When Halle Berry embarked on a European press junket to promote her role as bikini-clad agent Jinx in Die Another Day, Dawn Haynes was at her side. When ’90s pop group En Vogue needed an image overhaul, Haynes answered the call. And when singer Mary J. Blige needed a new, exotic hairstyle, guess whom she called?
Haynes is the 37-year-old CEO of Dawn To Dusk Image Agency in Los Angeles and New York, which she incorporated in 1995. By representing a stable of independent “creative artists,” who create hairstyles, makeup, wardrobes, and overall images for the stars, the 10-employee firm has managed to work with the likes of Samuel Jackson, Angela Bassett, Quincy Jones, The Rock, Chris Tucker, Eric Ben├ęt, and Floetry. Sales for 2002 were some $600,000, which Haynes projects will nearly double for 2003.
“We make superstars visually appealing,” says Haynes, who started her business with $10,000 from her own savings, which was used to set up shop — buy equipment, business cards, stationery, and a phone system. “Take Mary J. Blige, for example. She’s well known for her hairstyles but doesn’t wake up in the morning and color her hair and create those styles herself. Someone behind the scenes creates that look — us.”
Haynes got the idea to represent behind-the-scenes creative artists in 1989, the year she formed a friendship with pop singer Teena Marie and wound up creating an image for her. Starting out as a wardrobe stylist, Haynes ended up traveling with the likes of Prince. During her travels, she found a group of talented individuals who didn’t know how to negotiate or position themselves in the industry.
“I realized there were people behind the scenes who needed representation as much as the celebrities themselves,” says Haynes. “I saw hair and makeup people waiting around for their checks, unsure of how to negotiate or increase the value of their services.” Haynes then entrenched herself in the industry by networking with a group of independent contractors including the best makeup artists, fashion/hair stylists, and photographers.
Looking ahead, Haynes wants to expand her business and go into other areas such as a clothing line or using her contacts within the entertainment industry to handle product placement. Her biggest challenge now is growing the company. “Now, of course, our industry has expanded, and people running agencies like mine often have their own photo studios, trailers, catering companies, and location scouts. While they’ve grown and expanded by taking on investors and partners, I’m still 100% owner and I’ve never had any other loans, SBA help, or anything like that. I would love to expand, I would love an angel investor — I’m absolutely open to that.”
The Dawn To Dusk Image Agency, 8306 Wilshire Blvd., #412, Beverly Hills, CA 90211; 323-850-6783; www.dawn2 duskagency.com.