A Band of Gypsies

Overton natives Amie and Jolie Sikes are showcasing their homespun sense of style nationwide from deep in the heart of Texas. Like a wild Texas wind, the two sisters have been taken for a ride that has landed them with a television show on HGTV and a devoted fan base.

The duo are known together as the “Junk Gypsies” and they have quickly gained a loyal following among the social media savvy for their rebellious spirit and outside-the-box design philosophy — finding “junk” and using it to add flavor to homes. But don’t call them “antiquers” or “rummage pickers.” With a celebrity clientele spanning from Nashville to Hollywood, HGTV prefers to call them “treasure hunters who find beauty and value in items that would otherwise end up in the trash.”

“Junk Gypsies” is set to premiere 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27 on HGTV, and the network has already ordered a 13-episode run. Kathleen Finch, senior vice president for the network, told Variety magazine that the distinct character of the sisters makes the difference in the show.

“Characters are what really build a brand like ours,” she said. “That we have a face to put on the ‘Today’ show and a face to put on the cover of a magazine.”

Finch added that it was the company’s vast and passionate fan base that first brought their attention to the Junk Gypsies.

“Very often consumers hear about experts in our category online before they do on television,” she said. “So we’re always carefully monitoring online talent.”

Excited about the opportunity, the family was hesitant to “sell their souls” for a little extra media exposure.

“There’ve been opportunities before, but we just didn’t feel like it was the right vibe,” Jolie said. “Sometimes I think maybe they were looking for something with more drama, and that’s just not what we do.”

Amie and Jolie felt that, if they were going to take things to the next level, they would do so on their terms.

“One network actually came out and said they wanted us to fight more and haggle over prices,” Jolie said. “We decided, with our producer, that we were at the wrong place.”

So when HGTV came calling, the family was guarded but open to the possibilities.

“HGTV wants us to be who we are,” Jolie said. “Which is a great fit for us and what we’re all about.”

The sisters’ count country music stars and Hollywood actors among their clientele, including fellow East Texan and kindred spirit Miranda Lambert, but “Junk Gypsy” is more than a brand name, it’s a way of life for the family. Whimsical and colorful, raucous and rowdy, these designer/decorators are definitely not antiquers or pickers. The Sikes girls came by their independent streak honestly.

Family patriarch Philip and his bride Janie got the ball rolling, raising the girls with a love of small town life and flea market weekends.

“It all began in all those antique shops and flea markets throughout East Texas,” Jolie said. “That, and walking the grounds at the Canton Trades Days […] when we were kids our mom would give us $5 and we could spend it on whatever we wanted to out there on the grounds.”

While the focus of the show will be the sisters and their adventures, their mother Janie is definitely the pioneering spirit behind Junk Gypsy.

“They both are such an influence on what we’re doing now,” Jolie said. “Looking back, it just makes sense that this is where we’d be.”

Philip and Janie established A.J.’s Place in Overton, a pizza parlor that still shows the influence of the Sikes’ eclectic style.

“The whole style in there comes from the same place,” Jolie said. “The love of finding something unique, that might be cast-off, and finding a place where it just fits perfectly.”

But it took a little prompting to get these gypsies to follow the road less traveled. After trying their hands in business and academia, the two girls found themselves looking for something a bit closer to home. Stuck with the choice of law school and the corporate sphere, Amie chose “none of the above.”

“Amie came home and she and mom started designing pillows and selling them in Canton,” Jolie said. “But that soon led to dealing in ‘junk’ and then designing apparel.”

Jolie, meanwhile, was on pace to become a veterinarian when she heard the call as well.

“I came on board a couple years later,” she said. “So we just decided to go into it head first.”

From that point on the Junk Gypsy phenomenon started to take on a life of its own.

“It just grew and grew,” Jolie said with a laugh. “At that point we realized we were just on for the ride.”

While the Sikes family now calls the “antiquer’s mecca” of Round Top home, their hearts still remain behind the pine curtain of deep East Texas.

“Overton made us who we are,” Jolie said. “While we don’t live there any more we’re so proud of our Rusk County roots.”

With their heads in the clouds and their feet planted firmly in the ground, the Sikes remain open to what dreams may come.

“We set out to find a great business, but we found a great life,” Amie added.

For more information about Junk Gypsy check out their blog or their official website.

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