By Hyacinth Fiorenzo
Two Martinsville area business entrepreneurs are making a way for themselves, and every other selfie minded individual with the glitz and glam typically reserved for large cities – right here in Uptown Martinsville.
The Studio VA, located at 20 Walnut Street, is what is commonly known as a Selfie Museum – a posh space filled with 25 various sets specifically designed using lush and glamorous backdrops, lighting and props coordinated to enhance photos for area models, both professional and amateur.
The business officially launched last week with a ribbon cutting. It is owned and operated by Jailyn Draper, 23, and Courtney Martin, 24, models and social media gurus. Both have established deep roots in the area.
Martin, who is born and raised in Martinsville, originally met Draper through one of Draper’s social media classes. Draper is the granddaughter of David Draper, girls’ basketball coach at Martinsville High School, and has grown up spending time in and around Martinsville.
Draper, who studied Marketing at Winston Salem University, has dedicated much of her life to establishing her social media presence and helping others learn to utilize social media for their benefit. She has owned and operated the space at 20 Walnut for over a year, using the space before as The Social Butterfly, where she provided local businesses and individuals with web and graphic design, influencer coaching, content creation, search engine optimization, social media and email marketing, and small business and personal branding.
She also teaches classes in online presence and social media marketing, and it was during one of these classes where the two girls met and hatched an idea that would lead to the brainchild that became The Studio VA.
Martin, a star basketball standout who played for William and Emory College and then Ferrum College, recently signed to a modeling agency and has been featured online and in multiple magazines. She admitted that finding a space for proper photos and videos has been rather lackluster in this area of Southwest Virginia.
“This is going to be a game changer for so many content creators,” Martin said of the new storefront.
The Studio VA has appeal for both professional photographers and models, as well as amateur selfie takers.
The space will be open to the public from Saturday through Monday. Visitors may stop by and take their own unlimited photos for a nominal fee. During the week, the space will be designated for rent by professional content creators – photographers, videographers, models, YouTubers, etc.
“The creators can use the space so that they don’t have to build those things in their room or in their home if they don’t have the equipment or the environment to create content,” said Draper.
“Trying to create content in this area is difficult,” said Martin in agreement. “You usually have to go to larger cities like Atlanta, New York and L.A. We hopped on a trend and brought it to Martinsville.”