[ Madge's Story ]

It’s a New Year at MadgesHatbox.com!

Well it’s a new year and Madge is raring to go.

Back in February Madge had a modest goal:  Clean out a closet full of vintage treasures. Who knew then where that one item on my to-do list would take me?

I grew up vintage. Some of my earliest memories were of my mom and me climbing up the stairs of the old Salvation Army store in downtown Wichita, Kansas. The sixth floor was where all the furniture was located. She’d find a sorry old couch or chair, take it home, rework it and put it in a place of honor in our ranch-style home. Later in the 70s, we would haunt flea markets and a used clothing store for buys on clothes, hats and

It's a New Year at MadgesHatbox.com
Mom and me. As you can see, I’m all ready a fashion statement

costume jewelry. My mom had great style and I learned a lot about what and what not to buy. She taught me how to pick pieces that would stand the test of time. When my wedding date arrived, the something old part was easy.

Those vintage-shopping habits carried over to my own family. My husband was none too pleased when I implored him to rent van and drive for over four hours to meet a delivery truck on I95. He failed grasp my “deal of the century”- two sofas I purchased for $75.00 on a trip to Miami. Of course my mom was with me in Miami and I admit we didn’t put a lot of thought about how were going to get those sofas back to Atlanta.  Poor Mr. Madge that was just one of many “deals of the century” to come.

Still have those infamous couches!


My mom passed away much too young in December 2000. Losing her meant losing my best friend and my partner in crime. Shopping for and wearing all of those wonderful vintage finds was too hard without her. So into the closet they went and I put that part of my life away.

The beginning of 2012 found me sorting through our house for a garage sale. I took a deep breath and opened that closet and went through all the wonderful hats, jewelry and clothes that were stored there. I decided to open an Etsy shop. If I wasn’t going to wear any of it I wanted all these beautiful things to have good homes. What was the point in owning it if not to wear it?

It's a New Year at MadgesHatbox.com
Our founder – Ora Madge Beals Meredith

I named my shop Madge’s Hatbox after my maternal grandmother who was a milliner.  Well the shop took off and with it I rediscovered my love of vintage – the uniqueness, affordability, quality and style. I regained that joyful feeling of discovering a fabulous pair of earrings or the perfect side table and realizing you are part of the chain of people who have cherished that piece. The reason I love vintage?  There’s always a story.

To share my passion for vintage style I started this blog in April, also named after grandmother Madge.  That opened up a whole new chapter – a journey of discovery to connect the dots in the story of Ora Madge Beals Meredith.  A passing remark by my aunt led to a trip to Scooba Mississippi to find information on the hat shop she owned there in 1917.  The discovery of a letter from a backer found me in Chanute, Kansas looking for the former location of Mrs. Steely Hat Shop from 1916. Needless to say, 2012 has been one wild ride.

Now Some thank-yous are in order:

First to my webmistress – Charissa at Devivo Marketing, Tybee Island Georgia.  Without her knowledge, patience and good humor, MadgesHatbox.com would not exist.  From setting up the blog, to helping with logo design, Charissa has been there every step of the way and has put up with my pestering and general lack of knowledge.  By the way Charissa, there are 17 updates needed 🙂

It's a New Year at MadgesHatbox.com

To Gayla and all of my teammates on the Vintage Jewelry Sellers Etsy Team.  This marketing team of vintage jewelry sellers is an amazing support group and Gayla is especially generous with her time in helping new shopkeepers become successful.  She was crucial to Madge’s success this year with helpful suggestions for my listings and getting Madge higher in search rankings.  Check out Gayla’s shop at  The Jewel Seeker and also the VJSE Facebook page for wonderful vintage jewelry selections.

To Karen and another great marketing team – Got Vintage, a Facebook group of all types of It's a New Year at MadgesHatbox.comvintage and antique dealers all across the country both on the web and brick and mortar stores.  All of the dealers are so encouraging of each other and trade valuable information on identifying vintage treasures.  Karen has been remarkable in keeping us all in line.  Madge would be verklempt without them.  There is an amazing selection of great vintage buys at the GVS For Sale pages and Karen shop is Charmings Collectibles.

To Retro Ruth and the team at NoPatternRequired.com.  Ruth was an early supporter and has featured Madge on her own blog, Facebook page and on Pinterest.  I look forward to continuing our partnership in 2013.

To Mary, my first customer at MadgesHatbox.com.  Mary is a collector, historian and curator of vintage hat.  She has been one of my best cheerleaders and a font of knowledge on vintage hats.  Be sure to check out her amazing vintage hat shop on Etsy  Froufrou for you.

To Brenda, who started the MadHatters Society on Facebook and who, along with Mary, has written the definitive guide for vintage hats: Hatatorium:  An Essential Guide for Hat Collectors.  The second edition of this eBook has just been published and is available at http://www.hatatorium.com/.  Brenda has been an incredible sounding board, advisor and friend.

To Adrienne, my gal pal and editor supremo.  She’s in the final lap of her great american novel, “No One Can Know” soon to be published.

To all of my customers and blog followers. Thank you for your support, kind words and suggestions.

To my husband, Mr. Madge who grudgingly went along with this crazy scheme and is still speaking to me,

and lastly

To my mom, Meredith “Millie” Hill and my grandmother Madge Meredith who are always with me and guiding me in this adventure.

It's a New Year at MadgesHatbox.com
Millie & Madge on my wedding day August, 1978


So what’s next  for Madge in 2013?

An ever-expanding selection of true vintage in the shop ranging from art deco to mid-century to mod.

More stories on the best vintage shopping in the USA

Continued reports on hot new style trends with a vintage influence

And of course, filling in more pages of my grandmother’s story.


I hope you will continue with me on this journey and tell your friends about Madge.

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