In Founder Focus we introduce entrepreneurs and innovators working on our next generation of new business startups, social enterprises and small businesses.

At a glance

Founders: Kimberley Torrie & Lauren Burton

Business: Picky

Founded: 2021

HQ: Auckland

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

Picky is New Zealand’s newest commercial image platform – linking high quality, commercially available imagery, from a diverse range of local photographers to an NZ audience.

Our ambition is to ensure there’s diversity in both the content and the creation of imagery used to represent NZ. Ensuring the way Aotearoa is portrayed in media, design & advertising is reflective of today.

Picky is like a digital gallery of sorts. We partner with photographers to showcase, market & licence their existing imagery on their behalf.

We broker the licence between creators & clients. Our approach to licensing is innovative, offering licences which we wish we had access to when working on the flip side (our “RAW Image” offering for example. These are larger, editable files which enable the end-user to have more control over the retouching & grade of the image. So much easier than trying to tweak the colour on a tiny compressed image.)

Through data from our platform we can see top searched categories, so we’ve started commissioning “Picky Bespoke” photoshoots around Aotearoa. In this case, we help produce & source talent, who are then also part of the Picky Talent Royalty Scheme (earning royalties per image sold alongside the photographer).

What’s been incredible so far is the number of female and non-binary photographers who have signed on to Picky – over 55% of contributors. For a historically underrepresented group, we’re proud to be fostering a platform to share this imagery.

What’s the backstory for your business idea?

Picky cofounders Lauren and Kimberley were working together at an advertising agency at the time of our brainwave.

During lockdowns, our photoshoots were constantly cancelled and often we’d find ourselves needing to quickly find stock imagery to get urgent comms out for clients or as a stop-gap for a postponed shoot. 

This further solidified a bug bear of ours – that there was a real lack of authentic, high quality local imagery readily available. A stock site which didn’t feel ‘stocky’. We figured that there were so many epic photographers located all around Aotearoa – surely they had a back catalogue of their own images which could help start to fill this gap. So we figured why not become the glue to connect this creative community to agencies, marketers and businesses.

As such, Picky was born and continues on two years later.

What programmes, learning or mentoring have been of assistance so far?

  • We were part of the Blackbird “Giants” cohort early last year – an online, self-paced mentoring programme for startups and new businesses. It was a great opportunity to connect with industry experts across many fields and the in-person networking events connected us to a community of founders at similar stages to our journey.
  • So much of it has been learning on the fly – diving in and figuring out what we could do, what connections we already had within our networks and setting in chats to learn from them.


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