Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Magnolia Story

On HGTV’s Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna Gaines “take the worst house in the best neighborhood” and “turn it into their clients’ dream home.”  A husband-and-wife team, Chip manages the demolition and construction, and Joanna designs and styles the interior.  At the end of each episode, Chip and Joanna ask, “Are you ready to see your fixer upper?” as their clients eagerly await the first look at their newly-transformed home.  Now in their fourth season, Chip and Joanna have millions of viewers captivated by their playful rapport and signature modern, rustic style. 
In addition to raising four kids on a working farm and starring in a top-rated TV show, they run quite a few businesses in Waco, Texas. Their empire includes a real estate company, Magnolia Realty; a construction company, Magnolia Homes; a furniture line, Magnolia Home; another furniture line, Magnolia Home Furniture; a collaboration with Loloi rugs; a quarterly lifestyle magazine, Magnolia Journal; a bed and breakfast, The Magnolia House; a real estate subdivision, Magnolia Villas; their quarterly lifestyle magazine; and the Magnolia Market, a shopping and dining destination in downtown Waco. 

As a big fan of Fixer Upper since it premiered in 2013, I was eager to read their book, The Magnolia Story, which came out in October 2016 and became an instant best-seller.  Like the show, their joint memoir is witty and inspiring; it reads like a conversation between Chip and Joanna, where they trade off from chapter to chapter.  Whether or not you’ve heard of shiplap (one of Joanna’s favorite design materials -- a rough-sawn pine paneling often used in barns and historic homes), The Magnolia Story is a fascinating walk down memory lane with a prolific entrepreneurial couple.  

Before Chip met Joanna, he was already a serial entrepreneur who had developed his business acumen running a lawn care company, selling fireworks, and flipping houses. With a background in communications, Joanna was inspired to join the world of design and became a self-taught designer.  Her passion for design was the perfect complement for Chip’s construction experience and together they started remodeling and flipping houses.

While everything is now coming up magnolias in Waco, Texas, Chip and Joanna had a series of struggles when they were getting started.   The Magnolia Story captures the ups and downs of being small business owners, as well as their journey as a married couple working together.  Capturing their strong work ethic and passion for dreaming big, the book closes with some advice from Joanna:

[T]he key to everything Chip and I have learned in our life together so far seems to be pretty simple: Go and find what it is that inspires you, go and find what it is that you love, and go do that until it hurts

I’m hoping to make the pilgrimage soon to Waco, Texas, but for now, I’ll be watching Fixer Upper and instagraming my love for all things Magnolia. #relationshipgoals #entrepreneurgoals #shiplap.

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