Shopping Centers Today

MAR 2017

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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M A R C H 2 0 1 7 / S C T 21 Ready for your close-up Blink Inc brings professional photo studio services to the shopping center By Beth Mattson-Teig B link Inc strives to give ordinary photo studio customers the same attention fashion industry professionals would receive. "We're not your traditional portrait studio by any means," said Tristan Davison, founder and president of the Corte Madera–based company. "We have broken that mold." Blink Inc opened its first studio in 2013 at Town Center Corte Madera (Calif.), followed by three more California units in 2016 — at Westfield Valley Fair (Santa Clara), Westfield Topanga (Canoga Park) and Fashion Island (Newport Beach). Now the company is setting up to bring out five more, in the second half of this year. Customers can book photo sessions in 10-minute blocks at a minimum charge of $25 for a 10-minute shoot. The photographer snaps dozens of photos ("blinks"), with a 10-minute session typically delivering between 80 and 120 images. These photos are available immediately for view and purchase by download onto an online account. Last year the company secured about $3.6 million in funding and entered an agreement with Macerich under which it will open studios at certain Macerich properties — at least five of which are set for this year. The first of these is expected to open this summer. Davison, who began taking photos at the tender age of 6, earned a degree in photography from the California Institute of the Arts and then worked in fashion and advertising for nearly 20 years. A few years ago he began thinking that the consumer photo studio market might be ready for change. The traditional portrait studio approach of delivering prints is antiquated, Davison says. Blink Inc provides immediate access by means of digital photos downloaded to an online account. "Our technology and our approach to the entire experience is what sets us apart," said Davison. Being the sort of concept it is, Blink Inc leans to such co-tenants as Apple, Lululemon, SoulCycle and Zara. And the company wants to work with owners that embrace emerging technology. "For us," said Davison, "it is as much about the landlord as it is the location." n

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