With all that’s going on in the world it can sometimes feel like nice guys/gals finish last, but time and again I find that ethical businesses that are transparent, honest, and put their clients first, come out on top.
GFE Model Services is one such company.
In business for twenty years, GFE Model Services is a one-stop shop helping models, companies, and labels develop and design websites that function as fully independent e-commerce platforms. They further create branded merchandise via their in-house service Fangear, produce magazines, coffee table books, calendars, and more.
They also manage to do it all at a reasonable price which they pass on to their happy clients.
Find out in this interview with their CEO/Founder, Danny Ferretti what he considers their biggest strengths are and why GFE Model Services continues to be competitive in the marketplace two decades later.
Tell us how GFE Model Services got its start and how it shines with all the competition out there.
We started out 20 years ago as a partnership between me and Rachel Griffen, who is now my wife. For years, people thought GFE stood for “Girlfriend Experience” but it’s actually an acronym for Griffen-Ferretti Enterprises.
We’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredible brands over the years (NFL, WebMD, Hustler, ABC News, Shoutout Express, Sophie Dee, Kendra Sunderland, etc.). I think we stay relevant and continue to keep up with the competition because we really do care about our clients’ success, and we make sure we do what we say. Our biggest asset is transparency.
How do you keep your website design prices so reasonable yet do such good work?
Well, first, thank you for acknowledging the quality of our work. Our pricing model is not rocket science. Unlike other print on demand sites, we are actually the design, the manufacturer, and the fulfillment house. We’re able to keep our prices low because we don’t farm out our production.
Everything we do is in-house, and because of this, our pricing remains extremely competitive.
What type of thought goes into branding a model and creating magazines and merchandise?
Those are three completely different animals to be sure.
When we think about branding, the most important thing we look at is the brand’s ability to act as a chameleon of sorts. The model, and by extension the brand, MUST be able to adapt and grow with the ever-changing landscape of marketing and social media. Let’s face it, what worked last year will get you shadow banned today. There is no brand without social media. And it goes way beyond models. Watch any recent episode of Shark Tank – one of the biggest questions involves the entrepreneur’s social media footprint.
Let me repeat that… There is no brand without social media.
Now magazines and merchandise are a whole different sack of potatoes. For us, we start every Fangear model with our 20 base products. Once we can see how our audience (and the model’s own fan base) reacts to her merch, we can hone in on some products that are specific and unique to that model.
For the magazine, we don’t charge models to be featured, that keeps everybody honest and equal.
Every model has the same opportunity, including models that are not our clients. Models can advertise if they choose, but our team selects the featured sections. We do have some models that have released their own magazines and coffee table books. Those are very detailed items, and we work very closely with the model to make sure it’s exactly what he or she wants.
Talk to us about your in-house branding service Fangear and how it gets models on the radar.
We’ve been doing model calendars for about five years and honestly, Fangear was born out of a necessity to create revenue during the off-season. There aren’t many calendar sales between February and November. Right after fangear.vip launched, it quickly caught on and just about every model and performer we were working with wanted branded merchandise.
As far as getting models on the radar, we don’t do a lot of outreach models find us through referrals. Fangear really sells itself since the platform is free. And we’ve been fortunate to be the only full-service print-on-demand (POD) company in this space. Most of the other POD sites farm out their production so there are double fees and expenses – we are the manufacturer AND the distributor so we can keep our prices well below other sites.
What are your goals for GFE Model Services?
We are always introducing new products to the Fangear line, and we are now offering some in-house products like trading cards and paint by numbers. Overall, we want to grow GFE by developing new model centric properties like The Influencer magazine and our newest project, Tapestry, which will be launching over the next 45 days. I know you’re going to ask me what Tapestry is, but for now, let’s just call it a Connection Portal.
Our goals are simple, we want to continue our growth path and we want to stay transparent with our clientele. They should know how and where we profit from their participation. We also work hard to be an asset to the models and performers we work with – if we’re not an asset, then they really don’t need us, do they?