When 19-year-old Brittany Postma visited a selfie museum in Chicago, inspiration struck. The avid social media user fell in love with the idea, and will now soon be the founder of her own selfie museum in the Coral Ridge Mall.
The UI sophomore will open The Influence, a new selfie museum, on Nov. 23. The museum is the first one of its kind to open in the Eastern Iowa. Postma, a Cedar Rapids native and finance major, started the business herself.
“I created a thorough business plan and presented it to the investors,” Postma said. “They loved the idea and then we started working.”
The selfie museum craze first took off in 2016 with the opening of the Museum of Ice Cream in New York City, according to Wired. The trend quickly spread throughout the United States, with many different locations opening their doors to the public.
Postma’s father and his construction company have helped with the construction of the exhibits, challenged with the task of converting a former eye doctor’s clinic into a photoshoot phenomenon.
“My father has been an amazing help during the entire process and has taught me a lot about operating a business,” Postma said.
Over 19 exhibits will be available for visitors to take photos in, with admission running a little over $20 per person. Some of the rooms include a sequin wall and a bright pink ball pit. Custom neon signs and other essential photo prop pieces have been created to help bring The Influence to life. There are also seasonal rooms based on the current holiday season.
The Influence’s website states in their mission that they aim to, “offer an affordable, curiosity-inspiring experience”. They have professional equipment that visitors can check out to allow for the highest-quality of photos to be taken ranging from ring lights to photography cameras.
“I hope that everyone feels welcomed [at The Influence] and has a good time, the staff is here to help them have the best photos,” Postma said.
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Postma’s TikTok for the business went viral, gaining over 2.6 million views and an impressive fan base of 139.8K followers on the platform. People from across the country reacted with the posts and expressed their excitement for The Influence to open.
“[Going viral on TikTok] was one of the best things that could have happened for the business,” Postma said. “I started crying when I saw all of the love and support filling my feed.”
The Influence will adhere to CDC guidelines and make the experience safe, but fun, Postma said. The staff will require masks upon entry and there will be multiple hand sanitizing stations. Staff members will also clean each exhibit after use and maintain social distancing between the groups inside. The current capacity is marked at 40 individuals.
“I never thought I could do anything with my artistic side,” Postma said. “I hope to one day expand in the future and continue operating as a family-owned business.”