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alexandra seno

Amanda Dyer began modelling at the age of 13, a career that took her all over the world.

"I lived everywhere from Paris to Milan to Tokyo and NYC."

About five years ago, the self-described "twentysomething" started her own agency, , in Singapore. "I came to Singapore in late 2006 because it was the first stop on a modelling circuit I was contracted for, which took me to Hong Kong, Korea and Spain after Singapore. Truth be told, I fell in love with the Lion City and decided to stay."

It was a long way from North Bay, Ont., where she was born, and Windsor, where she grew up. "I started Scout International because it felt very natural at the time and the market was also demanding an agency with strong international affiliations."

After years in the industry, she had good contacts in the "global fashion fraternity." She found herself constantly bringing people and opportunities together even before launch, "connecting models with jobs and different agencies all over the world. So I thought it was time to formalize it into a business – and Scout was born."

The global recession hit a few months later, a situation she gracefully describes as "not ideal" but one Scout has managed to weather. With the combination of her network and growing consumption levels in Southeast Asia, Ms. Dyer managed to establish a name for herself in a tough business.

"The industry in Southeast Asia at the moment is getting very crowded. ... There are a lot of agencies popping up, trying to get a piece of a small pie."

As some of the bigger global agencies become more active, professional standards and credibility are also becoming increasingly important. Her advice to budding entrepreneurs? "Be honest and have a genuine interest to solve your client's needs – they will appreciate this and come back to you. Provide an exceptional service. Be the best. There is no other way.

"Do all that well and the money will come."

Ms. Dyer will soon launch her next venture: .

The consultancy works with clients from industries across the region on "model scouting," bespoke marketing and events managements services.

"The biggest reward I got from this was the opportunity to help young models in making the right decisions and mentoring them into successful careers," Ms. Dyer says. "I was very blessed to be mentored by some of the best in the business, so to be able to do the same for some of these kids was definitely a high point for me."

Special to the Globe and Mail

Alexandra A. Seno has written about economics and business trends in Asia since 1994. She is a regular contributor to Newsweek, the International Herald Tribune and The Wall Street Journal Asia. She lives in Hong Kong.

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