By Paula Hendrickson
On History’s popular series American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz scour the back roads looking for the “rusty gold” their customers love. On HGTV’s new series, Junk Gypsies, sisters Amie and Jolie Sikes dig through dirt looking for vintage pieces worth salvaging and turning into designer pieces.
Thirteen years ago, the Texas-based sisters quit their day jobs and started The Junk Gypsy Company. This month, their brand-new series, Junk Gypsies, debuts on HGTV.
“We never set out to be on TV,” says Amie. “We were just building a business, a business we could work with our family in and do something we loved. Then, the TV stuff came about — we just wanted to make sure we didn’t sell our souls in the process.”
As their company grew more popular, it drew not only the attention of celebrity clients like Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, but of cable networks and production companies.
“Different production companies kept calling, and we kept looking for our perfect fit,” Jolie says. “You know how people say it’s more important what you say no to than what you say yes to? We said no to about 20 different production companies before we found one we liked. And then, we had some other network offers that we didn’t like, but HGTV seemed like the perfect home for us. We held out so long for the perfect production company and the perfect network.”
The sisters were raised going to flea markets, garage sales and thrift stores.
“So, we have an appreciation for everything old and for junk — it just has way more character when something is old than when it’s new,” Jolie says. “It’s so much more fun, too, the thrill of the hunt is for real. You never know what you’re going to find at a flea market — it’s like you’re on a treasure hunt every day.”
They give broken and discarded items new life, turn utilitarian objects into designer accents, and transform old relics into stylish pieces. “You never know where inspiration is going to come from, it’s out of the box,” Jolie says. “You’re going to find something unique, that nobody else has, and it has a story behind it.”
It’s clear that Amie and Jolie love their job, with or without the cameras rolling.
“We’re total junkies for this business,” Amie says, saying the three best things about their business are rummaging for junk, working with family and going on road trips. “We used to be on the road ALL the time, hunting out things, scavenging, going to auctions, setting up at flea markets — that’s how we came up with the name Junk Gypsies. It was really empowering to realize you can do your own thing and pave your own path. It was unlike anything we’d ever done before, so all those things combined have made this the greatest business and life, ever.”
For a new take on the picking life, tune in to Junk Gypsies and watch a pair of fun-loving sisters from Texas find hidden beauty in other people’s junk.
Junk Gypsies debuts at 6 p.m., Saturday, May 5, on HGTV.
Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Follow her on Twitter at P_Hendrickson and send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the May 2-8, 2012, issue