We’re thrilled to feature a new venture by a pair of friends in the industry; Nicole Lloyd and Taro Naruse are leading the charge in bringing art production into the modern era with their project Make Create which makes finding a talented crew a simple, streamlined experience.
They’re just getting their feet under them now, but keep an eye out for their platform (or better yet, join in!), because it surely will be the next big thing.
What is Make Create?
Make Create (launched January 2016) is a vetted, nationwide directory of top advertising and editorial photography crew. For photographers and producers – and whoever else needs to hire crew – we make it easy to find the best people for the job, no matter where your shoot is in the U.S.
You need a top-notch stylist and photo assistant in Portland, Oregon? How about Portland, Maine? We’ve got you covered on both fronts. You can search by position and by location, browse profiles, view portfolios, read recommendations and ultimately, message anyone you’re interested in working with, directly from our site. All of that is free, and does not require you to create an account.
For crew, you can create a free profile and get discovered/find work in the manner described above. You can also message other fellow crew on the platform for networking purposes or just to say that you admire someone’s work. You must be invited by another member or a site administrator in order to list on the site.
Who is Make Create?
The co-founders are Nicole Lloyd and Taro Naruse, a husband and wife duo based out of Austin, Texas. Nicole is a photo producer and former art buyer and Taro is a tech veteran and entrepreneur.
How did you come to focus on Photography?
“Nicole has experienced a lot of the pain points we are trying to solve firsthand – both as a “buyer” (a producer looking to hire crew) and a “supplier” (a producer looking to get hired on more jobs). So we clearly understood what the problem was – we just didn’t know how widespread it was. As we started to research the idea further, virtually all of the feedback we got from the market was positive, which was surprising. It was clear that these needs were broad and that a solution, if done correctly, would be adopted quickly. In the end, it’s pretty intuitive – people want to work.”
Why don’t you list Photographers?
“We get this question a lot. The short answer is: we think it’s a totally different market, with totally different customers and totally different needs. We wanted to focus on one thing (crew) and establish our name and credibility by doing that one thing really well. That doesn’t mean that we don’t think this is an interesting opportunity – we definitely do. It’s just not the first thing we decided to set our sights on”
How does the site make money?
“We make money by selling “PRO” or Premium accounts to crew. In addition to the beautiful free online profile you get (looks great on mobile devices too, btw!), the Premium account gets you preferred positioning in our search results, the ability to list your profile in multiple markets, more photos, more credits and the ability to “tag” your profile with relevant search keywords.
“We think it’s priced to sell (~$10/month) – but the truth is, we’re not overly focused on revenue; if we make something that people value, the money part will take care of itself.”
How has the response been so far?
“Amazing. Better than I think we could have ever hoped for. We’ve got well over 1,000 crew listed on the site – and a lot of people who just have stunning books and the best reputations in the business. We’ve been generally blown away by the caliber of the people who have signed up and how amazing their work is.
“The site has had over 50,000 visits since launch, and we’ve helped to staff dozens of projects across the country – for brands like Nissan, Lincoln, American Apparel, Google, and Wrangler and shooters like Kristin Barlowe, Joe Boris, Randal Ford, Brian Garland, Mark Hill, Amanda Marsalis, Pat Molnar, Chris Stanford and Jeff Stockwell.”
“Our number one priority is to have the best people in the business listed on our site – without them, this doesn’t work. We are always out trying to find the best talent in the industry and talking to them about our site. Folks who we don’t talk to directly can always apply to list on the site as well.
“We’re also spending the latter half of this year focusing more on marketing the site to photographers, reps and producers. Now that we have great talent on the site, we want to raise our profile and get more people using it to staff their projects.
“Of course, we’re always improving the site as much as we can – soon we’re going to improve our search experience, let photographers write recommendations for crew and add retouchers to the site.
“Our Instagram is also starting to get really interesting – we’re featuring individual crew – assistants, hair and makeup artists, stylists, etc – and their work on our feed. The response there has awesome. I think people really like seeing the other artists who are working hard on set and reading about their stories. It’s been really fun and inspiring to put together!”
Thank you Jimi Stine for help with the post.