INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY SPECIAL
We celebrate International Women’s Day by featuring women in Asia who are making their own mark
With a background in fashion, and an abiding interest in all things new, Tiffany Tang was the perfect person to bring the first ‘selfie studio’ to Singapore.
Creating a space for content creators
According to Tiffany, at over “6,000 sq ft, iWan Studio is Singapore’s largest immersive self-photography venue”. It has more than 100 photo corners, over 20 different themes in 11 huge rooms to choose from for everything from a cute selfie for Instagram, to a full-blown fantasy TV show cosplay or creative wedding photos.
“Content creators or photography enthusiasts can have fun taking their best photos, any way they like,” explains Tiffany. “In recent years, selfie studios are all the rage in many cities around China and many influencers love creating content in such venues, as it gives them the opportunity to express their creativity and engage with their audience.
“Unlike traditional photography studios, where the photographer directs the photo shoot, selfie studios like iWan Studio, allow customers to take full control of the entire creative and photography process – from choosing the theme, styling themselves to framing the photos and deciding on their expressions and poses.
“Also, with the prevalence of filters and applications, they are able to edit to create amazing images or videos, like they were professionally taken. It allows them to be creative and make each image or video they take a memorable and fun one,” says Tiffany.
Being in the right place at the right time
Originally from Sichuan, China, Tiffany moved to Singapore right around the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. After realising that Singapore did not already have a selfie studio, she decided to set up the first one with a group of co-founders.
“I felt that the selfie culture and trend is very interesting, plus the fact that we love taking photos ourselves and sometimes, we find outdoor locations not as comfortable and given the restrictions, it is also not as convenient,” Tiffany says. “So we decided to start iWan Studio to provide customers with a conducive space to take photos freely and dress up in the styles they like. iWan Studio also hopes to be a place where like-minded content creators can congregate to create unique and interesting content to share with their followers.”
Tiffany’s creative background came in handy when the studio concept was under development, for both creative ideas and practical implementation.
“We needed someone with an eye for quality and aesthetics when we were creating iWan Studio. That was when my experience in fashion and accessories came in handy. I was in charge of the design aspects of the themes and made sure that details, including selection of colours, props, costumes, etc. are looked into,” Tiffany explains.
“Also, with my past experience and contacts that I had, I was able to quickly source for all the fashion outfits and accessories to match all the themes that we have in the studio.”
Tiffany on dealing creatively with challenges
For Tiffany, setting up the studio has been an interesting experience. While setting it up she came across a number of logistical challenges.
“The biggest challenge that we had when we decided to establish iWan Studio was sourcing materials for the set-up. For example, for our specially-designed ‘space tunnel’ set-up, which is one of the key highlights and a popular spot at the studio, we were not able to find a Singapore factory who was able to do it within our specifications,” she says. “So, we had to source an overseas factory to build it and ship the set-up over to Singapore, before installing the set-up at the venue.”
It hasn’t been all challenges however, Tiffany says that there have been some lovely experiences too: “We had a male customer who professed his love to his date during their photography session at iWan Studio. Against the romantic, starry backdrop in one of our rooms, he asked if she would be his girlfriend. She agreed and they were both so happy.”
The current themes and concepts in the studio aren’t set in stone, the team periodically updates or changes them to follow the trends and what customers are looking for, says Tiffany.
“[We take] into account what’s trending and also for special occasions, festivals or events, like Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day. This allows customers to experience different setups when they revisit the studio each time and have fresh ideas on how they want to take their photos or videos.
“We constantly seek feedback and ideas from our customers by speaking to them when they are at the studio so that we know what they like and enjoy. We want to be relevant and be able to cater to their photography needs,” Tiffany notes.
This focus on continual improvement is something that Tiffany believes is important for the business, saying that she plans to “evolve and improve the experience at iWan Studio so that we remain relevant and exciting for our target audience, which are mainly the Gen Z and millennial generation”.
“We also want to spread positivity by empowering our customers to discover a different side of themselves through this experience and instill greater confidence in themselves,” she says.
“I believe that everyone can be creative or have the ability to create. It is only whether or not they realise and harness it to the fullest. As for me, I think I’m a late-bloomer in the creative line but I do take pride in seeing how beautiful things have all come together at iWan Studio.”
iWan (I 玩) Studio is located at 12 Aljunied Rd, 05-01 KH Plaza @ Aljunied, Singapore. For more information, call +65 9622 3715.
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