A view of the Magnolia storefront from yelp.com.
by Sarah Toth
Like many people, I am completely enamored with the HGTV show Fixer Upper. While it’s highly unlikely that my house will ever even closely resemble any house that appears on that show, a girl can dream. In fact, if I even utter the word “shiplap” in my home, Mr. Aggie rolls his eyes. I’m a little obsessed, I can admit it.
Tons of people have been hitting the highway to venture to the farmhouse-chic mecca that is, uh, what? Waco, Texas? Those of us who live in Texas know that Waco is known for two things — one being Baylor University and the other being a crazy cult of people in the early 1990s that we would rather forget.
But all of the sudden Waco is cool again and that is thanks to two people – Chip and Joanna Gaines. Their eclectic farm fresh style has made rustic furniture, minimalist design and raising chickens cool again.
So, to get to the point. It was spring break, it was rainy and my mother-in-law was in town so I decided to hit I-35S and see what all the fuss is about at Magnolia Market and their new location at the silos in downtown Waco.
As we drove down Webster Street on this rainy Thursday morning, we could see the infamous silos. I could almost hear the swipe of my credit card already! After 20 minutes of trying to find a parking spot, we ended up a few blocks away and hoofed it over to Magnolia Market. It was wet and muddy, but we were ready to shop!
We entered Magnolia Market and immediately recognized that it was utter chaos. There were people everywhere. Starry-eyed women with dreams of a shiplap kitchen dragged their bored-looking husbands around. Those husbands who knew what was good for them, shlepped around vintage-inspired decor items and didn’t say a word as their ravenous mates tried to find the perfect item to make their house look just like JoJo’s!
We were confused about where to go. People looked like they were shopping but were actually in line — a line that wrapped through the entire store and basically prevented anyone else from being able to look at items or shop.
We saw a lower level and decided it looked less crowded and made our way down the stairs. Well, we had wandered into the “Scratch and Dent” section and it was actually larger than the “real” store. We’re not talking about a smudge on a picture frame here – these were BROKEN items. I have no idea why people would purchase this stuff. Truly. It was a disaster. It took us about 20 minutes to wander around pondering all the broken trinkets around us.
A Magnolia brand t-shirt, from the store’s web site.
As we headed back upstairs, we were drawn in by the t-shirts and other Magnolia Market/Farms items. I grabbed a cute t-shirt that said “Texas Forever” – it was rolled up and tied with twine. So cute! My mother-in-law grabbed a Magnolia Market signature t-shirt as proof that she had made the trek to Waco.
We began to wander in the area of the store not engulfed by the giant line of people waiting to pay. I found a cute vintage-looking poster of cameras. Uh, so perfect for my office!!
I passed by Joanna’s signature scent candle — so cute! Uh, $28? What? No thanks. What an awesome white vase — too bad I’d have to take out a second mortgage on my house to pay for it! OK, this was getting ridiculous!
Finally another shopper told us that we should just get in line to pay and shop while we’re in line since the line wound through the entire store anyway. Uh, genius! So into the line we went! The people behind us were from Binghamton, New York. I immediately felt bad for them. I wondered if they were as disappointed as I was.
Let’s get real for a second. The stuff is cool, there is no denying that. However, most of the items could be purchased at your local Hobby Lobby or Michaels. If not the EXACT same items, something very similar. It was extremely generic and mass-market. I have a good friend who has a booth at a store with similar items in Wylie, Texas, and I’m pretty sure she carries some of the exact same things I saw at Magnolia Market.
For example, I purchased an interesting metal vase for $21. The name of the vase was printed on the tag so I googled it. I found it (wholesale) online for $5.99. Boo. Obviously there will be a markup, but that seems extreme.
I ended up spending $106 because I felt dumb driving 100+ miles and returning home empty-handed. As we walked out of the market, I felt like I had been cheated. The store was a lot smaller than I expected and most of it was taken up by the Scratch & Dent section. Oh, and when we got home, we found that my $26 t-shirt was printed wrong and my mother-in-law’s was labeled the wrong size. Thanks, Magnolia Market!
So I leave you with this thought. If you love Fixer Upper and want to go the Magnolia Market to simply say you’ve been, then go. If you actually hope to buy items for your home, you will be disappointed because it is all VERY overpriced. I mean, who pays $16 for one fake tulip? Not me, that’s for darn sure!
Magnolia Market is overrated. Save your gas, save your money.