We drove right out to Valley Mills Texas, North of Waco, as soon as we landed in Austin. Such wide open spaces as we drove along. Oh, the bluebonnets were in full bloom. Since we had never seen them before, they were such a gorgeous sight to take in for the first time! So many unexpected discoveries on every trip we take! I had an interview appointment set up with Jimmy Don when we arrived. Jimmy Don was so down to earth and eager to share the story of his humble beginnings. He has worked very hard to get where he is today. Jimmy Don beginning began with building farm fences. There are about 70 miles of fences in the Crawford Texas area that were constructed by him over a 5 year period.
Hello Jimmy Don! What a pleasure to be able to meet Jimmy Don, his assistant Frank, his manager Megan, his son Jake and his wife Lori. They were all so very nice and accommodating as I was able to sit right down with Jimmy Don and chat about his business and the show Fixer Upper. Chip & Joanna’s names were also mentioned! It was fun to get the inside scoop on everything straight from Jimmy Don.
Jimmy Don was just the sweetest guy with a big ole’ heart. He LOVES to interact with people and does just that with so many folks that come into his store. He walks right up “Hi I’m Jimmy Don!” So accessible to so many people who want to purchase a part of JDH Iron Designs. The highlight of his job he says is enjoying the people. 18 years ago, he began working with his Dad, who recently passed away very suddenly. His Dad owned one metal cutting machine. He partnered with his Dad in the metal design business. They were both self taught and just kept learning by doing. They didn’t use any books to learn how to draw out the designs. It was all trial and error. Now Jimmy Don has 7 cutting machines, 12 metal workers and a total of 32 employees.
One night friends of Jimmy Don were having dinner with Chip & Joanna (no last name is even needed!). The discussion came up that they were in need of some metal designs. Jimmy Don’s friends showed Chip & Joanna some photographs of the metal work that Jimmy Don had done in the past. Joanna called Jimmy Don the very next morning and asked him to do a first order of 35 pieces of “today is a good day for a good day”. He took a deep breath away from the phone, paused for a minute and said “Yeah, Jo I would love to do that.” Well, that was October 2013. And look how everything has taken off from that first day!
Joanna’s favorite finishes were the Matte Clear, Flat Black and White. Jimmy Don told me “If Joanna installed a ‘Yield’ sign in a kitchen, everyone would want the same thing in their own home.” She is such a trend setter!
Jimmy Don said he is so thankful for what God has done in his life. He said that if God had allowed all of this success earlier in his life he would not have handled it well. “God’s timing is everything” ~ Jimmy Don. He also said he “wanted a difference making job”. One of the stories he told was of a customer struggling with cancer. She told Jimmy Don that his original sign design with Magnolia “today is a good day for a good day” is hanging under her light switch in her bedroom so she can look at first thing each morning for encouragement and motivation.
A little tidbit about the final episode that aired Tuesday, April 3, 2018-It is titled ‘Rock Star Renovation’; Jimmy Don was asked to design a piece that was 6 1/2′ tall by 4 1/2 ‘ wide. It weighed 275 pounds! It was so large that it wouldn’t fit in his pickup truck for delivery. So he had to strap it down on top of the bed of his truck in order to deliver! This beautiful sign was one of the last items to be brought into the house and Jimmy Don was told to be extremely careful when bringing it into the house, to make sure nothing got rubbed up against, scratched or broken. The pressure was on! After it was installed on the wall, the producer came up to Joanna and Jimmy Don and said “Joanna, I am so sorry” Yikes, I was thinking the worst! “But we forgot to begin filming when it was being brought in. We need to take it back out and film it being brought back in.” So that huge 275 pound sign had to be carefully taken back out and back in again! The joys of television.
This bluebonnet photo was taken when the skies were sunny and calm on our drive back to Waco. On our way to visit Jimmy Don, it was getting very dark, emergency thunderstorm notifications were coming on the radio, very close lightening and then black skies, rain and walnut sized hail. Welcome to Texas!!
The 2nd Annual Jimmy Don Jubilee will be held on April 14, 2018, at the Valley Mills JDH Iron Designs shop. Just a fun family day of hay rides, games, BBQ, music, food and fun! Wish I could go back to enjoy that!
Thanks Jimmy Don for a fun sit-down full of stories! Lisa and I enjoyed our time with you and we can’t wait to come into town again soon! If you and Lori want to get away to Atlanta and see the sights, I’ll be your tour guide and I’ll cook y’all dinner!
Until next time Jimmy Don,