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A new type of business?

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  1. JackPMiller

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    Oct 26, 2004
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    An entertaining business model

    Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune

    Models Who Mix founder/owner
    Melanie Gornick, right, and vice
    president/owner Ingrid Monson,
    says she started the company
    after attending a party where
    everything was beautiful,
    except the servers.

    Melanie Gornick and Ingrid Monson, both models, started a unique company last year that provides models, male and female, for parties. They don't cater or cook, but they will show up for your gig, look nice, and perhaps hand out drinks or play the piano.

    Promotional materials tout the workers as an attractive "accessory" to your next shindig, like twinkle lights or balloons. We talked to Gornick about her business, Models Who Mix (www.modelswhomix.com).

    Q: What made you start the business?

    A: I was at a party and everything was beautiful, except the servers. I thought, "Why not replace them with models?"

    Q: Do you cater mostly to corporate events or private parties?

    A: We initially thought a lot of it would be promotions and business parties, but most of our clients have been private party-focused. Our clientele is upper middle class.

    Q: Did you think this would be accepted in Minnesota because it is a bit, um, beauty challenged, compared to say, California?

    A: I would hope it's accepted, yes. Minneapolis is a little bit behind the times; we tend to not think of things like that. It's kind of conservative that way. But we choose models because of their personality; they have to be outgoing and fun.

    Q: Are all your employees professional models or do they have day jobs?

    A: Ninety percent are professionally trained in basics, like runway. A lot are in college or waitress jobs, which is very typical of models.

    Q: Do people ask them for their phone numbers a lot?

    A: In our client contracts we say they are not supposed to ask. It's really a non-issue.

    Q: Has anyone complained that you focus on looks and call yourselves "accessories" to a party?

    A: The first month our ad ran in Mpls.St.Paul magazine, we had pictures of our models and there was some misinterpretation of what we do (laughs). Several people called for escorts. If we did do that, we'd make a fortune. We did get a nasty late-night call from a lady who called us sluts, but I think she misinterpreted what we do. But I could be wrong.

    Q: Has anyone hired your models to just hang out, so it looks like they have more attractive friends?

    A: Not yet, but we're willing to do that. As long as it's a real party.

    Q: OK, here's the Barbara Walters "if you were a tree" question. If you were an accessory, what accessory would you be?

    A: Manolo Blahnik shoes. Pumps, sandals or slides. Always classy.

    (Gornick later changed her mind in an e-mail: "After thinking about it, I don't think Manolos describe us because they are not affordable. I would stick with shoes, maybe Steve Madden's. Madden's are funky, stylish and affordable, more descriptive of our models.")

    (Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.shns.com.)

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