AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

Artisan Spotlight - Jimmy Don

January 30, 2017

I met Jimmy Don when I wanted to have a few things custom made for our house and for my clients. The first time I went into his metal shop, I loved the way it felt like a small town family business. Jimmy Don is so personable, and within five minutes of meeting him, he felt like someone I’d known for years. Back then the shop was a little smaller—with only one metal cutter—but I love that no matter how much his shop has grown, his family is still most important to him.

How has your business grown over the past few years?

I’ve always been a big ole ham, but this whole experience has really humbled me down. I’m humbled by the amount of great people that I’ve met, whether they’re customers or even the Magnolia staff. I don’t know how Magnolia has hired that many good folks, but they have, and when you’re around good folks you try to become better yourself. This whole thing has been a big blessing and I just can’t believe it. There was a lady in the shop today all the way from Georgia who said, “It was an honor to meet you,” and I’m just Jimmy Don Holmes! I was out in the pasture this morning. I’ve got mud on my feet and I’m chewing on a cigar. I’m just me. 

Our guests love to meet you in person at the store. Tell us about “Meet-and-Greet Thursdays”. 

It’s the best. I deliver signs to the Market on Thursdays, and the first time I went in to deliver at the Silos, I didn’t have a JDH cap on or anything. People went nuts and kept asking to take a picture or would stop and say “Hey, that’s Jimmy Don.” So my wife, Lori, told me I should start dressing up when I go to the store, and I love it. I meet the customers and it just kind of turned into meet-and-greet Thursdays. I know they love it, but I’m gonna tell you I love it even more than they do.

What is your design process when crafting metal signs?

It depends. Joanna will tell me what she wants and I’ll do it, and then she will make some edits. In the past we’ve used a handwritten font. The signs that are handwritten, like the “Act Justly” sign we make for the Market, are the most rewarding because they’re so original. Joanna is always telling me “less is more.” I’ve learned from her that sometimes a plain Jane design works best.

What is your favorite part about being a small business owner?

I can do what I want to do. I love that our business is out in the country. Sure, we would get more traffic in downtown Waco, but I love the fact that I can be right where I grew up and go fill up the trough for my cattle right at the back of my shop. I’ve always worked lots of hours and had lots of drive and ambition — and I’m not trying to talk myself up, I’m just telling you how it is. Now I realize having help is pretty nice. This whole thing has been a big, beautiful whirlwind.

What advice would you give to other small businesses?

Find something you like to do and try to make a living doing it. You know the old saying, “You’ll never work a day in your life if you’re doing what you love?” I think that’s true. You just have to have a good product that’s good quality. I’ve made choices to throw things away that weren’t perfect. Maybe the customer wouldn’t have even noticed the details I notice, but my name was going on it, so it has to be perfect or I chunk it. When you’re going into business for yourself, it’s like it’s your baby. Just do the right thing. You gotta keep that attitude.

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  • Linda Shaffer
    1:02 pm, March 27, 2017
    Thank you both for uplifting words and actions. I rely on you both to give my day a boost watching your tv segment. Chip is hilarious !!! And you Joanna know how to roll with the punches and bring Chip back to the task at hand. I'm inspired by your interaction with each other and know you are a couple in love with the Lord and each other.
  • Leeann Jones
    2:12 pm, March 18, 2017
    Hello
    I purchased the large "grow old with me" sign for a wedding gift when visiting last April. The wedding wasn't till October. I stored the sign in the cardboard it came in and kept in the climate controlled bedroom closet. When I was getting ready to wrap I took it out to check all was still ok. Unfortunately it had rusted. I tried to clean it off then ruined the finish. I am not sure if it happened because it was stored in the cardboard or if there was some kind of protectant I should have used or if this is an inherent issue with the metal. I didn't gift the item. I have it stored still. Not sure if there is anything I can do to buff out the areas where rust was. I don't expect a refund. Just wanted to let you know to inform others who may purchase and if there is anything that I might do to correct the issue
  • Kim Peacy
    11:58 am, March 17, 2017
    Jimmy don do you make custom signs for people who live in other states and are unable to travel to Waco
    Kim Peacy
  • jacqueline howard
    7:09 pm, March 14, 2017
    I have so much to say. I have always loved your show; but the past weekend of March 4th when there was a marathon of your past shows on, I did not get anything done; I could not pull myself away - just episode to episode. I taped the "Harry" show, but have not looked at it yet. Wonderful when I saw you would be guests. Jo, the most I want to say is I enjoy so much the relationship between you and Chip. If you could see your face sometimes when he is being his "charming" self and you are just waiting for him to get to the end of whatever is going on. He is so comical and gives me a good laugh. Your children are great and glad you show them and their talents as well. Now, to talk about you, Jo, -- N-O-B-O-D-Y, but NOBODY, can decorate - stage, whatever the best word is - like you. I watch several of the shows that feature decorating, refurbishing, do-overs, etc., and I say it again N-O-B-O-D-Y can touch you. Your sense of elements and objects is just perfect. The added touches blow me away. Oh, Yeah, tell chip, I laughed pretty hard about his "bathroom joke" - Russian in to European. I can't for the life of me remember the other country "while in there"; but you know. LOL. I am happy this comment space allowed me to say all I have wanted to. Love you much. God continue to bless you and yours.
    jaki howard.
  • Jan
    9:35 pm, March 12, 2017
    Does Jimmy Don does requests?
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