Tuesday, April 9, 2013

So How About That Mad Men? Mad Men's Relationship to Reselling


And NOW for something completely different! I rarely talk about TV shows because I only watch horror movies, cartoons, and disco/retro/Price/Michael Jackson music videos with few exceptions. Mad Men is an important exception that's not only a feast of sumptuous mod porn for the eyes and food for the soul, it's money in the bank!


I was looking at my Etsy Shop stats yesterday and noticed a big boost in item favorites and traffic. A Mad Men themed set was being favorited the most, of course! I can only assume people searched Etsy hot and heavy for Mad Men goods to make their lives as sexy and glamorous as the world Mad Men depicts. Or dsytopian and morbid like this new season's turning out to me. Whatever, pour me another glass, I needs it!


Don Draper's iconic Dorothy Thrope Roly Poly drinking are more prized than ever, and I've sold look-a-likes (I always tell people they're not the real deal, don't worry) and originals alike at $60.00 to $75.00 for four glass sets. Mid Century Modern housewares were already making a comeback, but it's worth discussing, is it even bigger now all because of Mad Men? (See the listing here.)

Those sets! They are absolutely pristine and perfectly designed. Filled with authentic 1960s housewares.

I started watching Mad Men when I saw it's potential as a change-maker in my industry, but got sucked into the rich storytelling and the tangled lives of the compelling characters in this understated  drama. The cast is so diverse there's always one character a viewer can relate to. As a former young female copywriter in a male dominated office, I could relate to Peggy in eerily similar ways, down to the unconventional relationship Don.

Don Draper is the new Chuck Norris. Don Draper doesn't get wet, the water gets Don Draper. Don eats rocks and farts lightening. The quickest way to a man's heart is with Don Draper's fist! Time waits for no one...but Donald Draper.

Mad Men evokes thoughtful commentary and the attention to detail they put into each scene make it a designer's wet dream. Behold that stunning poster they commissioned for Season 6 at the top of this post! They hired seasoned graphic artist from 1960s advertising, Brian Sanders (below), to create the illustration. Details like this give Mad Men authenticity, I feel like I could easily see this artwork in a 1967 issue of LIFE magazine.


We see two Dons, light and dark. Is it his mischievous misogynistic cheater side walking away from the side of Don that's good and moral? Is it Donald Draper walking away from Dick Whitman? We see a "One Way" and "Stop" sign. Don's turning a corner in his life, is it death? Like the black despondency hinted at, is Don going to end his moral dilemmas by jumping out of his office's high rise window? (Reenacting the show's iconic opening?) Only the best entertainment inspires this type of conversation and dedicated viewers.  I'd watch this excellent program even if it didn't help me get more money in the bank.

What do you think? Did Mad Men create a huge surge in interest in vintage housewares, or was that already in vogue? Does Mad Men make a difference in your sales? What did you think of Sunday's episode? What character do you relate to the most?
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31 comments:

  1. Wow! I'm also excited to see they hired an illustrator to do some illustrations for the show. That's awesome!

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    1. Me too, I was enamored by it's authenticity and had to look into that. So glad they went out of their way to get a real Mad Men expat for the job.

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  2. I love Mad Men. The writing and acting are exceptional. I haven't noticed any increase in sales because of it, but that doesn't make me love it any less.
    Becky :)

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    1. Same here, I'd like it either way.

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  3. I think that the show definitely heps up the interest and prices of items from that era - which is a great thing for Sellers but as mostly a buyer, I noticed a huge shift in prices when the show's popularity took hold. Things that I used to be able to afford were now marked with "Mad Men Style" and the prices soared. I'm happy for Sellers but as a buyer, am totally "Meh!" about it. : )

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    1. I'm lucky I can still find tons of mod here for low prices and then add my "picker fee" and sell it online and in shops to make a living. It definitely makes the hunt for the shopper more competitive. It makes me wonder, will there always be a market for mod vintage or will it completely die down one day? I doubt it, as the classic, practical nature of the designs should always have fans.

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  4. I absolutely "love" Mad Men! (Don Draper would be so disappointed for using the "l" word so loosely). There are three main reasons for my watching - exceptional writing, attention to the tiniest detail of the era, and Jon Hamm is an alumni of the same college from which I graduated and a good Missouri boy. I have used "Mad Men style, Don Draper, Betty Draper" in my reselling and I think it has probably helped but it is by no means the reason I watch the show. So compelling - I wish I was an adult, instead of a child, during that era!

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    1. I was thinking that exact same thing about the overuse of the "L" word while writing this post, haha. Draper would NOT approve of this copy.

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  5. I'm glad it's giving you a boost in visibility, with the new season premiering! I agree with Eartha...I can't tell you how many times a seller at an estate sale has run up to me and used the words "Mad Men" and "collectible" to try and drive up the purchase price or justify a price sticker with too many 0's in it. So on the buyer end, I'm sad, but for you sellers, GET IT, GALS. :)

    I am super disappointed with the last season and this season's opener! I feel like seasons 1-2 were so dynamic and compulsively watchable, whereas now I want to check in to see how everyone's doing but can't bring myself to care like I used to. Le sigh. Maybe this season will pick up from here!

