New designs and a new post! I am excited to share My Mom's Junk new look with you in my latest post!!! It's been quiet on the blog but behind the scenes, it has been a whirlwind of activity. It seems like if I'm blogging about something, I don't have time to get the project done. For my sanity, that's just not an option anymore. That being said, I'm working around the clock to prepare for my ... Read More about My Mom’s Junk New Look!
The Urban Farmhouse Designs Story: Revisited
The Thomas’ Inspiring Video! Please watch: Our Story | Urban Farmhouse Designs
Reclaiming Lives and Lumber
There are several things that the most successful reality TV shows have in common: most have a rags-to-riches story, a family that works together, and a unique, sellable product. They live their lives with a passion for what they do. Duck Dynasty, Junk Gypsy, Christley Knows Best, and Fixer Upper are all perfect examples. They are all living the American Dream. Recently, I met another family destined for greatness: Jason and Cherami Thomas, owners of Urban Farmhouse Designs. They are camera ready, charismatic, and being in their presence leaves you feeling inspired. I cannot overstate the profound way they have changed my life.
Reclaiming My Life
Last October, my husband Chris and I stopped by Urban Farmhouse Designs on a whim. We were in Oklahoma City for a night celebrating our 20-year wedding anniversary. On our way out-of-town, my stepmom Nita called and told me that I should go by and check it out. If you haven’t read my story, my stepmom and I are very, very close. Nita started dragging me around in high school to every thrift shop, garage sale, and antique mall she could. She was my Junking mentor. Besides, friends don’t let friends go Junking alone. Practically speaking, sometimes it takes two people to drag your prize to the car! Junkers typically hunt in packs.
On this particular day, Chris was my Junkin’ partner. That is no Bueno, amigos. It is not good to take anyone with you that you share a joint checking account. You do not need the voice of reason with you when you are looking for “the next big find.” I could tell he was skeptical when I told him that Nita said we should stop by the shop. But it was my Birthaversary, so he usually lets me pick where I would like to go. (I just don’t think shopping was what he was thinking about).
I quickly reminded him we stayed at The Skirvin, not Sandals, for our twenty year anniversary. We didn’t blow our budget. All I wanted was a good deal and to go, Junkin’. He know’s how cheap I am. I love the thrill of thrifting. Our pocketbook was safe. (As you will read later, the stop turned out to help him too). We are opposites, but one of the few things we have in common is a mutual affection for Urban Farmhouse Designs. They thought of everything when building their store. They even have a big screen TV for the guys downstairs, to distract them while their wives are shopping. After he saw that, he was just fine.
When I walked into Urban Farmhouse Designs, all I had left of my cottage business, My Mom’s Junk, was a pile of wood, some junk, and a dream. Our marriage strained, the children were struggling, and years of chronic crises had taken its toll on everyone. My business was flat broke and I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I’ve written and deleted about 20 posts about meeting the owners Jason Thomas and his beautiful wife, Cherami.
Made for HGTV
I knew their store was special the minute my feet stepped inside the door. It just felt like…home. I turned to Chris and said, “I hope you don’t mind. I’m going to ask them if I can take pictures of their place and write about them on my blog.” He just nodded his head in agreement. I could tell from the look on his face he was pleasantly surprised. I just started praying for an opportunity to work with these people. Over the course of the day, I took over 200 pictures.
The Thomas’ store is bursting with creativity and inspiration. They have a unique style all their own. The staff is fantastic, and you’ll never have another shopping experience like it. The marketing genius of the Thomas’ is clear throughout the store. It’s brilliant. You could go to the store a million times and always find something new! There is a constant flow of items going in and out of the store.
From the outside, the store is unassuming, but nothing prepares you for what you see when you walk through that door. The first thing you see is the shop where they build their tables made from old boxcar floors, houses, and barns from around the country. The tables are massive and so durable not even my 6 kids could hurt them. (I think the dents would just give their signature Farmhouse tables more “character”). Every design is unique and they change something each time they make a new table.
Urban Farmhouse has become a destination spot. It’s on the way to Waco Texas and The Silos. I have nothing against Joanna Gaines. Who doesn’t love Fixer Upper? But I’m having a hard time believing anyone can top Urban Farmhouse or the people in it. There is nobody else like them in the world. I’m going to predict the future; they will be the next big thing. HGTV… they are coming for you!
