For the past 15 years, the idea for a Junk Gypsy book has resided in the backs of the very creative minds of Jolie Sikes and Amie Sikes.
“Junk Gypsy has been around for about 18 years now, and we’ve been talking about a writing a book for at least 15 of those years,” Jolie said. “It’s something we’ve always wanted—and needed—to do, but other projects just kept cutting in line.”
Those projects included starring in two successful television shows, creating a paint line, designing a Pottery Barn Teen line, crafting a Lane Boot line, and relocating to Round Top where they built their homes and Junk Gypsy World Headquarters, their permanent retail space.
“Junk Gypsy took on a life of its own and has taken us along for a wild, wonderful ride that’s not over yet,” Jolie said. “We’ve been blessed to be busy, but in January we made writing our book a priority.”
The sisters gathered their computers, turned off their phones and holed up on the Back 40 at the Wander Inn determined to write Junk Gypsy: Designing a Life at the Crossroads of Wonder & Wander.
“We just weren’t sure how to get started because not only was the publishing process foreign, but our book was destined to be so much more than just words,” Jolie said. “Junk Gypsy is people and projects, ideas, color, music and life—we wanted to capture all that within a single book.”
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 and 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 tid-bits such as their dad’s biscuit recipe and their favorite road tunes. Friends and clients such as musician Miranda Lambert, Duck Dynasty’s Robertson family, as well as others, also share personal stories about the inimitable Junk Gypsy style.
“We worked really hard on the book and took the process very seriously because our customers deserve our best,” Jolie said. “We had to be true to ourselves and to Junk Gypsy—to what it is and what it means.”
Early on, the duo discovered that no one else could capture the voice of Junk Gypsy.
“It’s standard industry procedure for publishing companies to supply ghost writers—especially for first-time authors—and this was our first publishing rodeo,” Jolie said. “We figured out quickly that for the Junk Gypsy voice to be authentic it has to come from an authentic Junk Gypsy.”
The ghost writer assumed the title of project coordinator and became part of the team that also included a book designer and photographer April Pizana. Despite the luxury of having a creative team at their disposal, the sisters have taken a hands-on approach to the project.
“We’ve written every single word, photo caption and title,” Jolie said. “We’ve designed pages, and I’ve taken a good portion of the photos. The book is authentically us. It’s our blood, sweat and tears.”
Round Top, the girls’ new hometown, earned its own chapter, “Small Town, Big Dreams.”
“We dedicated an entire chapter to Round Top, its character, its spirit and how it affected us personally,” Jolie said. “This place is full of beautiful characters who support creativity and keep us vibrant and energized.”
When the book is released on October 4, Jolie is looking forward to holding a copy in her hand.
“We’re old-fashioned, and a book feels permanent,” Jolie said. “In a book, it feels like history lives forever. My favorite part of this whole thing is knowing that all the pieces will be gathered in one place. To me, this book is a glorified scrapbook on steroids that tells our story and includes every single facet. It’s a long-lasting labor of love.”
Junk Gypsy: Designing a Life at the Crossroads of Wander & Wonder is available October 4 and can be pre-ordered at www.amazon.com.
The Sikes sisters will launch the book at Junk Gypsy World Headquarters during the fall Round Top Antiques Shows. Exact details still being determined, so watch gypsyville.com or junkgypsybook.com for the latest information.
by Lorie Woodward Cantu
photos courtesy of Junk Gypsy