Ok, ok...not with Chip & Joanna themselves, but a day with their vision! Did we love it or were we disappointed?
Let's back up to last January. We get the dates for our daughters graduation from Air Force, held in San Antonio, and I begin to think maybe we could do a little junking in the area so I grabbed a map. I've no idea of what is where in Texas, and then I saw it. Waco is only 2.5 hours away! What?? Well that was a no brainer. Our trip was immediately extended to allow for a road trip.
Jump back to this week. We hit Waco Monday morning and what do I see before me but NO LINE! The place was packed but we lucked out and didn't catch the hour wait to get in that we had read so much about. Whew! Lucked out, but we later find out why.
Once in the door the hardest part was figuring out where to start! I didn't want to miss a thing!
I'd been well informed and knew that we weren't going to grab any "Joanna Finds" here. No "one of a kind" pieces from her junking trips. Those items were pretty much limited to the displays pieces. Amazing industrial tables and unique buffets. And not for sale. The days of shopping at Magnolia for "unique finds" were over when they moved from the small original store. This store was for the masses. 25,000 shoppers a week to be exact!
What I was excited about was to see the process, feel the vibe and to hang out with my bestie! Sadly she wasn't here. Apparently she has other work to do like design houses, open a bakery, film a TV show. So I hung out with Chris instead. My other bestie!
Let me tell you about the part that amazed and impressed me. The vignettes and displays never empty, always look perfectly staged, and all while hundreds of people are inside with us snatching things up! How?? It took me a few minutes to notice, but each area has IT'S OWN PERSON! That's right! A person that perfectly positioned those wooden spoons after I played around with them. And when I selected a ceramic colander from this display... one appeared in it's place within seconds!! These displays were never empty or picked over, never out of place, and that was just mind blowing considering the amount of people inside that were purchasing or picking things up. But there's more....
....after stepping down into this beautiful larger room, we noticed an enormous space on the left side that was open for viewing, but "employees Only". This was the supply room for all those displays out front! There were busy young people walking in and out with lists and carts, pulling items that needed refilled in the shopping area so that it looked perfect!
How smart! We were in awe of the process. Even Target doesn't have full perfect displays at all times, and I doubt my Target has 25,000 people a week shuffling through.
Where we were both the most impressed was when we exited the lower level into the "community park" area. This place was booming with kids playing ball, moms pushing babies in swings, community vegetable gardens being tended, and plenty other activities that seemed to be local people and not necessarily shoppers. I'm sure this was Chip and Joanna's plan all along. A place to BE.
Food trucks, plenty of picnic tables and ice cold bottled Coke. We devoured several amazing crepes and enjoyed some people watching.
There were only a couple of disappointments that day.
1. I had a list of all the antique and vintage shops where Joanna finds some cool things and that had been recommended to me by several people. But why one earth are they closed on Mondays?! Most local stores were, and this is the reason I feel we didn't have a long line to wait to get in. It's not the best day to visit Magnolia Market if you have options. We didn't. Our flight home was Tuesday so I knew going in we wouldn't get to do a ton of shopping. We did find some fun picking back in San Antonio though.
2. Sorry Clint, but Clint Harp Studio was the other disappointment. After seeing all the "made for the masses" items at Magnolia I was excited to visit Clint's studio and grab a small made by hand item. Maybe a little cutting board or a turned candlestick. Something to take home that was made by someone we love to watch.
We saw Clint and a few other guys working out back, but as we entered the shop I was so let down. It was more mass produced home decor. What? Why? Why is Clint selling little notebooks, pillows and ceramic bowls? Nothing he made. I wouldn't have minded if the shop had been half the size but only carried some small handmade items. At least it would have had something to do with wood working. We left here empty handed and after only a few minutes. I just didn't get it. But we still love you Clint.
Was the 5 hour round trip drive to Waco worth it? Absolutely! Honestly, I bought nothing but a ball cap and a T-shirt. There wasn't anything in Magnolia that I can't purchase from my wholesalers. But it was the "experience" we went for. Inspiration, motivation, a little obsession and to stalk... I mean visit my our best friends, Chip & Joanna. Too bad they had other plans and couldn't hang out with us! :)
Who Am I?
I've tried it all...hair stylist/faux painter/stay at home mom/jewelry artist/late in life college student/retail shop owner/design consultant/home stager. Through it all I've loved doing home renovations, DIY and thrifting.