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Startup chats with Taryn Williams of WINK Models and theright.fit

Startup chats with Taryn Williams of WINK Models and theright.fit

We sat down with serious entrepreneur and tech startup wiz Taryn Williams to hear about her journey first starting WINK models and now moving onto theright.fit


Taryn - it's so nice to sit down with you, you're somewhat a legend in the tech startup world here in Australia. What's your elevator pitch on both of your businesses?

WINK is Australia's leading commercial modelling agency, with over 700 models Australia wide. We have offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and represent a diverse range of ages, ethnicities, sizes and skills. We work on a huge variety of campaigns from catwalk fashion shows to TV commercials to red carpet events to experiential campaigns.

theright.fit is an online marketplace for creative talent, allowing you to find, cast, and book creative talent on demand. Theright.fit connects you with hand picked and fully screened photographers, models, makeup artists, actors, stylists, influencers and so much more. You'll be able to find and book all the people you need for a successful shoot or marketing campaign and manage the entire process through our platform, making it faster, easier and more efficient.

Both sound fascinating. When did you start and where are the businesses at now?

I started WINK 10 years ago (gosh that makes me feel old!) and I started theright.fit nearly a year ago. Both are still growing month on month, but obviously very different businesses, which I love.

Sounds like it. What was the driving reason you started WINK and Theright.fit? 

For WINK, I had always loved the industry, but there were so many things about it that I wanted to change. Having worked as both talent side as a model and client side as a producer, I felt the pain points from both sides. I wanted to solve those - improve the relationship between client and agent, ensure talent got paid within 7 days, provide a supportive & inclusive working environment. 

With theright.fit, I fell in love with working with technology when we built the Wink App that now powers that business. I saw a need for a 2 sided marketplace for the creative industry to put the power back in the hands of the people it belongs with, the clients and talent, and allow them to produce content in a faster, more efficient and more affordable way.

Your passion for the talent industry is very evident and it sounds like your doing amazing things for both sides - both the talent and the clients. Was there a pivotal lightbulb moment or event that made you go, “I’m doing this. Now.”?

I think seeing the changes in the advertising landscape - the move towards 'snackable' content for always on social channels, the rise of the social media influencer, the proliferation of freelance talent... it just felt like the perfect time to launch a marketplace for creatives.

Definitely, it's changed immensely. I read the other day that we're soon to see something like 70% of our advertising on mobile, what a digital world! What’s been your biggest challenge since starting out? 

Delegating! Just ask my team. I find it really difficult to not be across every single tiny thing - from the social media accounts to the recording on our voicemail system to a presentation to a new client - I want to touch it all! Which is, obviously, impossible and not the best use of my time. I've really had to learn to build a great team that I trust implicitly and allow them to do their thing, and do it their way. It's the only way a company can grow and succeed.

I think that's a lesson we can all take something from, especially with start ups and small businesses. What’s one thing that you didn’t expect to come along and that you’ve embraced? 

Younger team members who have taught me so much! It's amazing to humbled by your team, I'm often so in awe of some who have such incredible insights, they really inspire me. I really didn't expect to find that and am so blessed to have them - they are honestly what keeps me going some days!

Sounds like you've nailed the team element, which is such an important part. Now what’s your favourite thing about running your own business? 

That every day is different. Every day I am learning new things, faced with new challenges, meeting new people, gaining new insights, constantly improving. I absolutely love that. I feel like I'm forever evolving, as are my businesses.

What’s one thing you would tell your younger self to do differently? 

To enjoy the journey. I was always so focused on 'whats next' - achieving bigger and better things, the next big mountain to climb, I probably didnt take stock along the way and enjoy the incremental victories.

We can definitely all be guilty of that. We get that running your own biz can be all about the long hours and never ending emails. What’s your favourite way to unwind and how easy do you find it to “switch off”? Any tips for staying balanced? 

I wish I had the answer here! If anyone does, give me a call! 

Running a business (or two!) is incredibly demanding and consuming - both in time, and emotional energy. I dont want to 'switch off' - I guess to me that implies I want to disconnect from my business or thinking about our next goals or what we want to achieve. But I do manage my schedule to try to keep a health balance, for example I make sure I train every day in the morning, which gets the endorphins pumping. I also don't allow telephones or technology in the bedroom, so its a sanctuary for unwinding and have a tech detox!

Whatever I'm doing, I commit to 100% and am 100% present in. So if I'm in a meeting, I'm 100% focused on the meeting with that person, not thinking about what I need to do afterwards. If I'm at dinner with my partner, I'm fully present and not thinking about emails I need to catch up on. 

Sounds like you have a healthy view on it, if you ask us. Any advice for people just starting our or wanting to do their own thing but maybe not brave enough to take the leap? 

There is never a perfect time. There will never be a time where you have enough money, or your kids are the right age, or you're not moving house, or whatever your current excuse is. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable - that's the joys of start up life! It's not supposed to be easy, if it was, everyone would do it. But it's incredibly rewarding.

Couldn't agree more. Now down to the serious business. What’s your favourite Golden Grind flavour? And favourite way to consume it? 

Chilli!! I love the spiciness and warmth especially in winter or when I'm a bit under the weather. I have it as a latte style with lactose free milk.

Any parting words of wisdom to leave with our readers? 

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.

Thanks so much for chatting with us Taryn, it's been a pleasure!