What started as a side project four months ago has grown into a huge, interactive exhibit dedicated to cultivating joy, said Alex Altomare, founder of the Selfie Boutique.
“The mission is to bring people together and create happiness,” Altomare said. “The growth has been entirely driven by our supporters on all fronts, and we have outperformed every metric beyond all expectations.”
After two successful pop-up locations in Westport and the Crossroads, the Selfie Boutique has opened a 10,000 square-foot Lawrence location at 2429 Iowa St. in which photographers can snap models with creative backdrops, Altomare said.
From yellow caution-taped rooms to graffitied walls to palm tree balloon scenes, the Selfie Boutique taps area artists to build photo sets that aim to transport customers to a new world, Altomare said.
“Everybody from our artists to our hosts who greet guests share a passion for creating this emotional escape from the world that people love. And when a business can do that for their customers, they return the favor by becoming loyal advocates and followers,” Altomare said. “I’m proud to say we have earned nearly 10,000 of those advocates in the mere four months we’ve been open.”
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Thousands of people visited the now-closed Kansas City pop-up locations, paying $5 to $10 per shoot, Altomare said. The company signs short-term leases for its pop-up locations and reinvests all proceeds back into creating new experiences, allowing it to work with more artists, he added.
As the business has grown, so too has the creativity of the exhibits and their mediums, Altomare said.
“We started with balloons, which are the most economical way to fill a large space,” he said. “We have since progressed to incorporating textiles, wood, metal, acrylic, prefab materials, and even more exotic mediums that are not commonly used on this scale.”
The Selfie Boutique has worked with nearly two dozen local artists and it plans to continue searching for more to not only showcase their creativity but to elevate their brand, Altomare said.
“By reinvesting our proceeds back into hiring local artists, the Selfie Boutique has become a platform for artists to showcase their work publicly, with visibility far beyond what an art show can provide,” he said. “We remove the financial obstacle for our artists and free them to rethink their work in the context of creating an immersive environment that provides an emotional experience for visitors and looks great in selfies.”
Check out photos below from the now-closed Crossroads location of the Selfie Boutique.