I'd be lying if I told you I had this junking business all figured out. Everything kinda just fell together. As I noted earlier, people told people, who told more people, who told even more people, about this little junk sale in a warehouse in Long Lake, Minnesota.
My friend Dawn, knew somebody at the local NBC affiliate in Minneapolis and made a phone call. She convinced them to invite me to appear on their morning show. When I heard the news I thought I would die! I had never felt comfortable speaking in public, I was mortified by the thought of giving a toast at a wedding let alone making a fool of myself on TV. My kids who had been involved in acting most of their lives were my cheerleaders and explained to me audiences like to see folks screw up in front of the camera. Their reassuring comments didn't help! I don't remember much of my live TV debut except I thought I would either throw up or pass out before, during, and after. It was all a blur. Once Sue joined me in the business, TV got a little easier...I figured the audience only watched me 1/2 of the time.
I can report I don't get the least bit nervous on camera or stage any more. Why? Everything that can go wrong, has. I've embarrassed myself many times over on TV and at numerous speaking engagements. One of my most humiliating moments happened on KTLA in Los Angeles. On a live remote segment, the remote box, hidden in my waistband, slid down into the crotch of my pants and the camera man continued to film as I desperately dug it out, contorting my face all the while. (I didn't realize he was shooting my distressed reaction until I played back the tape a few months later.) Pretty awful.
I know you're thinking we had these big plans to become editors. Not quite. My dear friend Jane Hall who helped out at the JunkMarket from day one wrote a letter to Country Home Magazine about this wonderful little junk sale she worked at. Guess what? They responded by sending an editor to take photos of the whole gang. (My, we've changed.) The photo is packed away but I will share it with you someday. It was a fun day and we eventually convinced the folks at CH to consider us as their new junk experts and columnists. Back in those days JUNK was a four letter word. A brave Country Home stepped out on a limb and embraced decorating with junk!
Our friends were troopers and permitted us to decorate and shoot every inch of their homes.
Country Home invited JunkMarket to set up a mini sale in NYC's Central Park. My husband and our friend and welder, Doug, drove truck and trailer through Times Square with Minnesota license plates and a load of good old Midwestern junk!
Don't know that I'll ever get used to a camera following me around at a flea. It kinda hampers that whole blend in so you can negotiate better philosophy.
What made JunkMarket sales extraordinary was the variety and sheer quantity of junk. We traveled to obscure junk hot spots to uncover and bring home our inventory.
We visited A-Z Used Restaurant Supply on a regular basis. (Why would anyone purchase new dishes is beyond me.)
We shopped dark, scary, but wonderful buildings filled with private collections.
We made a point to check out The Reuse Center since new (old) stuff arrived daily and we didn't want to miss anything!
My favorite junk haunts were the messy ones. Digging for junk is exhilarating!
Yes, I did say quantity! Tom showed up several times a month with a load.
Cammie and family brought us several trailers full each sale. JunkMarket counted on our vendors to bring us amazing junk. And they did!
The word was getting out! Scripps productions called out of the blue one day and asked if we would be interested in appearing on HGTV's Country Style. Why not?!?! Taping was a breeze...if you screw up you get to do it over, unlike live TV.
We made it to the big time when we were invited on the Today show. We almost made it on Oprah twice...The producer called and arranged for us to take Oprah junking. It fell through just days before it was supposed to tape. My goal is to take Ellen junking at the Rose Bowl Flea Market and I suppose if Oprah wants to come too, I'll let her.
JunkMarket seemed to have a mind of it's own! Determined not to pass on opportunity we made the decision to cut back the number of sales and go for it! Sue and I authored Decorating JunkMarket Style, Junk Beautiful, and JunkMarket Style Magazine. By now I was an old pro at public speaking because I realized my kids were right. Audiences are kind and it is ok to screw up.
The Junk Bonanza was born! We invite our favorite vendors to join us once a year for the best junk round-up in the Midwest.
Summer of 2007 we started the American Junk Club.
Wow! Who would have thought? Had you asked me more than eight years ago if I thought I'd be riding in the backseat of a limo on the way to the Today Show holding a piece of junk...I bet you know what I would have replied. "You got to be kidding!"
It has been an incredible journey. As many already know, I have sold my interest in JunkMarket to Taunton Publishing. I have started a new company, Junk Revolution, and will continue to produce the Junk Bonanza! I credit my success to all the people that shared their talents, energy and enthusiasm for junk. Thank you.