Junk Gypsies: Small Town. Big Dreams.
Janie Sikes taught her daughters, Amie and Jolie, that population signs just designate city limits; they don’t dictate the size of dreams.
“You don’t have to live in a big city to have a big dream,” Janie, who along with her husband Phil raised their daughters in Overton, Texas, population 2,539, said. “Location is only important if you’re in real estate. Vision, creativity and elbow grease make big dreams come true.”
Their dream? To have a family-oriented business that allowed them to pool their talents and turn their shared passion for junking into a viable business.
“With $2,000 and an old pickup, we set out to find a great business, instead we found a great life,” Amie said.
Their dreamy reality? A destination junk (as they lovingly refer to it) and retail store in Round Top, Texas, population 90. A television series that has allowed them to take a hiatus to work on other projects. A New York Times best-selling book. A line of funky, free-wheeling boots designed in conjunction with Lane Boots. Two lines of free-spirited décor with Pottery Barn Teen. A signature line of thick, creamy, bold chalk and clay paint. A gig hosting Country Living’s Coast-to-Coast Caribbean Cruise in March. A television series currently on hiatus so they can work on other projects. And a one-of-a-kind, soon-to-be-opened, Texas-inspired eight-room inn appropriately named The Wander Inn.
In 2016, Junk Gypsy: Designing a Life at the Crossroads of Wonder & Wander, the combination autobiography, DIY, inspiration penned by the sisters hit the New York Times Best Sellers List.
“The best of times. The worst of times, but the New York Times Best Sellers List is pretty much the publishing world’s Holy Grail all of the time,” Jolie said. “Our publisher told us not to set our sights on achieving this mark, but we did because we had a tribe of fellow junk gypsies, kindred spirits who drank the flea market Kool-Aid right along with us years and years ago.
“We had them from sea to shining sea—and they had our backs. That’s what makes Junk Gypsy special: we don’t just have a business, we have a community.”
Junk Gypsy has been around for about 18 years now, and the sisters have been talking about a writing a book for at least 15 of those years. They reached into all the nooks and crannies of their experiences and gathered a mish-mash of information that honors their iconic, eclectic style—and the people who helped them along the way. “It’s not a memoir, but it is our beginning and our background,” Jolie said. “It’s about the troubadours and trailblazers who inspired and shaped us.”
There’s something for everyone. Readers will get to go behind the scenes and explore some of the girls’ favorite projects including former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s office as well as the Airstream trailers they designed for musicians Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley and Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. Each chapter also includes a DIY ranked from easy to difficult as well as fun tidbits such as their dad’s biscuit recipe and their favorite road tunes. Friends and clients such as musician Miranda Lambertand Duck Dynasty’s Robertson family, as well as others, also share personal stories about the inimitable Junk Gypsy style.
Junk Gypsies: Small Town. Big Dreams.
“We labored and worried . . . and dreamed really big,” Amie said. “We wanted it to be something our fellow gypsies LOVE, so it will be in their hearts like it is in ours.”
Just as the swallows return to Capistrano, people who are passionate about vintage living, whether it’s with fine antiques or junk, return to Round Top. The Junk Gypsies were not immune to the pull.
“They say there is a certain Round Top magic that spins and twists its way through your heart and soul when you are here,” Jolie said. “We took the two-lane road to Round Top—and we’ve never looked back.”
In 2013, they made Round Top home to the Junk Gypsy World Headquarters, 7,500 square feet of glitter, glam and cutting-edge country funk-a-delic fabulousness that includes clothes, jewelry, repurposed “junk” and household items.
“We consider ourselves ‘junk conservationists,’ so it was a duty of epic importance to build a preserve for ‘wild junk,’ a habitat in which all junk can live harmoniously and symbiotically in peace—and our fellow conservationists can come have a good time and be inspired by what they find,” Jolie said.
For those wanderers and wonderers who want to buy Junk Gypsy designed treasures from the source, it is a must stop shop. As part of the wide selection, shoppers can buy Junk Gypsy Boots by Lane. The ruggedly feminine, highly-fashionable footwear embellished with fringe and other boho-cowgirl accoutrements combine Junk Gypsy style with Lane’s hand-made comfort. The bright, bold paints, available by the quart in 18 colors, can be picked up alongside copies of the book and much more.
When it’s time to call it a day, lucky guests can claim the Wander Inn as home for a weekend or longer. Located at the rear of the 60-acre compound that is site of the store, the Wander Inn was inspired by the Chisholm and Texas Independence trails that run nearby. Each room has its own theme, but the space is cohesive providing a warmth and an invitation to slow down and visit.
“What we always say about Junk Gypsy is that you’re going to find the thing you never knew you needed,” Amie said. “The Wander Inn feels like that for me. I never knew how much I would love it. When I’m 80 years old, I think I’ll still be out there building fires for people . . . I can’t imagine Junk Gypsy without it.”
These days the sisters can’t imagine their lives without Junk Gypsy. “This is the business that junk built . . . the life that junk built,” Amie and Jolie said. “We really don’t know where we end and Junk Gypsy begins.”
For all things Junk Gypsy, see www.gypsyville.com .
by Lorie A. Woodward
Photos courtesy of Junk Gypsy