Johnson & Laird Management (J&L), New Zealand’s top talent agency, celebrates 15 years in business this month.
The company, which was incorporated in October 2001 by Managing Director Imogen Johnson, has grown significantly over its 15 years of operation.
“When I first started the agency I was working by myself out of a room at the front of my villa,” says Johnson (pictured, top), who now leads a team of 12 staff across five divisions incorporating Drama, Voice, TVC, MC/Entertainer and Social Talent and works out of an industrial office space in central Auckland. “It’s really gratifying for me to see how far the company has come since those early days. J&L has grown with the times and both our client roster and our agents’ expertise reflect the current entertainment and media landscapes.”
J&L is New Zealand’s largest talent agency and the company’s diversification across various divisions reflects the methodology of international talent agencies. Johnson credits her strong relationships with Australian and American talent management and agency counterparts for opening the gates for many of J&L’s clients to take their careers to the international stage.
“These days our industry is a global one;- with the right representation and a good team behind them, Kiwi actors can put down a self-taped audition from New Zealand and we are regularly seeing our clients land major roles international film and TV productions,” says Johnson. “Furthermore, the nature of digital and social media means there are fewer boundaries for our social influencers and brand ambassadors who can reach audiences around the world with a single social media post.”
The past couple of years have been hugely successful for J&L with the 2014/2015 financial years seeing an increase of 42%. Furthermore, the growth of the social talent division has been phenomenal over the 18-month period since its launch and that division continues to grow month-on-month (averaging 30% plus). The agency also boasts a firm foundation in TV Commercial and Voice work and has seen a recent uplift in work within the MC & Entertainer division.
Earlier this month, Imogen and the J&L team celebrated the agency’s 15th anniversary with a private function for agents and clients.