Makeup artist Danelle French and photographer Lori Adams realized that Indianapolis-area photographers, stylists, and makeup artists needed an agency to represent them that had the best interests of the creatives at heart—so they created it. We caught up with Danelle and Lori to hear their reasoning behind the founding of aesthetic artist agency, and how they continue to strive to promote local artists in their endeavors.
The two of you formed aesthetic artist agency in the midst of the pandemic in 2020. What made you decide to take the leap with this venture at such an uncertain time?
We had already started working on the agency, and we were preparing to launch in March of 2020. We had interviewed multiple artists, had signed them, and had a few working prior to our launch. Like most of the world, we were thinking that the pandemic would end. HA! When the lockdown began, we were totally shut down for about six months. During that time, we continued to do outreach on behalf of our artists, in the hopes that the pandemic would be ending soon.
For those that aren’t already big fans of your work (yet), can you explain the mission of aesthetic artist agency?
We both have experience as working artists—Danelle as a professional makeup artist, and Lori as a professional photographer. As artists, we knew the difficulties of trying to manage the business side of things as a creative. Our thought was to make it easier for artists to work and create without having to worry about rate negotiations, invoicing, etc. We also wanted a place for our clients to easily find reliable, professional, and vetted artists.
You have a stellar lineup of local photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, location scouts, and wardrobe stylists that are affiliated with your agency. (Side note: Two members of the Indy Maven team, Faith Blackwell and Polina Osherov, are photographers with the agency). How do you find and choose who you will work with at your agency?
Thank you! We think so, too! At first, we had a list of artists that we knew who we told about the agency and asked if they wanted to interview. Most thought it was a great idea and signed with us. Over time, our artists began referring other artists to us, and now, it is mostly artists finding us online and reaching out for an interview. We really look for people who have diverse portfolios, a professional demeanor, and who are easy to work with.
One of the tenets of your business is that all of the artists that are associated with your agency are trained to “accommodate all skin tones and hair textures and work with all body sizes” in their work. Why was this so important to you both?
This is incredibly important to us, because there is a huge problem in the beauty industry of artists not being able to accommodate everyone. It is a problem that is slowly improving, but we wanted to offer a place for our clients to find artists who can work on ANYONE—artists that can work on all skin tones, all hair textures, all body sizes, and all gender identities. As artists, we want to help create a culture that is inclusive.
Like with all growing businesses, I’m sure there have been some bumps along the way, but what has been the thing you are most proud of during your entrepreneurial journey so far?
We love to see our artists achieve their professional goals! It is also very exciting to watch our artists get to work with organizations like the Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever, Finish Line, and Paretta Autosport, and also getting rave reviews from our clients about the caliber of our artists and the quality of their work!
What advice would you give younger creatives in Indianapolis who are looking to make their mark in the city?
We think the biggest thing is to reach out to people whose work you admire and offer to shadow, assist, and/or intern with them. At aesthetic, we have interviewed multiple younger creatives and signed them to our roster with the idea that we will help them build their portfolio by working with other artists on our team. So reach out to us, too!
You have already accomplished a lot in a short amount of time, but what are your long-term plans for the agency in the next five years? In ten years?
Thank you! Our long-term plans include getting our artists’ work at a national and international level over the next five to ten years.
Since you are clearly in the know when it comes to fashion, arts, and culture in Indianapolis, can you share some of your personal favorite places to shop?
That is a fun question! We both are committed to supporting local businesses as much as possible, but at the same time, we both have items from Target in our closet and in our homes. Here is a list of local shops we LOVE:
All photos in this story are courtesy of Lori B. Adams Photography.
Stephanie Groves is Indy Maven’s Executive Editor.
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