In the entertainment industry, talent is usually represented by an agency. Watch any awards show and nearly every acceptance speech will include a nod of gratitude to an agent–the person who likely played a large part in the actor landing the role. (Only second to their actual talent, of course.) It was a relationship Estee Stanley understood well as one of Hollywood’s top fashion stylists.
Slowly but surely, Stanley’s career shifted away from fashion towards interior design. With inherent good taste, she quickly become as sought-after for beautiful interiors as she had been in the fashion world. However, the differences between industries proved challenging. Why weren’t talented designers given the opportunity for representation that actors, influencers, stylists, and makeup artists had? And thus, after years of experience, The Eye was born. An agency exclusively for interior designers and architects, meant to simplify the designer/client process and relationship. The Eye connects top designers and architects with discerning clients, bringing a sense of ease to all parties.
The Eye currently represents some of the industry’s top talent — Adam Hunter, Alexander Design, Charlotte Taylor, Dimorestudio, Kara Mann, Landed Interiors & Homes, and many more. In a recent interview, Stanley told us more about what inspired the concept and how she and her team brought it to life:
Tell us about The Eye. What sparked the idea to launch the agency? Did you have an ‘a-ha’ moment or was it a long time coming?
During my career as a fashion stylist, I was represented by The Wall Group. I’ll admit at first I was a little hesitant to give up a percentage of my hard-earned money to an agent, but after seeing the benefits (more money, less hassle) of their services, I was happy to pay them whatever they needed to continue helping me. Unfortunately when I transitioned into Interior Design, I didn’t have the same opportunity for representation. I couldn’t understand why design was the only creative industry not being represented. I am not sure if it was a long time coming, or a specific “a-ha” moment, but after years of running my own design firm and dealing with contract negotiations / type-A clients I decided it was time for real change. Designing someone’s home or business is a very personal process, and should be enjoyable for both parties. The Eye Agency helps handle all things business, giving the designer the ability to focus their time and energy on what’s most important, designing! At the same time, The Eye services the client as well, aiding in negotiating fee structure, project timeline, and creating transparency.
Tell us a bit about the client experience. How does The Eye stand out, from being matched with the right designer to the project timeline itself?
At The Eye one of our main goals is to simplify the way the design process works as a whole. Every designer charges a variation of an hourly, markup, design fee. This creates an environment where clients end up shopping for their designer based on price, instead of focusing on finding a good match based on the style / aesthetic. The Eye simplifies the designer’s fee structure so that the client has an upfront number of what the total cost of the designer’s services will be for the entirety of the project.
How do you select the talent? Is there anything specific you look for when it comes to choosing what artists can be on your roster?
When it comes to whom we represent, we are looking for talented designers from all walks of life. We understand that the design business can be very tedious in regards to your back office, so it’s very important for our Eye designers to have a great reputation when it comes to the business aspect of their design firm. If you are professional, hardworking, and have a true passion for design, then you would most likely be a great fit for The Eye 🙂
You also work to expand the profile of your artists. What can you tell us about the artist experience? What is the benefit of a designer or architect joining The Eye?
Often as a designer you get so bogged down by projects, that you don’t spend much time finding ways to grow or expand your brand. Our Branding Services component helps designers expand their business into avenues they have only dreamed of doing. Brand collaborations, book deals, T.V Shows, you name it, if our designer is interested, we will find them the opportunity.
Launching any new endeavor is tough. Is there anything you wish you knew, or advice you would give yourself or your team before launching?
I wish I knew we were headed into a global pandemic during the first year of my business, but hey “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” right?
Ha! We always appreciate a good sense of humor. Finally, we’d love to know a bit about a few of the artists, both seasoned experts and up and comers. Any names you’re particularly excited to be representing?
Honestly I can’t pick just a few, I am truly excited about all of our artists. We have everything from up and comers, to very well-established designers, all who I admire and feel honored to represent!