WAXAHACHIE — Reflecting the character of a town through discarded possessions of refurbished knickknacks and oddments, local flea markets and pop-up shop hybrids are becoming a permanent trend. By capitalizing on unique items and intriguing social interactions, the swanky storefront-less shops are quickly growing through a partnership of online blogging and social media.

“For me, it grew super organically, and I kind of got to the point where I was surprised, because this is super new for me, and I’m just setting my foot in the door of that world,” expressed Fawn Rumfield, owner of Rumfield Homestead. Her idea, once just a home decor and “do it yourself” blog, is now project-based pop-up shop. “I’ve been able to connect with a few different brands throughout this blogging adventure, and that has been something that’s been weird for me. It was surprising to me when a few different brands reached out to me and were like, ‘We want to work with you."

According to Millennial Marketing, the millennial DIY culture desires active participation, individual customization, and experiential value. Research shows that 4 in 10 millennials are interested in co-creating products with companies, but the most exciting part is that it is turning into more than just “arts and crafts.”

Millennials are now running some of the most prosperous startup companies – because they wanted to develop their ideas, brands, and positions. If a millennial does not see what they want or cannot find it, they will do it themselves.

Digiday adds to this, affirming that pop-ups are a direct response to the growing phenomenon of “frontierless retail,” where digital and physical realms are merging. That means that retailers are grappling with more people turning to online shopping — 87 percent of U.S. millennials regularly buy things online — but also need to fill the physical gap since those same millennials say they want to have more “experiences.”

With more than 600 consistent users, over 1,000 monthly views, and 2,413 followers on Instagram, Rumfield has gone from hobbyist to skillful DIY icon within two years. Although her reach of influence continues to spread, her humble beginnings would suggest otherwise. Just a few short years ago, Rumfield and her husband, Ethan, married in 2014.

“For the first time I had a house to put together, and I had no idea what I was doing, and we didn’t have any money. So I’m trying to make this house all pretty and put it together, and it was just a disaster,” Rumfield chuckled. “Then I was like, ‘Well, let’s just see if I can make some stuff, so it’ll look better, and we’re not spending so much money.’ So I went to the thrift store and bought tons of stuff that was super ugly and started painting literally everything.”

Week after week, Rumfield went through a trial and error season, cultivating her crafting skills. As her home came together in a chic, vintage ensemble, Rumfield’s low-budget inventions caught her friends’ attention, later encouraging her to share in a blogging format.

“A couple of friends told me, ‘You should try this.’ And I had always read decorating blogs, and I was like, ‘Okay, maybe.’ Then I started Rumfield Homestead to talk about DIY projects, how to budget, how I decorate inexpensively, tips for how to do it on the cheap and it’s gone from there,” she explained.

Coming to the point of filling up her house with 90 percent of self-made projects and redecorated novelties, Rumfield decided to start selling her projects in a pop-up shop fashion.

“Eventually I got to a point where I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve done a lot of things in the house, and I feel good about how it looks.’ You can’t look at my house and say, ‘Oh, that’s from Target or Hobby Lobby.’ It’s all stuff that I painted or made myself, either from flea markets or thrift stores,” Rumfield began, explaining her newfound obsession.

“About a year ago, I just kept bringing furniture home from a thrift store, because I was just like, ‘It’s five dollars,’ and I couldn’t turn it down. At the same time, we didn’t have enough room in our house for it, so I decided to start selling some of this stuff at vintage markets,” she added.

Selling antique pieces and modernized furniture, Rumfield began to combine her online appearance and networking talents with the contemporary milieu of modish flea markets.

“There’s one market that’s my favorite, and it’s called 'Vintage Market Days,' and they have a market in Waxahachie every year. I have done a couple of different locations with them, with my own booth and its really cool,” Rumfield recalled her first few shows. “It’s not your run-of-the-mill garage sale. Everything is very curated and upscale. It’s cool to be a part of because it’s super inspiring to look around other people’s booths and see what other people are doing. And spend your money on other people’s things when you’re trying to sell your own things."

Exploding with popularity, the Vintage Market Days is a vintage-inspired market featuring everything from original and handmade art to antiques, clothing, edible treats and seasonal plantings. The traveling franchise offers an opportunity for both storefront owners and pop-up shop entrepreneurs to gather, collaborate, and shop.

Setting up in their Texas locations, the Rumfield Homestead has gained even more traction in the millennial forefront.

“I have really been able to meet a lot of people I would have not otherwise been able to, especially in Waxahachie. To connect with some of the different stores downtown that also have booths at these different locations, it’s been cool to see what they’re doing there. I can also hop into their store on a regular basis and see what they’re doing when they go to these different events,” Rumfield expounded the benefits of connecting with her community.

Further cracking the door of opportunity, Rumfield is thriving in the millennial frontier of taking "Generation Y" and converting it into "Generation DIY."

“I started sharing pictures of my house, which I still do, but at the time I was able to introduce like, ‘Hey, this is what I’m doing,’ it was really cool. The coolest part is the people I’m connected with through Instagram or through the blog. And through the vintage markets, it was cool to meet people in person that I had only known through Instagram,” Rumfield acknowledged.

Partnering with larger companies that took notice of her Instagram and blogs, Rumfield has worked with Hay Needle, Eshkati, Jord Wood Watches, and many apparel companies.

“They would reach out to me and say, ‘Hey, we’re looking for a blogger to do this and then we’ll send you this product and this amount,’ and in return you’d review a product, and blog or post it on Instagram,” Rumfield described, going back to her first offer encounter. “My first reaction was staring at the email for a solid day before I knew how to respond. I was in shock more than anything. I was like, ‘This whole thing for me has been my hobby, and now someone actually wants to work with me?’ I would forward the emails to my husband and be like, ‘So this happened, and I don’t even know what to do.’ And he wouldn’t know how to respond either, and he’d say, ‘Just respond, tell them something!’”

“It’s been cool because they’ve sent me products and I’ve only had good experiences,” she added.

First grade Life School teacher by day, and influential blogger extraordinaire by the weekend, Rumfield continues to harness the power of her blog and pop-up shop.

As for her future endeavors, Rumfield is confidently expecting more from her creative outlet as it forms organically.

“This is something that has been slowly growing. I teach first grade, and that’s where I’m totally supposed to be right now, but in the future, I think this could be something I could do full-time from home,” she expressed. “It’s something I could continue to grow and get into helping people with their homes, either with home design consultation, or an e-design, or have e-clients. It’s something I’m passionate about. I designed my house completely on my own with a low budget, and I’d like to help other people do the same in their home. It’s slow growing, but a fast ride!”

To connect with the Rumfield Homestead, visit rumfieldhomestead.com or email rumfieldhomestead@gmail.com.


Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer