We had the good fortune of connecting with Mike Clevenger and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mike, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
During the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic I was furloughed like many Americans and it was during this time away that my daughters and I began talking about our futures and all the possibilities. My teenage daughters were active on a new social media outlet called TikTok and it was there that our idea was born. As we started watching so many people interacting there with what seemed like a continuous duel over who could come up with the most outrageous and eye-catching backgrounds for their videos, that was the lead into building our own photography studio. I am old enough to remember the professional studios of years past where we would get our school pictures taken or family holiday pictures taken. These had a variety of backdrops and various camera and lighting setups. Those were great in their day but have faded over the years…until now! We are combining the best of both worlds at Scottsdale Selfie, colorful and creative rooms with backdrops for the best Instagram worthy selfie along with the staged photography backdrops for holiday creations and year round use for things like corporate headshots and family photo opportunities.
We are a local family business and I am blessed to get to build something fun and engaging with the community alongside my family!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have 22 years of management experience primarily in two industries, the Health and Wellness industry along with Recreation and Tourism. I was tasked with my first managerial position at the young age of 18 while working in the health club setting where I remained for almost 10 years. Over the years I have enjoyed time in both the private sector in addition to the public sector with both city and state roles here in Arizona. In recent years I have led teams as both a General Manager and Director of Operations in the Tourism industry all while opening my first brick and mortar business in Scottsdale. Now, I reflect heavily on those roles and responsibilities and draw inspiration from those as we build our new photography studio. It was never easy and hard work has always been the defining characteristic that has led me to find success.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Having lived in Arizona since 1991 and spent time working in the tourism industry I have seen our beautiful state change and grow over the years and have had the opportunity to experience so much of the natural beauty that Arizona offers in exploration from the valley to the Grand Canyon we have an abundance of things to see and do.
I would begin with a local dinner with an amazing view of the valley at Tapatio Cliffs Different Point of View restaurant followed by drinks at a local brewery, Fate Brewery. Depending on the season, we might explore the local desert with Stellar Adventure tours on an Atv tour or take in the beauty of the Sonoran desert from the air in a hot air balloon ride from Hot Air Expeditions. The trip would move north to the beautiful city of Sedona Arizona for a magical day of connectivity with the red rocks and Oak Creek – there we would take a Pink Jeep tour of the majestic land only to complete the day driving north through Oak Creek canyon on one of the most scenic drives in the US up state route 89A to Flagstaff Arizona. While in Flagstaff, we would again find ourselves enjoying some of the local breweries including Mother Road and Dark Sky breweries. Before leaving Flagstaff if the season is right we would spend the day on the slopes enjoying Snowbowl ski resort and if not in season we would wind up at the ropes course at Fort Tuthill . After taking in Flagstaff we would depart for the south rim of the Grand Canyon and stand in ahhh at one of the world’s natural wonders. After returning to the valley from the high country we would conclude our trip with an afternoon at the ballpark taking in a Diamondbacks game or playing a round of golf on the boulders course at Troon North. Before a return to the airport to fly home, a final afternoon spent cruising old town Scottsdale on the Arizona Party Bike followed by a visit to the Scottsdale Selfie of course 🙂
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I/we would not be here today without family and in particular my grandmother who we lost a couple years back but it is her teachings, her influence and her strength that motivates me and continues to lead us today!
Other: TikTok: @scottsdaleselfie