venus. Her photographs are fresh and creative with absolutely gorgeous hair and makeup, all executed flawlessly. She has been with us since day one and believed in the vision of Venus stock.
Amir Magal- A rising star and a photographer we love working with. His photographs epitomize the mission of Venus; Amir is able to capture the essence of the healthy mind, body, and spirit in a very authentic way.
Dominick Guillemot- A highly experienced photographer in the beauty specialty, we are very lucky to work with him. His images are classic, timeless, and effortless.
Tell us about a few of the usages that are unique to the collection – images that Venus has that the client could not find elsewhere.
The unique business model that Venus Stock has is many of our images are presented to our custom clients so they have the first opportunity at exclusivity, before we introduce images to syndication. This gives our custom clients the ability to have exclusive imagery for their branding.
Can you talk about the changing face of beauty?
We are trying to meet the needs of an increasingly health conscious market. Beauty is about wellness and health at any age. The market of women over 50 etc., is really still only begun to be explored, there is so much untapped beauty to be “discovered” and we look forward to producing much more imagery that speaks to changing perceptions in beauty. We are so fortunate to be located in Los Angeles with so many beautiful people from all walks of life, we don’t have to look far for inspiration. Venus certainly does slant heavily towards women, as that is the core of the market, but we love beautiful men and are excited by the increasing amount of attention the male health and beauty segment is getting.
Do you ever see Venus Stock moving into motion or repping photographers? Where would you like to be in three years time?
Those are all areas that we are already moving into; we shoot motion with many of our productions and are in the process of packaging the content to complement the stills. Since much of our work is producing campaigns for custom clients, we do rep our photographers for those assignments.
Our most important focus is building our brand, we want to be known for the finest premium stock in beauty, health and wellness worldwide. We have created an exclusive collection for the premium Contour Style brand by Getty Images, Venus Stock is also available through Superstock and various other distributors who understand the unique nature of our imagery.