Culture / Newsy

Tragic Death of Founder Forces Houston’s Instagram Play Land to Close

With the Visionary Texan Behind it Gone, This Show Could Not Go On

BY // 07.22.19

Houston’s FOMO Factory is no more — and a family is grieving the visionary who started it all. In a tragic turn of events, FOMO Factory owner, founder and native Texan Rachel Youens died, forcing the Instagram haven to abruptly (and understandably) shutter.

The art play land, an endless immersive world boasting bright colors and nostalgia-fueled 17 thematic rooms, had been open in The Galleria for just more than a month. FOMO Factory, which officially opened on June 7, was supposed to be open for half a year and run through December 31.

FOMO Factory shared the news of the 35-year-old Youens’ passing on Instagram. Youens’ cause of death has not been revealed.

“Due to the death of our founder and owner, Rachel Youens, the FOMO Factory will be closing its doors permanently starting on 7/17/19,” the Instagram post reads. “We’re truly sorry about this necessary decision. If you have purchased tickets, you will receive an apology email explaining the refund process.”

The factory, built on the “fear of missing out,” started out as a sensation in Austin. The amazingly popular installation drew crowds of thousands, everyone from children to adults, from social media influencers to legit stars, including singer Billie Eilish.

FOMO Factory’s whimsical space was built on recapturing childhood memories. Youens was first inspired by her time at adult summer camps, where campgoers would set aside their names and everyday lives and come up with new, carefree identities.

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“Nostalgia is universal. Everyone had a childhood. If your childhood was great, this gives you a chance to get back to it. If it wasn’t so great, here’s your second chance,” Youens told PaperCity at a media preview in June.

Before the closure, guests delighted in the colorful creations — collaborations between local artists and engineers. FOMO Factory was no Instagram trap, but a place where you could pop out of epic birthday cakes, play mad scientist in a lab full of beakers and treat entire walls as your own personal coloring book.

Youens created something special that people responded to, leaving a legacy of innovative fun.

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