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    1. I haven't encountered that at a estate sales yet but don't get to them too often. I've never encountered one where the prices are reasonable but my friends have, they're out here somewhere...

      The tone has definitely changed, before there was an electric energy and now it's dark and angsty. Still compulsively watchable, despite the dramatic differences from the first seasons.

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  6. YES absolutely it gives us a boost. In fact I was just bragging about a 1955 Hoover vacuum we have in our shop, spotted in Sunday's episode! It's renewed interest in that period style, made it cool again. During MM season you can't keep in table lighters or cigarette dispensers or 50s glass/china ashtrays; they just fly off the shelves.

    All period shows & movies do the same. Downton Abbey has boosted our antiques sales--lots of vintage china, doilies, oil lamps, etc. PBS's Call The Midwife also had that effect, particularly on chenilles and other WWII era merch.

    Long live the period costume drama! :D

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  7. Van, Are your glasses Thrope or Thorpe? Buyers still finding them all the same. We have to wait for Mad Men here. Not sure when we get the first episode.

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    1. I've never heard of a Thorpe? I've mispelled "Thrope" that way sometimes I'm sure. I asked a few different reseller friends and could not ID those glasses, so I've just called them "Dorothy Thrope look-a-likes." I'll have to look up what "Thorpe" glasses are, hmm...

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  8. Yes -- I use Mad Men as a tag in my Etsy shop frequently. And I've even sold stuff to Mad Men set decorators.

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    1. That's so awesome that you've sold to set decorators!

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  9. I believe that every popular show and movie has an influence on merchandise though of course the bigger the following and the longer the series, the better.

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  10. My antique booth would not exist the way it does without this show, of course ;-) I am taking full advandage of the craze.
    I watch the show mostly for "market research", lol. (Personally I am getting a bit tired of the story lines).

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    1. Do you think capitalizing on the show's name for your show has really helped you with sales?

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    2. Yes, I think so. I have overheard (youngish)customers in my antique market talk about checking out the Mad Maine booth - what a fun feeling it is to be known by "brand". I wish I had two booths - one for all my Mad Men stuff and one for all the other random things I sell like coffee mugs. The purity is suffering, lol ;-)

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    3. Actually, not sure if they say Mad Maine or Mad Men - but same difference to me, really :-)

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    4. That's awesome! I definitely want to make some bigger signs and really connect my booths to my brand better as well. I love the play on words with "Mad Maine," very clever.

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  11. I think the 60's mid century style had been sort of gaining popularity before mad men but it definitely gave it a huge boost. It's a great show with amazing sets and it's always fun to spot a vintage item you own on the show.

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    1. I love to spot things I've owned, seen while hunting, and sold on the show too. And if it's something that I've seen on the show or looks like something I've sold I don't feel TOO gimmicky for adding "as seen on Mad Men" to the tag or item description online.

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  12. Collector's Weekly just interviewed the prop guy for Mad Men. I'm not affiliated; I just read it yesterday...Check it out here:
    http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/an-interview-with-scott-buckwald-prop-master-for-the-hit-tv-show-mad-men/

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    1. Thanks for the link! Reading through it now, SO impressed by the lengths the prop guys go through to keep that shows as accurate as possible like re-creating magazines, dress bags, etc. when originals in the right condition can't be found.

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  13. Mid Century Modern has been hot for many years now, but I think "Mad Men" has really made it even more popular, if not extending its popularity. I do believe it has brought a lot of business for sellers of MCM. "Mad Men" continue to be popular keywords used in titles of eBay listings for MCM items, including fashion.

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    1. I've seen it used in vintage boutiques, too. Usually trends with keywords like this would really bug me but it never has with Mad Men. Even before I saw and enjoyed the show. I think I give it a mental free pass because of the insane dedication to detail that's evident in every inch of the show's production and even promotion, with the amazing artwork above as proof.

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  14. You know, I've never seen Mad Men, and a lot of it is filmed in my town! I think one of the main characters is supposed to live here, they've filmed all over town, schools, Main St as its still a quite old looking Hudson River town. But yes, I've seen a huge soar in listings referring to the show, which usually just turns me off as a buyer. But I'm probably an exception as I started collecting MCM during the early 80s when it wasn't desirable. That's not to say that I wouldn't use it myself if I was selling and really though it caught the spirit of the show. XXX

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    1. I never would have imagined myself using "Mad Men" as a keyword and writing themed descriptions before I got sucked into the show, its sets, and characters. This show definitely isn't my usual thing since I'm a fan of outlandish colorful kitschiness but I appreciate the quality and even how understated it is. I definitely recommend it if you can borrow it or catch it on Netflix, all of the old episodes except for the current running season are available on the 'flix now.

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    2. We keep talking about watching it on Netflix, just haven't gotten around to it yet as they finally released the rest of a British series we got sucked into. I know we really should, especially since we get diverted all the time because of filming -- it'll be a kick to see our little town on telly! And you should use it as a description if it fits, and helps to sell! XXX

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I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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