■ The model agency founder credits his mum for growing the business and would love a farm
What was your first job?
Working for a nightclub when I was a teenager. I’d stand on the door and decide who could come in. I worked for The Cross in King’s Cross and the Ministry Of Sound. It was £100 a night and I’d spend it. In the week, I’d book DJs for the club.
What’s been your best investment?
My company, SUPA, which I started six years ago. I used my own savings and my parents also invested. My business partner is my mother. She kept quite a tight leash on what we were spending so made sure we were able to move forward with the income we were getting. My parents have their own building company so were very helpful in helping me start the business.
Why did you start SUPA?
I’d been an agent at Elite for four years and at another agency for four years before. Elite were bought out so I decided to leave. As I’d had so much experience as an agent I decided to start my own company and as models knew me they came and joined me, so we were able to start booking them straight away. From there we had to do a website, scout models, hire office space. There were lots of things to invest in. Now we have 150 models, 12 employees and we’ve bought our own offices. Things are going good.
Were there any problems?
We started a women’s division quite early on. It was difficult to find someone to manage that. Women can earn triple what a man can get for the same modelling job. It’s the only industry where women earn way more than men, so it’s very competitive. There are many more agencies for women than men so we closed that down and focused on the men’s side of the business, which I had experience in. But it’s something I’d like to go back to now we’re more established.
What would be your money-no-object purchase?
A farm with lots of animals in the countryside. Maybe Sussex. I like pigs so I’d have a lot of those.
What luxury wouldn’t you give up?
I’ve got two dogs, Barbara and Ralph. I’d class them as a luxury because they cost with vet bills. But they aren’t fancy dogs, they’re Jack Russell-chihuahua crosses. They’re scrappy, not show-doggy.
What’s been your biggest financial regret?
I bought my sister’s car from her to learn how to drive. I left it on the road when I was on holiday and came home to find out it had been towed. It was an old Nissan Micra. I paid £600 for it. It would have cost the same amount to get it out of the yard so they ended up crushing it.
Are you a spender or a saver?
A spender. I spend money on clothes more than anything else. I like to look presentable for work. But as I work in fashion I get discounts on some brands.
Do you consider yourself savvy with personal finances?
I’d say I’m OK. I have a pension but there’s room for improvement. I need to learn how to keep my money in my savings account rather than spending it. I’m saving up to buy a house so that’s my goal and that would be a sensible financial investment.
What was your last impulse purchase?
My Craig Green jacket; he’s one of my favourite designers.
Cash or card?
I use contactless a lot, like most people. I’m getting much better at keeping track of how much I’m spending. In the past I’ve gone out on Friday night and been tapping away and been surprised by how much I’ve spent on Monday.
■ Charles Clark-Perry is founder of SUPA Model Management London, supamodelmanagement.com