Junket: Tossed and Found owner Julie Kearns finds purpose in repurposing home goods
by Jahna Peloquin (images courtesy Junket)
It’s been five years since Julie Kearns brought her vision for Junket: Tossed and Found to life. Located within the south Minneapolis vintage hub known as the Minnehaha Mile, Junket helps useful, well-made goods avoid the trash heap by fixing and repurposing them. The store was founded with the sustainable mission of repurposing, upcycling, and extending the lifecycle of home goods—and to empower customers to reuse creatively by offering creative workshops.
The idea for Junket came to Kearns as she underwent a series of major life changes in 2009, when the newly single mother was seeking a more flexible job than her corporate management job offered. At the same time, she embraced the practices of consigning and thrifting as her post-pregnancy weight fluctuated, and in the process, she learned there was money to be made in the secondhand industry.
Fast forward to 2012, Kearns was self-employed, selling clothing via consignment and online while hosting on Airbnb to make ends meet. While she loved being her own boss, she needed more—and she was beginning to get burnt out. “I had achieved what I thought I wanted: Life without a boss,” she says. “But the work felt meaningless.”
During this time, she saw firsthand how many useful goods were literally being thrown away or packed onto trucks for export to merchants in third world countries. “The volume I saw of everything in this waste stream, day in and day out, made it impossible to ignore the scale of this issue,” she says. So she decided to combat the problem head-on by starting a business that helped get useful goods back into homes.
After holding a successful vintage sale out of her house, she was confident that she could more than cover the costs of renting a small retail space. She opened Junket: Tossed and Found on November 16, 2012 in a 900-square-foot space that was open two weekends a month. In the five years since, the store has expanded to 3,000 square feet and is now open regular daily hours.
Over the years, the store has also honed in on its mission. When it was founded, Kearns says it has evolved from “operating from the vague conceptual notion that ‘refuse is good for the planet’ to having a data-driven understanding that extending the life of goods that already exist is an important social response to climate change.” Junket’s mission is to make that social response more fun, satisfying, and solution-oriented.
The store’s sourcing has also changed, from sourcing pieces from dozens of vendors to taking more control over the sourcing process, filling the space with the best products for the shop. The bulk of the store’s secondhand goods are plucked directly from the waste stream—such as goods that are leftover when estate sales have ended—when they would otherwise be headed for the landfill.
“I get excited about having others embrace the beauty that comes with patina and time,” Kearns says. “I see brokenness as opportunity for repair instead of death sentence.”
The store celebrates with daily deals and in-store events beginning Thursday, November 16 and running throughout the weekend, culminating with a birthday party on Saturday.
Junket’s 5th Anniversary Weekend Events:
- Thursday, Nov. 16: A discussion on the “intersection of consumption and climate” with Julie Kearns, who will reflect on what Junket has taught her about the issue of home goods waste (6:30 p.m.; free). Daily deals include 10 percent off kitchenwares from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 75 percent off red-line items from 2–5 p.m., and 10 percent off clothing from 5–7 p.m., plus $5 off any purchase of $25 or more through Sunday.
- Friday, Nov. 16: Creative journaling class with artist Molly Anthony (5:30 p.m.; $20 at mkt.com/shopjunket). Daily deals in clude 10 percent off records from 11 a.m.–3 p.m., $2 jars-of-stuff from 3–5 p.m., and 50 percent off fabric from 5–7 p.m., plus $5 off any purchase of $25 or more through Sunday.
- Saturday, Nov. 17: Junket 5th Anniversary Party: Deals, drinks from Chowgirls Catering, and food from Parkway Pizza, Gandhi Mahal, and more (7 p.m.; free). Daily deals include $2 select AP photos from 11 a.m.–1 p.m., 20 percent off salvaged page prints from 1–4 p.m., 20 percent off kitchenwares from 4–7 p.m., plus $5 off any purchase of $25 or more through Sunday.
- Sunday, Nov. 18: Glass mosaic demo with artist Chris Miller (noon; free). Daily deals include 20 percent off furniture from 11 a.m.–2 p.m., $4 botanical prints from 2–5 p.m., and 75 percent off red-line items from 5–7 p.m., plus $5 off any purchase.
Here’s more of the treasures you can expect to find at Junket: