The Chip and Joanna Gaines Success Story

Using the right platforms to scale a decor and design business into an empire.

Long before Chip and Joanna Gaines became the celebrity home renovation couple we know today, they were just two small town entrepreneurs trying to grow a business from the ground up. They didn't have fame, fortune, or much direction - just passion, grit, and a dream to share their unique aesthetic with the world.

In 2003, Joanna took the first step by opening a small retail store called Magnolia in Waco, Texas. It was here she sold her collection of vintage finds and florals, tapping into her natural talent for interior design. However, Joanna quickly realized that to truly grow, she needed to expand beyond just brick-and-mortar.

Taking the Leap into Ecommerce

In 2015, Joanna took a huge leap by launching Magnolia online. She knew that to achieve her goals of reaching more people, ecommerce was essential. So was born, built on the popular Shopify platform. This allowed customers worldwide to now experience Joanna's cozy, charming style in their own homes by purchasing homewares, furniture, and more.

According to Joanna, "The online shop lets anyone feel like they are part of the experience we've created in Waco." She was determined to recreate that welcoming small town vibe digitally. And her gamble paid off - in 2021 alone, Magnolia's online sales grew over 45% year-over-year.

Another digital strategy that fueled Magnolia's growth? Social media. Back in 2011, while Magnolia Market was still just a tiny store in Waco, Joanna created her personal Instagram account. She used the platform authentically, giving followers a peek into her life as a small town entrepreneur, mother, and wife.

People loved how open Joanna was about the realities of juggling it all. They saw themselves in her, despite her eventual fame. By being relatable and vulnerable, Joanna built a loyal community that felt vested in her success. As one fan puts it, "She's just so genuine. I want to support what she puts out there."

Magnolia now has over 3.2 million Instagram followers and counting. Joanna's become a case study for how small businesses can harness social media's power by simply being real.

Taking Things to the Next Level with HGTV

While Magnolia had achieved impressive digital growth, everything changed in 2013 when Chip and Joanna landed their own show on HGTV called Fixer Upper. Their on-screen charisma and natural chemistry led the show to become the network's highest rated series!

Fixer Upper introduced Magnolia to a whole new audience, and cemented Chip and Joanna as America's favorite home reno couple. Their small town business was suddenly catapulted to global fame. And they leveraged that spotlight beautifully by directing it back to their roots.

The couple invested heavily in expanding Magnolia Market in Waco into an immersive retail, bakery, gardening and design experience. The compound became a tourist destination, with the Magnolia app helping visitors navigate. Lines now form daily outside the original Magnolia store that started it all.

Becoming an Aspirational Yet Accessible Brand

Despite their immense success, Chip and Joanna have never lost touch with their small town vibe. "We still consider ourselves to be authentically Texan," says Joanna. Their brands feel attainable, even as their empire expands to over 10 Magnolia stores nationwide.

Magnolia Network launched in 2022 as a streaming and cable channel, expanding their media imprint. And they're now valued together at over $50 million.

Yet when asked about their keys to success, the couple talks about staying grounded, trusting instincts, and focusing on family first. Their strength lies in presenting an authentic small town feel, powered by smart digital strategy behind the scenes.

It just goes to show with the right digital tools, any business can scale up and compete - without losing what makes you unique. Chip and Joanna found fame in an unlikely place, but their approach is replicable for small town entrepreneurs everywhere. Because at the end of the day, business is always personal. Don't be afraid to share YOUR story.