Kit for Kids
Photoshoot for catalogue images
Children aged 4–7
Diverse looks and types
Co-ordinate large number of models
Kit for Kids is a designer and manufacturer of toys and activities for children to use in nursery, education and outdoor environments, as well as prenatal products and cot mattresses. The company has grown to become a national leader in products that support the care, development and growth of babies and children, and its brand is now synonymous with innovation, uncompromising quality and – above all – safety.
Kit for Kids sells its products on a business-to-business basis via its own printed catalogue and also through a DVD. The company also lists its products in third-party catalogues, who then sell them into schools.
Early in 2008, Kit for Kids’ marketing manager Lindsay Castling contacted Models Direct for the first time, following an internet search. “I simply did a web search and contacted them from that,” she says. “Before that, people at the company had used their own children, and we’d used children from a couple of other agencies too.”
The ages of the children required depend on the type of products being marketed, and it’s also important to achieve a balance in terms of the looks and backgrounds. “We need to have a good ethnic and racial mix, and a variety of hair and eye colours too – not just blonde hair and blue eyes,” explains Lindsay. “I send over a brief, and Models Direct send back a range of options. I review their selection to make sure the children have the right look, and try to match up their ages as closely as possible with the products they’ll be photographed with. I don’t have any problems getting the mix of children we need.”
The child models used by Kit for Kids need to show the company’s products in use, either by playing with them or by pretending to use them in an educational setting. “We need children who are well-behaved, and outgoing too,” says Lindsay. “They need to be adaptable and able to understand the instructions they get from our photographers. We need them to look happy and smiley when they’re playing with toys, or concentrating if they’re using an educational product – reading, sitting at a desk or interacting with a teacher while they use a product, for example.”
In May 2010, Kit for Kids approached Models Direct for the second time in twelve months to source child models for use in its product catalogues, as well as in its partners’ marketing materials. Lindsay was seeking a total of sixteen models, aged between four and seven, to attend a full week of shooting in Norfolk. The final selection of models was Caitlyn, Megan, Dylan, Vivienne, Samuel, Fuschia, Zach, Morgan and Oliver. The youngest models were only asked to do half a day’s modelling, while the older children continued until mid-afternoon.
“We generally do one major shoot per year,” says Lindsay. “However, this one was more extensive than other shoots because we were shooting new products but also redoing a lot of our old products, just to refresh the images. Our photoshoot took place in Norfolk, near Models Direct’s headquarters, so their location helped us to control travel expenses.”
Lindsay was particularly pleased with the personal attention she received during the selection and booking process. “Lisa, the co-ordinator who provided our models, was very helpful, staying in contact throughout,” she notes. “She even came along to the shoot to introduce herself, which was very nice.”
A key concern for Models Direct is ensuing not only that clients get the images they need, but also that child and infant models are well cared for and enjoy a fun, stress-free assignment. All the children who modelled for Kit for Kids had a great time and many are keen to repeat their experience.
“Vivienne really enjoyed her first photographic assignment,” says her mum, Davina. “She had fun because they were playing at the same time. The assignment was really good and relaxed; we felt really welcome there.”
“Zach had a great time modelling for Kit for Kids,” says his mum, Sam. “We were given very clear instructions that made the day a breeze. Everyone was very professional… Thank you, Models Direct!”
Lindsay herself is pleased with the results too, and intends to keep coming back to Models Direct for more of the same in the future. “We’ve got hundreds of shots that I haven’t reviewed yet, but on the basis of the shoot I’m pleased,” she says. “The children we’ve had from Models Direct have been very good, and the prices are competitive. I’m sure we’ll carry on using them.”