Entrepreneur Max Parker – an entertainment industry rising star at only 29 years of age – has launched Matchstick Group, a digital-first agency representing talent from musicians to models, actors to authors, and social media influencers to celebrities.
Matchstick Group is an agency founded by the talent themselves, with both Binky Felstead from Made In Chelsea and Danny Jones from McFly teaming up to invest in Matchstick Group.
Matchstick Group is reimagining the way that talent management typically operates. In addition to a deep commitment to improving diversity, accessibility and representation in the entertainment industry, Matchstick Group boldly breaks with tradition by prioritising the mental wellbeing of its staff and clients above all else, as well as offering client and staff incentives to refer new business.
You’ve just launched Matchstick Group, what inspired you to create the UK’s newest theatre talent management agency?
I’ve always respected the art and a love came from it being a family tradition to go to the theatre on Christmas Eve as a child, which gave me a huge love and aspiration for live performance. I’ve been lucky to secure incredible talent such as Tom Parker (The Wanted) and Andy Brown (Lawson) respectively their debut theatre roles, and these have been career highs for me.
What will Matchstick Group offer its clients that other agencies cannot?
We pride ourselves on being a fully rounded 360 agency. The days of having specialist agents are over and this is a pre-historic way to management. We believe Talent should be able to have their cake and eat it without a number of hands taking their piece. At Matchstick Group we offer everything from Theatre, Music, TV, Commercial and Brand all in-house.
You’ve put the mental wellbeing of your staff and clients above all else, why was that so important to you?
I used to be ashamed to discuss my mental health, it was always a secret that very few knew about but recently I wanted to share my struggles. I know what it’s like to suffer in silence, which is why I’m trying to make a small, but very positive change with Matchstick Group, protecting staff and clients wellbeing.
How have your own experiences helped you shape what the agency will offer?
I was never like this, it took the loss of a very close friend to make me assess myself and how I’ve previously been in senior positions, as well as using my own experiences at past agencies for me to understand what they did right and what I believe they did wrong. This has moulded what I believe is the future of talent management. Talent will become stake-holders of the agency and staff will be respected as individuals, rather than employees. Mental health issues are widely known within the Entertainment Business and it’s important Matchstick Group puts pillars in place to protect all of those aligned with the agency.
You’re starting off with a great roster of clients, what was it made them so keen to come on board?
I wish I knew, but I can only assume they can see the ambition for Matchstick Group. I think it’s important to stress the belief in all 26 clients has been remarkable. All signing to an agency which at the time didn’t have a logo, website or reputation, its credit to our talent for the belief they’ve had in us before we even launched and shows a huge amount of trust in our ability to actually perform. It’s incredibly overwhelming the response and the gratitude I have towards these clients is immense. We are only as good as the talent we represent and we have an incredible roster!
What’s been the biggest challenge for you in starting a new business in the current climate?
There hasn’t been. I wouldn’t have been able to start this agency if we weren’t in a pandemic. It’s allowed me time and extra energy to throw into the business, which I wouldn’t have had in a normal way of life. Little stresses have been removed, freeing me up to so much more resource. After lockdown, I think the UK is going to showcase some incredible entrepreneurship, as people have had to get creative and use their initiative to earn money.
What are your hopes for the future of Matchstick Group?
I would be lying if I said I didn’t want us to be the biggest agency in the UK, but to be honest I just want us to keep pushing boundaries and to keep challenging the status quo of how things are supposed to happen. We want to go against the grain and to over exceed our talent’s expectations.
More information about Matchstick Group and its founder, Max Parker, can be found here.