Studying business subjects as part of a bachelor of event management at ICMS, gave Nina Perera the essential skills to start her own business. Two years down the track and Nina’s modelling agency, Neon Model Management, generates revenue of $500,000, employs [JB1] 550 people and reaches 100 million social media followers.
Back in 2014 when most of her fellow students were coping with the demands of student life, Nina was juggling her studies as well as getting her new enterprise off the ground. “It was a really busy time – but it worked well,” admits Nina.
“I was learning in class about marketing, accounting, finance and strategic planning and I was then able to integrate these subjects directly into my business – and I was able to use Neon as a practical case study for many of my assignments.”
Living on the Northern Beaches, Nina was attracted to ICMS because it was close to home, offered good scholarship opportunities and she was able to study business subjects, while majoring in event management, which was an area of great interest.
Having arrived at ICMS on an academic scholarship, Nina found ICMS to be a great place to learn.
“ICMS has a great community feel where you get to know most of the other students who you either see in class or during breaks. The classes aren’t large, so you also have good interaction with lecturers and tutors,” said Nina.
“The college also offers excellent industry training, so alongside your degree you come out with some solid work experience, which can make a real difference when looking for a job.”
Together with her studies, the advice and support from her family helped Nina get her business off the ground. Nina’s mother and sister are models and her father is in hospitality.
As well as traditional model management, Neon Model Management works with social media influencers to build brands.
“I saw a real opportunity in the market. Traditional modelling agencies weren’t using social media to the best of its ability, so I decided to merge the two to create something new and different. Growing up in the generation I did, I was very involved in social media and I knew that there was a market for social media to interact with the models and build influencers to work with brands,” said Nina.
Today, Nina has more than 220 social media personalities, each of who has between 5,000 and five million followers on Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Blogs. She has worked with such well-known companies as Sephora, Hurley and David Jones.
Nina’s advice to school leavers and others thinking of doing tertiary study is to take every opportunity that comes to you.
“My advice is to just do it, don’t be scared of failure, open yourself up to new opportunities and don’t procrastinate because that won’t get you anywhere. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the experience I had at ICMS,” Nina says.
Setting up her business while studying required huge discipline and lots of long hours, Nina warns others about these stresses. “Work life balance is hugely important,” she says. “To remain fresh and positive, to connect with people and be a good person, you can’t work 24/7 – you have to have balance.”
Over the next couple of years, Nina is looking to consolidate Neon’s strong growth in both Australia and overseas, and continue to grow the number of models and influencers she manages.
Nina has recently started a third area of the Neon business and is managing a variety of celebrities. These include Keira Maguire, who is currently starring in ‘I’m a Celebrity get me out of here’, the stars of LA realty show ‘Vanderpump Rules’ and a number of fashion media icons.
For the future Nina will continue to look for and take advantage of new opportunities. “You never know what’s going to pop up and you just have to keep an eye out … and be ready.”
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