February 2, 2021
If you’re into fun, fresh adventures in 2021, Rich Girls Museum needs to be on your list. North Carolina A&T graduate, MarTeekia Sweat, and her fiancé and business partner, Josh White (J White), have brought big city flavor to the Piedmont Triad with the opening of Greensboro’s first selfie museum.
Sweat, born in Wilmington, NC, came to Greensboro to attend North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in 2008. After being undecided for a year, she ended up majoring in graphic design and immediately discovered a knack for the arts. “I liked the fact that in all those [creative] classes, you did what you wanted to do in your own way,” said Sweat.
In 2018, two years after meeting White, Sweat took a huge risk and left her property management job of six years to join White in Los Angeles. They were both drawn to the large city for its thriving creative economy. White had moved to L.A. for its bustling music scene. He’d opened his own Greensboro-based recording studio, Chophouze Studios, around 2012 and was ready to get a taste of what a larger city had to offer.
It was a bold move that paid off for both.
“You just gotta go for it. You gotta do it quick. Because when he [White] told me he was moving to L.A., he moved the next week. You gotta just go ahead and do it,” she said.
While living in L.A., Sweat found herself asking White to go with her to the popular Museum of Ice Cream. She was intrigued by the radiant colors, unique themes, and creative photo opportunities. He resisted at first, but she persisted. Once he agreed, the selfie museum became one of their favorite outings, and before long, they agreed to bring that L.A. flavor back home to Greensboro.
As Sweat and White continued to envision Greensboro’s Rich Girls Museum, both were very involved in the details. They wanted to create something inspired by what they’d seen in other cities, including contemporary concepts like the rose wall that they built themselves. White has a particular affinity for cars, so a flashy whip had to be included.
Planning began in September of 2019 and the building of the museum started in mid-October of 2019. White has learned to trust his entrepreneurial instincts, so this venture was no exception.
“I’m one of those people, like, all it has to do is make sense for me and I’m with it. As soon as it makes sense, just do it. The older I get, the more confident I get with it,” said White.
Rich Girls Museum is located in a commercial business park near the intersection of Greensboro’s W. Market and Spring Garden Streets. It’s an active area surrounded by everything from restaurants to clothing stores to gyms. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) is also close by. It’s easily accessible from main roads like W. Wendover and I-40. As you pull into the lot, the businesses give off more of an industrial feel, which adds to the mystique of the Rich Girls Museum. The signage is bright and the windows are tinted. From the moment you park, the experience feels compelling and exclusive.
“A lot of times we do private video shoots so we paint the floor every week– just make it look fresh. Make it look brand new for new people coming each weekend. Me and her [Sweat] are like, really neat freaks, so we can’t stand dirty looking stuff,” said White.
The museum features multiple “sets” including a luxury car; the handmade rose wall; a private jet with a hot pink interior; an all-white booth resembling the sleek, contemporary VIP section of a club; and a dryer room filled with baskets of $100 bills, all curated to give the everyday dreamer a chance to enjoy an exhilarating photo shoot for TikTok or the ‘gram. People have already traveled from several states to get a chance to see themselves and their friends shine in the colorful visuals that the museum provides.
Opening during Covid, they’ve taken extra precautions to keep things safe and sanitized. Sweat and White conduct a thorough cleaning between each tour. Only one group can roam through the museum each hour and no more than twelve people are permitted to be inside at a time.
They already have a team of ten employees and they operate the facility with an organic and authentic vibe. After being open for less than three months, they see over 100 people come in and out of the museum daily.
With sights on the future, Sweat expressed excitement about regularly changing out the themes and decor in each room so that people will want to continue coming back. They also plan to open other Rich Girls Museums in different cities. Both White and Sweat intend to continue building and growing businesses that change Greensboro’s entrepreneurial landscape. One door over in the same business park, White still operates his newly renovated recording studio, renamed Underground Rich.
“We changed the game,” said White. “We’ve got people coming in at 11 a.m. fully dressed, stilettos, handbags, fur coats… 11 a.m., they’re ready. Makeup and hair done ready to get their pictures. That’s a game changer.”
Interested in making a trip to Rich Girls Museum?
Here are some tips:
- Bring a fun crew and make the most of your time.
- If you want your photos to show multiple looks, wear layers and shed them as you move around the different sets.
- Wear a mask and bring extra sanitizer. While the museum is cleaned between sessions, you can never be too safe.
- Explore the local restaurants! There are several nearby that are still doing take-out, delivery, and limited dine-in service: Hops Burger Bar, Pho Hien Vuong, Scrambled Southern Diner, Freeman’s Grub & Pub, Nazareth Bread Co. and Bites & Pints are just a few options.