Book Review: The Magnolia Story

By: Chip and Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino
Published: 2016 by W Publishing

Most people know Chip and Joanna Gaines as the stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. While the show is set to end in 2018, for the past several years viewers have gotten to live alongside the Gaines while they built a business empire in the small Texas town of Waco. Working together as a husband and wife team, they started several successful businesses including Magnolia Realty, Magnolia Market, Magnolia Homes, Magnolia Silos and the upcoming Magnolia Table.

The book describes the non-linear path both Gaines took to achieve success in the home industry. Both graduates of Baylor University, Chip holds a degree in Marketing, while Joanna earned hers in Communications. While Chip dove into work as a flipper of small homes in Waco upon graduation, Joanna headed to New York City to work as a journalist. However, she soon fell in love with home design, which led her back to Waco. She met Chip while working in her father’s tire shop and the two were married a couple of years later.

While viewers of Fixer Upper are treated to what seems to be a flawless lifestyle, the Gaines describe many struggles as they established themselves as entrepreneurs. In addition to being newlyweds and new parents, they at times struggled to find direction for their businesses. There were times when money was especially tight as they tried to flip homes while still paying bills and it wasn’t until recently that they reached a more financially stable place. However, both attributed hard work, perseverance, flexibility and teamwork as the glue that held them together while making their dreams a reality. They experienced setbacks, such as when Joanna decided to close her original Magnolia Market shop to focus on family and their Magnolia Homes business or when homes didn’t sell as quickly as they hoped, forcing them to make tough financial decisions.

This story is compelling for several reasons; it demonstrates that your journey to a career can be meandering, and have some false starts and stops. Chip and Joanna both struggled with who they thought they should be and where their passions and talents were ultimately leading them. However, they have worked diligently to achieve recognition in their industry and have a strong focus on giving back to their community. Their wholesome and humble approach to their success is refreshing, and makes what they have accomplished feel attainable for others.