Picture this: You enter a nondescript building from the outside in northwest Houston that opens to a riot of color inside six rooms, each with at least one theme.
Customers can choose between spaces like a gigantic tub filled with plastic bubbles and rubber ducks, a dressing room full of pink roses, or a golden tub with money strewn about on the ground.
The place is called Picture Junky. It opened in August and bills itself as the ultimate selfie content studio, and it’s popular with photographers and social media influencers.
Megan Fan Munce, a reporting fellow at the Houston Chronicle, said the owner of Picture Junky launched the business because she couldn’t find a place to film her own online content.
“Crystal Legrand started out as an Airbnb owner and she wanted to teach other people in Houston how to get into doing Airbnbs. But she can’t find a place that’s both affordable to film her videos and also fits sort of the vibe she’s looking for,” Munce said. “So she ends up starting her own business where she has these different rooms where you can film any type of content.”
Legrand worked with local artists to come up with a number of different spaces where creators could take pictures or film videos.
“The key is there’s a lot of diversity. So you can sort of be fun in this big tub or you can be more serious in a room that’s built to look like an office,” Munce said. “It offers that diversity for a business owner who is trying to film enough content to fill up a week or a month of Instagram or TikTok without being too repetitive.”
A social media presence is absolutely key for businesses – especially those without storefronts – to gain customers, Munce said.
“If you think of a business inside of a mall or a retail strip, a part of the customers that you get are just the people who are walking by and seeing you on the street. But when you’re an Airbnb host or you’re an online small business, you don’t have that same type of foot traffic bringing in people. TikTok and Instagram sort of become that foot traffic,” she said. “They’re hoping that someone will scroll past a photo and see them, say, in that big tub and stop and look into their business. And that’s how they’ll get new customers. So having a space like Picture Junky where they can film this interesting content for their brand without breaking the bank because they’re a small business is really revolutionary for a lot of these online businesses.”
Munce said several similar businesses, like the Museum of Ice Cream in Austin or the Color Factory in Houston, have sprung up around allowing individuals to create postable content. But Picture Junky is unique in that it targets other small businesses.
“It’s really about people who have brands, who have businesses who are using this to make money,” Munce said. “As these platforms continue to be a big source of monetization for a lot of businesses and also individual creators, I think it would be a great business model for more people to take that opportunity to create a space where you can come in and film content.”
The cost to rent space at Picture Junky runs from $65 to $85 an hour, Munce said.
“I’m hearing from a lot of people, what they do is rent out the entire space for an hour or so, sort of knock out an entire month of content in that one go, which they can accomplish because they’ve got six different rooms they can film in,” she said.