3 Lessons I Learned From Chip + Joanna Gaines About Business


In April of 2013, America fell in love with Texas Sweethearts Chip and Joanna Gaines when their hit show "Fixer Upper" aired on HGTV. In less than 6 years, the duo gained national fame, from a combination of Chip’s wit, Joanna’s eye for design, and their undeniable love for each other and their work. In the episode above, I'm breaking down the Fixer Upper timeline to give you 3 amazing lessons I learned from Chip and Jo about business!

Lesson 1: You Can Be Multi-Faceted… If you do it right.

If you listened to episode 36 of Coffee with Kristi, I revealed my biggest insecurity: being too multi-faceted, confusing my audience, and ultimately hurting my own brand by not niching down.

I want everyone to hear me when I say this: 6 years ago when Fixer Upper premiered, Joanna Gaines was a typical American mom with an eye for interior design. Today, she sells SKINCARE. BABY CLOTHES. STATIONARY. She has a BED AND BREAKFAST. A RESTAURANT. A MARKET. What the hell, right? It doesn’t even make sense… but yet it doesn’t bother anyone.

In a couple of years, I’d bet my money that Joanna will continue to expand her brand well beyond interior design without batting an eye. Why?

>>Because she didn’t brand herself as an interior designer… She branded herself as a homemaker.<<

Joanna Gaines can do whatever she wants--sell paint, notebooks, recipes, and wreaths all on the same website--because she is a HOMEMAKER. And she did it so well, that women all over America will buy it all.

For me, this point is SO powerful, because it teaches that although you should “niche down” and define your brand, if you’re multi-passionate, your niche can be super broad and encompass ALL of your interests.

That is the ONLY reason Joanna Gaines has the ability to do what she does.

Lesson 2: Chip and Jo took 5 minutes of fame and turned it into 50 years.

Friends, so. many. people. will get television shows and everyone forgets about the cast after it ends. They have 5 seconds of fame… No more, no less. And even if the show was a big hit, they’re hardly even recognized on the street a year later.

But Chip and Joanna Gaines? Fixer Upper has been off the air for a year now, and they are JUST as popular now as they were when the show was on!

The Gaines family were given an opportunity, and instead of taking the show, entertaining Americans with their wit and design, and disappearing after it’s over, they knew how MILK. IT. They strategically transformed an average design show into a multi-million dollar business.

That decision has turned into a legacy, something that will pay for their children and grandchildren’s college, a brand that will live on for YEARS.

What can we learn? Well, if you’re featured in ANY publication or have any opportunity, take Chip and Jo’s lead and see how long you can make it last. Try not to get caught up in the middle of it because it won’t last forever--focus on how you can make that fame sustainable long after it’s over.

Lesson 3: They know when something has run its course.

When Chip and Joanna cancelled Fixer Upper, it was one of the most watched shows on television. According to tvbythenumbers.com, the last episode of Fixer Upper had over 4.8 MILLION views that week, so I guess you could say they went out with a bang!

But I think there is something to be learned from this. Although in Titanic they emphasize the captain going down with his ship, I think there’s something to be said for quitting while you’re ahead to sustain your brand.

Chip and Joanna knew that although they could have done another season--maybe 2--of Fixer Upper, there’s probably only so much shiplap and antique doors Americans can take before they get sick of the show.

At this point, the Gaines brand and Joanna’s design style was literally sweeping the nation and they knew they had a sustainable business without the show. Again, they took their 5 seconds of fame, and they knew they had turned it into a whole lot more.

So friends, those honestly are the lessons that I think us young entrepreneurs can learn from America’s sweethearts! They are smart business people with a lot of foresight to understand the kind of business they could build. Remember: niche wide, not down. If a light is shining on you, be sure to make that light as bright as you can for as long as you can keep it lit. And finally, be aware when a product, service, or in this case a series, is about to run its course and quit while you’re on top.

Thanks for reading and if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to Coffee with Kristi on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher to hear more entrepreneurial content for 20somethings like you!