Chanel Stitt Detroit Free Press
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Chanel Stitt reports, "Customers at the Band-Ayd Selfie Shop in Madison Heights have used the space to do a range of things from producing dance content for the TikTok app to creating professional photos for local celebrities."
When the pandemic started and sports came to a halt, Band-Ayd Events Group, which hosts the technology behind the sports player introductions for the Detroit Pistons and the Detroit Lions, had to make a shift.
Another group with a similar idea came together through divine intervention and started a business.
The two businesses are both fulfilling what many have been missing during the pandemic — a space to take selfies while partying with friends as well as a space for professional photos.
When walking into the two new businesses, you will see flashing lights, payphones, gumball machines, large Slinkies, floral designs, balloons and more spaced out throughout the buildings — all backdrops for images customers want to create.
Customers at the Band-Ayd Selfie Shop in Madison Heights have used the space to do a range of things from producing dance content for the TikTok app to creating professional photos for local celebrities.
And at The Pose Experience in Southfield, which opens at noon Friday, the company plans to provide an event space and selfie museum, a type of art gallery or installation where people can make images to share on social media, for the community.
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Supporting creativity in Madison Heights The Band-Ayd Selfie Shop in Madison Heights is dedicating its Band-Ayd Events Group production warehouse to 14 uniquely designed selfie rooms. "I've had way too many photographers, videographers, creative individuals that have told me that 2020 completely drained their creativity," said Mika Vanderheydan, 29, who is the director of sales and marketing of the company led by Steve Vanderheyden, 32, who is owner and president.
"And to me, that's so sad. So it was an option for our creativity to come alive and all the fun stuff we learned during quarantine — how to make stuff."
The idea came about in November, and by December, the couple and their employee Alex Henson got to work and began creating each of the rooms. More: Clothing entrepreneur brings brand home to Monroe, paves way for young designers
Mika Vanderheyden traveled to many thrift stores to find unique items to put in the rooms like bubble gum machines, couches, payphones, artwork and more. The three of them worked seven days a week for a month to build the space.
Customers can book the whole space with a reservation for up to 10 people on the company's website. A 30-minute time slot is $25 per person and an hourlong slot is $40 per person. More time options are available upon request. There are sanitizing stations throughout the space and customers' temperatures are taken at the door.
"We've had people that came in here and ran from room to room saying it's the best day of the year so far," Vanderheyden said. "It's an escape. You can't go to the beach, you can't go here or there. So it's like come here and have your little slice of paradise."
Before the coronavirus shutdown in March, the company employed nine people and some of their family members. The shutdown caused the company to lay off almost all of the employees. The selfie shop saved their business and they hope it'll take off so they can bring their team back. "At the very least, there's a job to come back to when this finally ends," Steve Vanderheyden said. "We're first and foremost trying to survive, too, and if we can bring anybody back, that's just gravy on top."
In addition to the selfie shop, the company has a stage available for rent that has three video walls and 30 moving lights. The experiential stage is an effort to provide performing artists and creatives with a space to host virtual concerts and photoshoots.
A place for community in Southfield The Pose Experience in Southfield was founded by Danielle D. Hughes, 29, of Southfield, Kiera Pack Henderson, 34, of West Bloomfield and Danielle Penson, 39, of Southfield. It also is an event venue and selfie museum. The space has six different rooms featuring a life-size magazine cover, payphones, flowers and greenery, 3D doughnuts, shoes, and a pink boss lady room.
When customers walk into the space, said Pack Henderson, "I want people to feel creative because you can rent the space and have selfie sessions with your friends. You can also rent the space and have professional photography in here as well. We definitely want to get the creative juices flowing."
The three women became friends over the last two years after they were named among the Michigan Chronicle's 40 under 40 in 2019.
Hughes and Penson, owner of Kaydense Galleria clothing store who also is an author, clinical psychologist and Detroit Public Schools Community District counselor, became close when Hughes' father died of the coronavirus.
Pack Henderson owns an event company called Pareik Gallery, where she hosted a birthday party in December for Hughes. Hughes is an author and entrepreneur, former news anchor and dream director at The Future Project, which coaches and mentors young people.
The founders felt they were destined to create this business together when conversations about The Pose Experience began in December.
"I think we all had this heightened level of faith," said Penson.
"We were like, this is what we're going to do and we didn't let anything distract us from it. We had an idea and I'm heavy into the law of attraction, so I believe that whatsoever you desire, you can have it. So we put our minds together. The good thing about it is we all complement each other and we all have our own gifts."
With their combined design, logistics and marketing talents, the entrepreneur-partners began construction of the space Jan. 1.
The website to book space is live. Customers can book the venue in hourlong intervals and 15 minutes of each hour will be dedicated to sanitizing. The price is $28 per person with up to 10 people at a time, but guests can host private events with up to 25 people. Guest have to be 12 and older to utilize the space.
The founders created The Pose out-of-pocket and they hope that their journey will show other women they can also open a business.
"This was done for the community," said Hughes. "2020 was just such a wild year. Going into 2021 was also. So we just wanted to do something to kind of bring some joy to the community. Switch it up a little bit and inspire others along the way."
___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.