Fashion Directory Le Book launches high-tech partnership with Ubooker – WWD
When was the last time someone was seen flipping through the pages of a real phone book?
The answer to this question worries companies like Workbook and Le Book. In the past, these companies, which list and promote designers in the fashion industry, were pioneers, their directories of several hundred pages and a must-have for every creative director, stylist or producer. But since the arrival of the Internet, the search for creative talent has changed dramatically. There are several ways to do this now and most of them live online.
Wednesday evening in Berlin, Fabien Duverneuil, one of the founders of the Book, launched in 1982, unveiled a solution to the digital challenge of his company.
The Book will join online model booking platform Ubooker in a strategic partnership that will see the original directory, which describes itself as “the bible of the image industries”, bring its extensive catalog of creatives online. Starting this fall, potential customers will be able to browse and book photographers, illustrators, makeup artists and more through the Ubooker platform.
The venture between the two companies will be known as “Creatives by Le Book – powered by Ubooker”.
“The Book was created 45 years ago,” Duverneuil told WWD in an exclusive interview shortly before revealing the company. “Digitalization was inevitable. It has been a difficult process, of course, and we have also just launched the new Le Book site. …However, we’ll still love print too, so we’re happy to now be able to handle both.
The Book still publishes print directories each year in four markets – Berlin, New York, London and Paris – but since 2005 it has also focused on hosting dozens of in-person networking events for creatives. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company had to go digital.
It was at the first of these digital summits that Duverneuil met the founders of Ubooker.
The site, which uses the slogan “by models, for models”, has been described as a sort of “Uber” of modeling because, although the platform’s talents are all selected, Ubooker bypasses agencies and offers a automatic billing, faster. reduced payments and commission fees. Originally, Ubooker, which was founded in 2017 and is based in London, specifically targeted large e-commerce companies, some of which book up to 30 models a day to shoot their product. Ubooker has made this process easier and faster.
Speaking to Duverneuil at one of the Digital Connections events, the synergies between the two companies became evident, Ubooker CEO and co-founder Nicola Scagnolari told WWD.
“Ubooker could bring its [online] expertise to help discover and book professional talent,” Scagnolari explained. “It made sense because our technology can easily be adapted to an adjacent segment of the market.”
Ubooker could have started listing photographers and other creatives themselves, Scagnolari admitted, but “The Book has over 40 years of industry experience and know-how. It seemed like a natural choice.
“Our organizations remain focused on our respective areas of expertise,” added Duverneuil. “Le Book’s marketing and networking, and Ubooker’s technology and innovation, in a mutually beneficial relationship.”
Asked if he thought some agencies might see Le Book’s move online on a platform like Ubooker as problematic, Duverneuil dismissed the idea.
“It could be considered controversial, but obviously it’s not necessary,” he argued. “Our goal is to include our partners – clients and creatives, but also agencies – in this development, to learn from them and offer them new opportunities for their talent roster.”