I am writing a report about the abominable working conditions during my brief employment at Cachet Ladies in Toronto. Cachet Ladies (http://www.cachetladies.com/) has offices in Toronto, Montreal, & Vancouver and purport to be a VIP Event Planning Top Model Escort Agency. I inquired about employment during the summer, as I had been accepted to begin my Masters degree in January. I had previously held employment in corporate environments and made the decision to enter the adult entertainment industry due to a large debt load I had incurred during my undergraduate. The debt load had become unmanageable and I made a rational decision to use this as an avenue to relieve some of the economic distress, as the industry can be quite lucrative. As an educated person, I was met with instant interest from the agency; I met with one of the owners and was formally invited to join the agency after an initial meeting. I had looked into other agencies and was originally drawn to Cachet Ladies because of the above average pay scale: top models earn $400+ an hour (the agency keeps $175 of this amount) for their services. The first thing I noticed that should have been a red flag to me was that I was not given a copy of my employment contract. Furthermore, coming from a background in public health, I was extremely surprised and weary that there was no medical examination necessary to gain employment --the agency does not require that you have a clean bill of health. There is no guarantee that the person you engage with at the agency is healthy: that person may very well have an STD or STI. It was not even recommended or encouraged that the females get regular physicals. I think that from a top agency, this should be absolutely mandatory, however as you will see from this report, Cachet Ladies is not the high-end agency it claims to be. The practices are shady, inconsistent, and unprofessional.
As an educated individual using this solely as a route to eliminate my debt quickly and progress to the next stage in my education unscathed by economic disparity, I quickly learned that this was not the type of environment conducive to progressing in society. The female owner of the company is extremely aggressive and dehumanizing to the workers. Many of the female workers expressed extreme discomfort about her abusive outbursts. She also frequently makes humiliating remarks about the clients. Often drivers would reveal personal and confidential details about the regulars, showing complete disrespect for their discretion and privacy. This is not an agency that cares about the health and well-being of their female workers, nor is it the type of agency that provides respect and courtesy to the regular and loyal clients. They charge exorbitant fees for those clients that opt to pay by way of credit card ($480) and actively encourage their workers to manipulate the clients into extending and bringing more girls into the calls. They will ploy the customers by incrementally adding $5 to each hour, so that after 4 hours the fee is $495 an hour. The agency is particularly exploits the client and worker when the method of credit payment is used, as the pay scale is reduced to $200 (instead of $225 when the client pays cash), meaning the agency receives $280+ from the transaction, excluding fees paid to the institution.
Not only is Cachet Ladies extremely profiteering, they are disrespectful and exploitative of the female workers, actively encouraging drug use and alcoholism. During my time there while waiting for calls, I would try to maximize my time by reading and preparing for my academic semester. The other girls there found this peculiar and would often give me looks or glare at me as they would read fashion magazines or lounge around watching TV. Most of the girls occupied their time listlessly as they waited for calls, sometimes not getting any work for the evening. They would sit around idly and gossip about other girls and regular clients. I was met with a lot of hostility for remaining focused and spending my time reading while at the agency; I could very well have been one of the only educated girls there. The culture did not encourage academic advancement. It did, however, encourage drug use, female aggression and poor medical and health practices. Females often presented as rough and aggressive, not at all well-mannered and proper in behaviour and attitude. I believe that this dynamic could be improved, however due to internal competition for clients with the girls, the environment can be very tense. Many of the girls complained about their poverty due to their diminished bookings, claiming they had not paid rent or were falling behind in their economic obligations. Again, not something to be expected from a top agency.
By the time I left Cachet Ladies, they had downgraded some of the "top models" ($400/hr) to "glam models" ($300/hr) to get them in calls, due to the fact that business was so slow. Many of the girls complained that they were getting no work and that the agency was not performing and delivering. I believe this is because of the poor management and failure to retain high-end and educated females that boost the morale and working conditions. Rather, the owners are frequently absent, usually on trip to exotic destinations, only making appearances to hound and hassle the female workers into fearful subservience and apprehension. The female owner takes every opportunity to intimidate and threaten the female workers, throwing around comments about firing people endlessly, causing great distress and degrading the status of the workers, who often turn to drugs and alcoholism to cope, rather than using the lucrative earning potential to make positive and healthy life choices. Not only that, most of the male drivers earn more than the escorts! They are paid to drive the girls to and from home and different calls.
While the girls are destitute, sitting listlessly as they wait for calls, making trips to the washroom to snort cocaine, the drivers are profiting more than they are (over $1,000 a week part-time), pressuring the girls to give tips from their hourly rate to safely drive them to and from home. If you do not call in to get picked up by a driver, you quickly get in the bad graces of the drivers and may risk being fired for not contributing to the income of the drivers. The environment is very tense and unsettling, with zero respect for the privacy and discretion of the clients, nor the dignity and respect of the workers. I once tried to engage the owner in discussion and she made every attempt to degrade and humiliate me. One of the girls there later commented that it was because I was not "gangster" like the other girls. I was different for being classy and educated!
Clients: This is definitely not the place to go if you are looking for a healthy, well-adjusted and educated women. If you are a regular, you will be gossiped about by the owners and workers --there is zero privacy or discretion. Female workers: this is not the place for you to work if you are serious about advancing yourself socially, as you will be treated very poorly by the owners and reception staff: they will take every opportunity to humiliate, degrade and diminish your self-esteem, making even the lucrative potential of the job unappealing. The management is terribly and due to their lavish vacations and frequent trips, often fail to actually tend to the business, failing to update the site or make efforts to appeal to a broader client base. Instead, they resort to intimidation and threatening to keep their female workers confined, even when there is no business, due to their failure to respond to changing market conditions. I was met with hostility and resistance for asking politely that my pictures and profile be updated on the site when I first started the job. The owner did not seem to take the job seriously and grunted like a teenager being asked to do a chore as she begrudgingly uploaded my pictures on the site. She then took to abusing me and criticizing me in defense of me even having the "gull" to ask her to create a media presence --something that should be ABCs for a business owner, but as should be clear from this report, Cachet Ladies isn't running a "business", what they are doing is undermining the trust of their clients, female workers, and society at large with their poor management & working conditions.
I would highly advise against supporting this agency by becoming a client or a female worker. I suspect that they will be out of business soon, anyway, by the looks of things when I left. This is definitely not a high-end or upscale environment.