SoHo strut

Tammy Godefroy’s new modelling agency educates aspiring talent

Novellino is an Italian word meaning fresh and new. The theme of the boutique is the Italian Mediterranean, using bright colours and open spaces to create a relaxing shopping experience.
Novellino is an Italian word meaning fresh and new. The theme of the boutique is the Italian Mediterranean, using bright colours and open spaces to create a relaxing shopping experience.
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Novellino’s dress list ensures that no two women wear the same dress to an event.
Novellino’s dress list ensures that no two women wear the same dress to an event.
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Novellino started selling vintage accessories last year, including a coveted Hermes scarf which sold at the store’s vintage premier party.
Novellino started selling vintage accessories last year, including a coveted Hermes scarf which sold at the store’s vintage premier party.
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Tammy Godefroy gave up a career as a Toronto talent agent to open a boutique on Princess Street. But when she started talking to local models, she said she felt the need to get back into the talent business.

In 2007, Godefroy started to direct photo shoots to showcase products at her clothing store, Novellino. When models came looking to get involved with her ad campaigns, Godefroy started giving advice. The guidance counselling evolved into SoHo Models, an agency that also provides programs for prospective models and actors.

“I started counselling girls and their parents on what to look out for,” she said. “A lot of the girls are naïve and it’s scary.”

Godefroy worked at TT Talent as a talent agent. She said it’s an industry standard that modelling agencies don’t charge fees, they only make money off commission when their client gets a job.

Godefroy started meeting Kingston models and “the girls started telling me about the agencies they were going to and they were scams.

“We first started course work for recreational purposes,” she said. “The first course would be an introduction to modelling, the second is developing their image as a model, the third on how to get work in the modelling agency.”

SoHo Models won’t force anyone in their roster to pay for in-house photo shoots and courses. Godefroy said as long as the end result is professional, the agency will find the client jobs.

The agency has access to the National Breakdown Service which lists all auditions daily.

Godefroy said rejection is a reality in modelling and acting industries.

“I can only take people that I can get work,” she said. “With the whole reality TV situation, they all see that these people don’t do anything but they’re celebrities. But I’m like, do you have any skills? Can you actually model? Can you actually act?” While SoHo Models is the newest venture for Godefroy, she’s still maintaining her store, which has been at 286 Princess St. since its opening in 2005.

Godefroy brings in all her merchandise from Los Angeles and buys stock every week.

“Every other store buys six months ahead of the season,” she said. “You’re buying in September for [sale] in February [or] March, so you’re guessing what people will want in six months.

“People in Kingston are in the moment, they’re not ahead of the trends. A lot of the Queen’s students are ahead of the trends because they come from the big cities. But a lot of Kingstonians are very conservative.”

All of Novellino’s merchandise is posted on their website and Facebook page. Godefroy said she receives text messages at 2 a.m from customers asking to reserve clothing they saw online.

Since Novellino buys stock weekly, when stock runs out they will not be re-ordered.

“If it’s gone it’s gone, there is only six pieces of it in Kingston,” she said. “Every other store will contact the company and get refills of items.”

Last January the boutique started carrying vintage accessories.

“It’s not just anything, I really source the vintage,” she said. “Anytime I travel the world I pick up vintage items, so they all have stories. I need to go on another trip soon.”

But she won’t be traveling anytime soon. She’s pregnant with her first child. But she’s not slowing down.

“Definitely expansion, definitely our own line,” Godefroy said of future plans. “We like to do things that are outside the box. We like to do our own events.

“I would like Kingston to have a fashion weekend or a fashion week. We are kind of centrally located, so it makes sense to me for us to be a sort of a hub. It’s just getting the city involved in it.”

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