Along with their 3 adorable bulldogs… named after power tools, Dremel, DeWalt, and Jigsaw!
Sometimes, when you meet certain people, there is an instant connection. Kindred spirits. When I spoke to Cherami the first time, it was like we’d been friends our whole life. We took turns sharing our stories and we were both amazed at how our lives were similar in so many ways. She was incredibly supportive and hooked me up with their marketing manager, Tiffany. She is the most patient woman I have ever known.
Stopping at that store was a blessing in many ways.While I was visiting Urban Farmhouse, I talked to every single person in the store. (Some of them, I spoke to twice. Laughs). Unbeknownst to me, one of them was the owner. I was talking to the manager upstairs, Tina, and he walked up to us, smiling. She said: “Have you met the owner, Jason?” Oh, no! Yes, I had. I talked his ear off for 20 minutes downstairs.
I guess I must not have embarrassed myself too much. Well, I probably did, because I have an incurable case of Dentopeditis!!! In case you’ve never heard of it, it’s when you put your foot in your mouth all the time. My father coined the term for me. Thankfully, my bollixed conversational exchange with Jason didn’t thwart his generosity. I don’t think anything could. Despite their success, the Thomas’ have remained humble and never miss an opportunity to say an encouraging word or lend a hand. I started bumbling through my best pitch. I’m sure it sounded like, “Junk…My Mom…hoarding…please work with me!!!”
The paint made me do it!!! Therefore, I cannot be held responsible for my actions. I started gushing and told them how much I loved chalk paint. It is more of an obsession. Aren’t there are worse things I could be addicted to than painted furniture and Junkin? It’s the plain truth. Jason started grabbing some paint off the shelf and handing it to me. $500.00 worth of it. Wait? What just happened? Did I just get a sponsor?!? Be still my beating heart. What in the world would possess a total stranger to do that? That’s everyday life for Jason and Cherami. Boy, have I ever put that paint to good use.
Reclaimed Furniture made by Reclaimed People
Jason and Cherami are all about giving second chances. They even hire former inmates, to give them a second chance on life. Urban Farmhouse also holds charity events twice a month, to give back. It’s hard to imagine but the concept for Urban Farmhouse Designs started a mere five years ago, after a setback. Their tagline is Reclaimed Furniture made by Reclaimed People. Jason was the largest builder in NW Arkansas. They had an extremely comfortable life but sometimes God has something better planned. This is where the Thomas’ faith picks up where most of us leave off.
That is why their story is so compelling. During the housing crash, in 2008, they lost everything. They came back to Oklahoma to start over, with four young children in tow. At one point, Jason was taking public transportation to and from work. He asked God for help and it came from an unlikely place; a friend gave them a pile of reclaimed lumber. They started out humbly making tables in their garage. He sold part of it on Craigslist and made a hefty profit. They had a small pile of wood left and Cherami came up with a design for a Farmhouse style table. Jason built it and they posted it online, where it preceded to sell in less than two hours!!! The next one sold within an hour.
The rest is history. The concept for Urban Farmhouse designs was born that day. They are now selling from a 60,000-foot warehouse in OKC. Since the day I first walked in, I’ve made myself an unofficial employee. They are expanding now to Dallas!!! They handed me an opportunity in the form of a “20-year anniversary gift.” It was bags full of a Line of Chalk Paint called Little Billy Goat. The stuff is amazing. The owner of that brand, Allison Pruitt, and I get along great too. She’s such a joy, and we also share something in common; we both have daughters on the Autism Spectrum. In case you didn’t know, that is rare.
The ripple effect of the Thomas’ generosity, I can’t even begin to explain. A couple of months ago, I was considering closing down. Now, I’m so busy with projects for My Mom’s Junk that I can’t keep up. I’ve branched out and I’m doing custom furniture painting and selling online. I am so thankful for the opportunity they gave me. Without Urban Farmhouse designs and their staff’s support and friendship, I would not have been able to become a viable business. I love my job!
Getting back to their roots, Urban Farmhouse is now offering their reclaimed lumber to the public. You can use their wood for your DIY projects! Are you having a difficult time coming up with ideas? This blogger has plenty to keep you busy. They are expanding to Dallas by the Farmers Market and looking at Roundtop, TX. It’s like Mecca for Junkers during Antiques Week and who wouldn’t want neighbors like Junk Gypsies and Rachel Ashwell? I think that sounds right up their alley.