Hitch The Wagon to a Star

Hey Friends of TGW! I am Megan Jennings, the new Website Gal and Blogger of The Gypsy Wagon. Big things are going down around The Gypsy Wagon: a new website, a store facelift in Dallas, a third location opening in  Austin, a new look to our logo, and several additions to the Wagoneer family.  Never a dull moment here at The Wagon!  I sat down with the dreamer behind the store, Carley Seale, and asked her about all the recent changes, and where the Wagon is headed next. Wherever it goes, I am glad to be along for the ride!

-Meg

Fearless leader, Carley with Austin Store Chief, Courtney tootin' around in Round Top, Texas.

Fearless leader, Carley with Austin Store Chief, Courtney tootin' around in Round Top, Texas.

MJ: Carley, the energy around The Gypsy Wagon is electric right now!  Please tell us what is going on!

CS: A new website has been a long time coming. Our Instagram followers have been asking for a way to purchase online quite a bit. We would have done it sooner, but the major obstacle was trying to manage the website from within the store. Johnny, my superstar hubs, suggested we move the website office offsite and give it the special attention it deserves.  We are starting the site with a sampling of TGW merchandise, let's call it the cream-of-the-crop. Essentially, customers will find our very favorite items online, plus be able to purchase what they saw on Instagram.  I think Johnny (and you, too, Megan!), have created a very cool online store for us. Thank you!

Another big happening is we have added two key peeps to our Wagoneer family. One of my big goals of owning a business is finding and keeping the best people to work here. We added two incredible talents to our Dallas staff: Ashley Maddox, our new Creative Director, and Linsdey Munchrath, our second Crowd Pleaser.  These gals, like all my staff, have all the right stuff. I feel so lucky.  (You can read about all the Wagoneers on the About Us page!)

The biggest and boldest venture we are in the midst of is opening a third location in Austin. We signed a lease this past summer for a space on South Congress, and the building is old, funky, and fab. We hired a dynomite Store Chief, Courtney Grand, and Maggie Ogden and Martha Boyd as the ATX Crowd Pleasers. The ATX Wagoneers are the bee's knees!  Austin folks, you're in good hands. We had our soft opening last weekend and are planning a Grand Opening the first week of November.  Mark your calendar, we're planning one heckuva party.

Brand new desertscape at TGW Dallas.

Brand new desertscape at TGW Dallas.

Because that wasn’t enough at once, we also decided to rebrand the store and remodel our store’s exterior.  The store has evolved over the years, and I wanted a fresh new look for us. Johnny and I are really drawn to cacti, and we wanted the store to be surrounded by them. Expect to see over the next few weeks: a big cactus garden, fresh coat of paint, new signage, and reclaimed metal awnings by our pals from Stash Designs. And don't fret, our original vintage gypsy painting of Gertie still hangs in the store where she belongs. We would never leave her behind! 

MJ: Another location in Austin!  Why did ATX seem like a good fit for The Gypsy Wagon for your next location?

CS: I have a rule, I will only open stores in places Johnny and I love to be in. We’ve long had a city crush on Austin, and it seems like a natural fit that the Wagon be in a city as quirky as we are. After college, Johnny and I visited ATX often going to concerts and weekend adventures.  The city has changed so much in the past 15 years, it’s blowing my mind.  But what has not changed is how happy everyone seems to be there. You can feel it just walking down the street. I want some of that!

MJ: What product are you most excited for your customers to find on the new website?

CS: There isn’t just one product I am excited about, I am excited about the entire site. Small boutiques struggle to incorporate a web store in their business because you can’t do it half-way, and all-the-way takes so many resources away from the brick and mortar store.  So, we had to wait for the right time and have the right team in place to try to pull it off. Honestly, we are doing it now because our customers have asked us for it, and we like to make them happy. They have been so patient!  Our website selection will be an edited selection of our merchandise, the stuff that helps define our store and The Gypsy Wagon style. We’ll start there and see what happens next!

MJ: You mentioned TGW in Dallas is getting a facelift.  What will it look/feel like?

Brian Steely's vision transformed into steel at TGW Dallas.

Brian Steely's vision transformed into steel at TGW Dallas.

CS: The major makeover is on our logo. Our first store opened in 2007 as primarily a gift store with a mix of antiques and home goods. The store has evolved so much since then, and the logo didn’t seem to jibe with our brand anymore. It’s like that moment when you are ready to upgrade to a new car. The old one still worked fine, but a new one would make life so much better. That’s what this new logo feels like to me: an upgrade. I found the graphic designer on Instagram, his name is Brian Steely.  He does these cool modern line drawings, and usually incorporates images I am drawn to like wolves, owls, moons, arrows, and other cool stuff. He did a killer job with our request. It's exactly what I wanted. Brian Steely is the bomb.

MJ: What were some unexpected blessings to come out of all of these changes?

CS: I could tell you about several a day: recently it was working with Molly and Sophie and the new Austin staff. The five of us never sat down for a millisecond. As I opened boxes and managed the massive amounts of trash, they entered, priced, and tagged the inventory. I looked at my phone and saw that the day was nearly over. It dawned on me that those girls hadn’t asked me a single question all day long, not because they didn’t want to talk to me, but because they didn’t have any questions. They didn’t even need me there! What an amazing feeling to know that your staff not only knows what they are doing, but can lead, decide, and accomplish major feats completely on their own. My staff knocks my socks off all the time, and that is an enormous blessing.  They rock around the clock. 

MJ: How are you feeling about the new direction of TGW right now?

CS: This may or may not surprise you, but I don’t have a specific plan for where I want this to end. As long as The Wagon remains a happy place for customers and my staff, I will keep on keeping on. The timing seemed right to launch a new website, so we made a move to do it. The Austin location presented itself, so we jumped on it. Planning for new location snowballed the redesign of our logo and branding. And those projects happening revealed that we were short handed, so we added Wagoneers to our work family. It’s like when you want to move your couch to a new spot in your living room...once you move one thing, you end up rearranging the whole house. It's good to shake things up every once in a while. 

Yes, it is a crazy time at The Wagon, but as we all know: dreams don't work unless you do. We have a TGW Code of Working, and the overlying motto is “Onward and Upward.” As our team gets bigger and contributes their individual gifts, the whole thing becomes stronger and better. It allows us to grow, to try new things, and to build on our dreams. It’s an absolute blast to watch happen. I feel so lucky to be a part of it. Let's hitch the Wagon to a star and see where it lead us. At least it will be fun along the way! 

Posted on October 7, 2014 .