Anyone in retail wondering how to bring back the magic must hightail it to Waco to check out Chip and Joanna Gaines’ spectacular new retail wonderland, Magnolia Market at the Silos. And, btw, we counted bags and based on how many people visit Magnolia Market (30,000 per week), we estimate, minimally, they are making $500K weekly – or over $25million annually. I wrote about Magnolia back in July, at which time I started to plan this road trip to Waco in conjunction with my coverage of the Texas State Fair in Dallas (post on Thursday).
Here are 5 things that made the biggest impression:
1. The Overall Vibe: Warm, Inviting, High Energy and Totally Instagrammable (see pics below)
It’s hard to put into words just how magical and fabulous Magnolia Market has turned out to be.
It has a huge footprint – spread over two and a half acres of indoor and outdoor space – and feels very generous even with huge crowds.
I especially love the juxtaposition of the perfectly maintained white-painted buildings against the weathered silos. And let’s not overlook the bakery and cafe (they sell 3000 cupcakes a day!), the lush flower and vegetable gardens and the food trucks spread around the outskirts of the property.
It’s a rambling affair that invites you to wander from building to building. It encourages discovery and exploration: what’s around this corner? down these stairs? out in the garden? “Constantly evolving” and “work in progress” are baked into the concept and keep Magnolia fresh and compelling. While visiting, you will see staff working in the gardens doing plantings and seasonal updates, others are creating and installing new product displays, you may see tables being set up in one of the sheds for a wedding.
The outdoors space – with astroturf, games, bean bags, wooden swings, vine-covered arbors and picnic tables – feels incredibly welcoming!!
And despite the rambling, casual nature of the place, nothing has been left to chance, no detail is overlooked. Country Living describes it as a shrine to the Gaines’ lifestyle. Couldn’t agree more! See pics below along with more info on the shoppers and what they are buying.
2. The Product Mix/Merchandising: EVERYTHING for Styling and Decorating Your Home the Fixer Upper Way
- Decorative accessories e.g. handmade faux cotton boll stems which Joanna uses in her farmhouse (and which almost every visitor was buying at $9 per stem with most buying several). Also, candles, mugs, vases, pillows.
- Paint – the Gaines’ have recently added their own line of paint with 150 colors – display is worth checking out (see pics below)
- Furnishings e.g. tables, rugs – another new addition.
There are also fun giftables and wearables including:
- Tote bags
- T-shirts ($26-$28) – which I would have bought except the lines for checkout were too long!
- Freshly made popcorn ($7)
- Seedlings and plants
3. The Crowds are Huge: 30,000 enthusiastic fans every week
Almost all are passionately engaged with all things Chip and Joanna and their Fixer Upper Brand. While we ran into some local people from Texas, there were vastly more visitors coming from out of state including Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, upstate New York, Florida. We noticed licence plates from all over the country but especially from Midwestern and Southern states. The second Silo-bration, scheduled for October 6 and 7, in celebration of Magnolia Silos’ first year anniversary, is hotly anticipated by the fans!!
Although the majority of the shoppers were female, the men were incredibly impressed by what was playing out in front of their eyes. They literally appeared to be trying to take it all in and figure out how Chip managed to create such a successful enterprise – right in the middle of this small Texas town.
4.The Shopping: It is Frenzied!
People were buying like crazy. Most were carrying 2-3 large shopping bags, as well as packaging from the bakery – which meant they stood in at least two long lines. Each checkout had at least 30-50 people in line.
5. The Power Of The Gaines’ Brand!!
Chip and Joanna have built a stellar lifestyle brand – basically from the ground up!! In the process, they’ve also put Waco on the map. Very impressed by what they’ve achieved – as are most of the people we spoke to about their experience at Magnolia. Not only have the Gaines’ built a great brand, they’ve also built a strong personal bond with their viewers and fans through their TV show.
The Gaines’ have also recently added a bed and breakfast to their empire and, just as their TV show goes into its final season, they are launching their own magazine, The Magnolia Journal, through Meredith Corp. I am also a big fan of their website – check it out here.