Sometimes life’s biggest tragedies can turn into our triumphs.
When Danielle Hughes’ father died last year due to COVID-19, she started seeing a therapist, Dr. Danielle Penson, who suggested she come up with a positive distraction as she copes with the pain. The pair formed a bond after months of counseling and Dr. Penson mentioned her lifelong dream of opening a ‘photo museum.’ Together with another friend, Kiera Henderson, the idea for the The Pose Experience was born.
The museum features multiple “sets” including vintage pay phones, fire red locker room, donut wall, Vogue Magazine booth and Venetian rose bath, all curated to give the everyday dreamer a chance to enjoy an exhilarating photo shoot for TikTok or the ‘gram.
Opening a museum in the middle of a pandemic was a bold move that paid off for them all. Within three months of opening its doors, the co-founders grossed $100.2k in sales, and have grown so rapidly that they are now going mobile. Last month, they also introduced their ‘Selfie Truck’ otherwise known as Metro Detroit’s First Mobile Selfie Boutique.
With sights on the future, the co-founders of The Pose Experience discuss what’s next for the brand, what sets them apart from other “selfie” museums and how they exected an opening in just two months.
Can you walk me through the initial meeting on December 21 and opening in February? What was that process like?
Dr. Penson: One of the most prolific components to partnerships is executing a plan with visionaries who are like-minded. The Pose Experience was born during an extremely pivotal time in the world. We were paralyzed by the pandemic and numb through personal experiences. Danielle Hughes (Dani), faced a very traumatic experience with the loss of her step-father due to COVID-19 which led her to seek therapeutic support. This led to a 6-month clinical relationship with myself, Dr. Danielle Penson. We worked through this difficult time and built a very strong bond. During one of the sessions, I mentioned wanting to start a venture where people could make a moment in the moment, pausing everything going on around them. I wanted some form of ‘selfie opportunity’ in a space where people felt comfortable.
Kiera later mentioned to Dani that she wanted to open a selfie museum locally, Dani advised that I made mention of doing something similarly and the rest is history! We met on December 21, 2020, discussed a plan and we went into immediate execution mode. We each have our own specialties when combined — turns into something extraordinary. The process was quick, we secured a space, hired contractors and the work began. We utilized our own assets, stepping out on faith. We did it without fear and it has flourished through fate! The challenges we did face were minor. We all worked together when issues arose to keep moving things progressively forward.
What do you think has been your secret sauce to your success?
Pack-Henderson: Our secret sauce is that we are all great at different things. Dr. Danielle’s background in counseling really helped when it was time to develop a staffing and customer service plan. She solely focuses on making the Pose Experience an actual experience — this has been instrumental in gaining repeat customers and rave reviews.
Danielle Hughes has been in marketing and communications her entire career. She runs our social media and PR. Her research was vital to obtaining community support through local and nationwide channels. She is the key to the high engagement online and notoriety we have received. I own and operate two event spaces where I curate lavish events. I am the brain behind the design execution. I strive to create distinguished installations that stand out. All of my work is custom — making everything unique and more importantly super picture worthy.
What do you project the next 90 days to look like?
Pack-Henderson: We have been working on something innovative! Summer 2021, we will be opening Metro Detroit’s first mobile selfie museum. We will come to you in our 24ft specially designed trailer. Covid has truly changed the way we gather. More and more people want a smaller intimate setting. The trailer will be composed of 6 installations and will be perfect for birthdays, weddings, corporate events, and baby/bridal showers.
Hughes: We receive several questions each day regarding launching a selfie museum. We are extremely proud to announce that we will be launching a step-by-step course for those interested in creating a selfie museum of their own. We have experienced massive success in a very short amount of time and it is extremely important to us to equip our community with the skills to do the same. We are also looking to offer The Pose Experience franchise opportunities to interested applicants later this year.
Will the Pose Experience expand to other markets?
Hughes: Absolutely! The Pose Experience has a very unique design style and we want to offer that experience to all 50 states. We are extremely excited to not only ‘pop up’ in states across the nation, but we are also excited to bring on franchisees and help coach aspiring and current business owners in helping them create another stream of income through the ‘selfie museum’ model.
General admission tickets are $28 and will grant you access for 45 minutes to enjoy 10 interactive experiences Thursday through Sunday. For tickets visit https://www.theposeexperience.com/.