Taking junk to the limit

Spinnaker

One stay-at-home mom out of Minnesota is making a living out of heaps of junk – yes, that stuff in flea market crates or boxed in your attic. Sue Whitney turned her hobby into a budding retail business and created JUNKMARKET to sell her creations. She has published two books – “Junk Beautiful” and “Decorating JUNKMARKET Style” – and has a third book coming out March 31, focused on outdoor décor. She has also been featured in several media outlets such as magazines and radio stations and has made many television appearances, with hopes to soon have her own show. Her Web site, junkmarketstyle.com, is filled with project ideas, blog posts, and a ‘junk locator.’

Whitney will be appearing at the Jacksonville Spring Home and Patio Show Feb. 26-March 1 at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. The Spinnaker spoke with Whitney about her flourishing love of junk and her future plans to spread it.

How would you describe your style?

There’s three main styles: country, cottage and shabby-chic. You would think if you’re [in your 20’s], you aren’t interested, so I wrote the books to teach people all the types of styles. There’s huge trends in college: it’s all about style. If you’re in the dorms or off-campus and you don’t have a lot of money, but you still want to be cool, you can go to flea markets. Now you can design [things] to make them different and keep it easy on your pocketbook.

How do you think you’ve impacted people with this?

I have a huge Web site. There’s thousands [of people] getting DVD’s, and I really want to get my own show and continue to grow and share this. You can do this and run a fundraiser. Junking is off the beaten path, and when people go, it’s a happy outing. These are easy things you can make. You can actually do them and they’re not time consuming. This is an area no one has tackled, and there’s a void in the marketplace; now it’s become a business.

What will you be doing at the show in Jacksonville this weekend?

I’ll have props with me, pieces of junk, and accessories to show. I’ll have the books there and talk about them and give flea market tips; it will be very hands-on. I do this all over the country and junk along to
different places to show you can still find these [junk items] all over.

How can college students, specifically, benefit from junking?

Think of it as a marketplace, and be conscious about the environment. You do it to be good to the environment and have sustainable living. [The projects] are “easy green.” Your generation knows more about the eco-footprint and this is a great way to make a statement.

Compiled by Sarah Gojekian.