Brooklyn Calloway at the world-breaking workshop she orchestrated


Faux Finisher Breaks World Record


by Tammy Adamson-McMullen

As was reported in our Focus on Faux e-newsletter last month, faux-finisher Brooklyn Calloway recently hit on the idea of trying to teach the largest furniture-refinishing workshop ever. Brooklyn is the owner of Brookielynn's Bungalow, which just moved from Celina to Denton, Texas, and offers faux-finishing and craft workshops to DIYers as well as a select inventory of related supplies.

To break the record, Brooklyn needed to top 250 students. As it turned out, she bested the record by more than 75 participants, who came from all over the United States to the Oct. 1 event, held in the Celina Downtown Square. For their efforts, students at the end of the workshop took home a beautifully painted and distressed chair, an 8-ounce container of Junk Gypsy™ paint, skills in furniture refinishing and the satisfaction of knowing they were part of Guinness history. (The cost of the event was $35, $15 if students provided their own chairs.)

A promotional balloon adds to the festive atmosphere.

Brooklyn, meanwhile, received a lot of media attention and, as a result, an uptick in business. She has appeared on Good Morning Texas and been featured in a variety of magazines, newspapers and radio programs.

“It’s been a crazy ride!” says Brooklyn, who has become something of a celebrity. On the day Brooklyn appeared on Good Morning Texas, for example, she returned to the store and was stocking shelves when a customer walked in and spotted her. “Oh my gosh! You were on TV today! I saw you!” the woman exclaimed, reporting that she had driven 45 minutes to see the store after watching the news. “I felt famous for about 12 seconds,” says Brooklyn, laughing. “It was awesome!”

Go Big or Go Home

The idea for the record-breaking faux-finishing workshop may sound a bit far-fetched but, as was noted in a Sept. 15 article in the Celina Record, ("DIY maven sets sights on Guinness World Record," by Liz McGathey), Brooklyn doesn’t do anything in a small way. Her motto has always been “Go Big or Go Home!” and she delights in concocting outside-the-box ideas to promote her business.

And to be fair, Brooklyn is comfortable with teaching. Brooklyn taught middle school for 11 years and was still teaching in the Frisco Independent School District when she began teaching faux finishing from her home. That was 2012. The next year, Brooklyn rented space inside three storefronts in area towns and resigned from her teaching job. Today, Brookielynn’s Bungalow is located in Historic Downtown Denton, where Brooklyn teaches 25 to 30 DIY workshops each year in addition to hosting private events, such as bridal parties, birthday parties, corporate team building and similar occasions. She also sells Junk Gypsy™ Paint, her Build a Bunting™ Bar bunting kits, curated workshop supplies, many of her own artistic creations and other products.

Workshop participants get ready to start painting.

Brooklyn also writes a blog about her faux adventures and in a Sept. 21 post suggested that her record-breaking idea was intended to take her business to the next level. “Breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest furniture refinishing workshop on earth will be a ‘credential’ after my name, similar to a Realtor’s certification,” she wrote, adding, “I created my own business. I sell and make things that no one else makes. Since there are no credentials for me, I have to make them up and create opportunities to further my career, on a path that has yet to be blazed.”

Brooklyn is quick to note that she had a lot of help in planning the Guinness world-breaking event. Early on, she solicited and was granted permission by the Celina Main Street Advisory Board to teach the class in the downtown square. The city additionally offered in-kind support, a stage, event equipment and police and fire assistance.

Brooklyn likewise received invaluable help from Junk Gypsy ™ Paint, which helped spread the word through its dealer network and provided supplies and giveaways for the event. Junk Gypsy™ Paint dealers also provided assistance during the event itself, such as checking in participants and helping with instruction. Retailers came from Texas, Arizona and as far away as Michigan to help.

Brooklyn also received huge support from the community, which embraced her idea from the get-go. “The citizens of Celina and surrounding towns who came out to break the record were amazing,” she reports. Additionally, “Whimsy Finds was my backbone from the second I told them about the idea. Lori Rolfe, the owner, and her manager, Kayla Boydston, were a huge part of making it all happen. We texted, messaged and called each other daily.”

Working under a sunny sky, participants paint away at their creations
while simultaneously chipping away at the world record.

Now part of the record books, Brooklyn has a lot to show for her efforts. However, “The biggest anticipated blessing to come from the whole event was learning whom I could count on—those people who were there by my side in the trenches and those that swooped in to help save the day,” she reports. “The Guinness World Record will sit on my shelf, but my friends and family will live in my heart. I love them so much, and I could not have done it without them.”

Still, Brooklyn notes that the project was challenging and often stressful. And while Brooklyn is always looking ahead for the next big thing to grow her business, she may need to tone down the next project.

As she says, “This was the hardest and most stressful thing I’ve ever done to myself—so much so that Matt, my incredibly supportive husband, has been clearly instructed to tell me, ‘No, don’t do that!’ the next time I come up with a big idea...”

Learn more about Brooklyn's business at www.brookielynnsbungalow.com.

Brooklyn needed 250 participants to top the world record but bested that number by more than 75. Workshop participants took home a chair that they painted and distressed themselves, a container of Junk Gypsy paint, furniture-refinishing skills and the satisfaction of knowing they helped to make Guinness history.The event lived up to Brooklyn's business motto: "Go Big or Go Home!"