The pandemic crushed her photography business, but cancer survivor Ashley Wilkerson didn’t just take it. She pivoted to a business model based on selfies! It’s called Selfie WRLD. No joke. To date, she has opened 12 brick-and-mortar selfie studios during a pandemic, with 28 set to open soon across the nation.

 

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Founder of Selfie WRLD, Ashley Wilkerson stands in front of neon lights.
Founder of Selfie WRLD, Ashley Wilkerson stands in front of neon lights in one of the selfie studios.

What is Selfie WRLD?

Selfie WRLD is a space that has 20-30 selfie studios (depending on location) all with various backgrounds. The cost of admission earns you 1 hour in the space to take selfies, pro photos, or even TikTok videos. The concept was founded in Des Moines, Iowa during the COVID-19 pandemic by Wilkerson.

 

Ashley Wilkerson Background

Ashley Wilkerson is a pro photographer, turned Selfie Queen. She created the concept as her photography business slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on wedding photography.

As a cancer survivor and single mom, you have to wonder what drove her. How did she pick herself up and create a completely new business in a risky economy? Her interview has lessons for entrepreneurs looking to make boss moves and not excuses. The business of experiences is hot.

 

Ashley Wilkerson, founder of Selfie WRLD
Ashley Wilkerson, founder of Selfie WRLD

Is Brick and Mortar Dying?

There’s a lot of doom and gloom around brick and mortar retail, but Selfie WRLD has tapped into the very successful model, my previous guest Ari Rastegar explains drives revenue. Vibrant experiences.

Breweries, Athletic Brands, Top Golf, and now Selfie WRLD will do well in this new experiential economy, especially as folks look for excuses to get out and have some fun, post lockdown.

When asked how she tapped into this need, Wilkerson explains that it’s vital to watch trends closely to determine what’s next. This is easier said than done, especially within your own industry. It requires objectivity and listening to your audience, putting your personal feelings aside. As a pro photographer, she could have scoffed at selfies, but she leaned into the trend and the result is a rapidly growing business with a new fast-casual partnership to be announced soon.

Like past global events, Covid-19 is an opportunity for business success. What post-pandemic experiences are customers looking for?

 

More About Selfie WRLD

 

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