Oak Creek — If biology is the study of life, then Pixologie Inc. is the study of life through photographs.
That's how co-founders Mollie Bartelt and Ann Matuszak describe their photo organization and restoration business, which is nestled inside The Gathering business office at 8825 S. Howell Ave.
The two help people "do something" with their photo collections, such as assembling photo albums, scanning photos, treasured documents and memorabilia, converting videos and slides to a digital format and creating photo projects such as memorial or celebration boards, digital photo books, posters and more.
"We're not afraid of any photo situation," said Bartelt. "It's a universal problem. Have you done something with the photos you have taken?"
Mini VHS tapes, converter boxes, 8-milimeter film, family movies from the 1940s and 1950s and slide projectors are all worthy candidates of Pixologie's services. Even tintype photographs printed from the late 1800s have been scanned and restored.
Digital photos are equally qualified for not only digital sorting with computer software, but also backup systems with flash drives.
"Whatever your style is, there's no limit to what you can do," said Matuszak.
While many people may attach a negative connotation to photographs because they feel guilty for not organizing their photographs, or pressured to do something with their photos, Pixologie emphasizes why photos matter.
According to its website, photos affirm families, traditions, values and memories. They can also be a blessing when facing a difficult time in life, such as visiting an aging parent who doesn't remember her children.
To help customers tell their story, the co-founders set up a private living room in their office where more private consultations can take place.
"We're really privileged to be part of people's really personal stories," said Matuszak.
Becoming industry leaders
Matuszak and Bartelt got their start in photo organizing after working as scrapbooking consultants for a direct sales company. During this time, the two realized how much they loved helping people with photos.
Unfortunately, customers would not use their scrapbooking products because they needed help getting to the point of needing an album.
The two decided to become personal photo organizers and received accreditation through APPO, Association of Personal Photo Organizers. Pixologie was conceived as a business idea in July 2013 and launched Labor Day weekend last year. The work started out of the co-founders homes at first.
"We put a lot of our personal life into this because the mission of getting people's stories told is a profound opportunity," said Bartelt.
The Pixologie model is also replicable.
People can buy Pixologie business licenses from Bartelt and Matuszak to create their own photo restoration and organization business under the same name. Two licenses have been sold in Wisconsin. Another has been sold in Texas.
"We want to change the field and be leaders in this area because there isn't anybody right now," said Bartelt.
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