ceramic fans explain the craze

Most of the time, Melissa Wood drinks from her Rae Dunn “Military Mom” ceramic mug. He’s on heavy rotation at Wood’s Mount Hope, Orange County, with “Not Today Satan” and “Hot Mess Express.”

“It’s me every day,” she laughs. She connects with the phrases on these mugs, especially “Military Mom” ​​- her son is in the Coast Guard. This one was a gift from a woman on a regional Facebook page dedicated to buying, selling and trading Rae Dunn pottery.

Collecting Rae Dunn ceramics is a locally and nationally competitive hobby. Inexpensive ceramics are mostly cream-colored with assertive or cheeky expressions, often in a twiggy typeface, like “Wifey”, “Get it Girl” or “#Mom Life”. There are also colorful and more delicate holiday-themed items.

Collectors go gaga for the plates, mugs, canisters, and even birdhouses with the tall, thin letters. These are sold primarily at HomeGoods, TJMaxx, and Marshalls. People have been known to swarm stores from Kingston to Middletown to Poughkeepsie, hoarding items to resell or trade on online buy, sell and trade (BST) message boards, such as the one Wood is a member: Rae Dunn Hudson Valley BST, no bullshit *t.

Rachel Eagle, administrator of this private Facebook group, estimates that they have admitted more than 100 new members in the past year; their current strength is just over 500 “Dunnies”.

When Dunn’s demand drives prices up

@alyssagiulianaa

wife rae dunn is crazy #raedunn #homegoods #tjx

♬ original sound – Argon Games

Eagle was first introduced to Dunn in 2014 by her sister-in-law, before Rae Dunn, the California-based ceramist (yes, she’s a real person, with a big Instagram account to boot) “blew big” . At the time, a cup was around $2.99 ​​and a canister $8.99.

“I thought that was stupid!” I really wasn’t into it,” Eagle recalled.

In 2017, Eagle changed her mind and became a Dunnie, drawn to a set of three Christmas boxes in signature cream but with seasonal red lettering: ‘Merry’, ‘Cheer’ and ‘Joy’. They were so hard to find in local stores that she eventually bought them from Mercari.com, a site she calls “an online yard sale.”

Rae Dunn does gangbusters on Mercari – always selling above retail value. “It was probably around $60 for all three. Because at the time, it was not terrible, ”she says. In stores they can cost as much, but on Mercari there are Christmas canisters priced at $280 (compared to $415).

Wood says she has a fairly modest collection, which she defines as “more than 100 but less than 200 pieces.”

lemon balm wood

While some Dunnies try to make money selling, others are in the game as a fun hobby, not a business. Eagle doesn’t sell above retail, and neither does Wood: “I don’t upsell. I collect for myself and my friends if I find anything. I don’t buy everything. It’s not me,” Wood says.

If Eagle trades, it tries to make fair trades based on market value. With recent Dunnies, that can be tricky. “They think everything is worth above market value. It’s so frustrating,” says Eagle. Yet market value is not always obvious; the value of items goes up and down frequently – and for no apparent reason.

Halloween coins always cost a lot. “On Mercari I saw a retired piece – a ‘Spooky’ cartridge, last time it came out was 2019 I believe – people are trying to sell it for over $240 and it’s It’s a $10 coin,” says Eagle.

The only item Wood ever purchased on Mercari was a “haunted” birdhouse. “I paid, like, $50? I know they’re $20, but people were selling $80 or more. I got a good deal,” she recalled.

Currently, Wood is in the measuring cup market. She checks the Middletown HomeGoods store a few times a week when shopping, sometimes more during the holidays.

“When I first started collecting, I saw them all the time. I would pass them by. Now she can’t find them new. At retail, they’re only $16.99, but she saw of people reselling them online for $250.

Dunn’s “treasure hunt” drama

Stores like TJ Maxx do not notify customers in advance of the arrival of deliveries of Rae Dunn ceramics.  Instead, Dunnies tries to follow items on message boards – if an item is spotted on the west coast, they assume it's on its way east soon.

Stores like TJ Maxx do not notify customers in advance of the arrival of deliveries of Rae Dunn ceramics. Instead, Dunnies tries to follow items on message boards – if an item is spotted on the west coast, they assume it’s on its way east soon.

Rachel Eagle

The mercurial value and rarity of Dunn items is why Dunnies fight for anything they can get their hands on. Eagle works in Middletown, so that’s where she mainly looks for new parts. Once, while waiting outside in the freezing cold for the HomeGoods to open with a group of Dunnies, random people took pictures of her.

“It was kind of crazy,” she admits, but they wanted to run and get some stuff first. You never know what will be available – or when. The Dunnies try to track articles on online message boards — if an article has hit California or Arizona, they assume it’s on its way east soon.

Stores are on board. “Typically, the average HomeGoods store receives multiple shipments per week, with each shipment containing thousands of new items, including many popular brands of ceramic tableware. Our rapidly changing assortments create the “treasure hunt” shopping experience. that our customers love, which makes our brands so exciting to buy,” says a company spokesperson.

Rae Dunn collectors - the Dunnies, as they call themselves - often organize their finds in display cases.  These are finds amassed by Rachel Eagle, administrator of the Rae Dunn Hudson Valley BST Facebook board.

Rae Dunn collectors – the Dunnies, as they call themselves – often organize their finds in display cases. These are finds amassed by Rachel Eagle, administrator of the Rae Dunn Hudson Valley BST Facebook board.

Rachel Eagle

The scavenger hunt vibe is stoked on the Hudson Valley Facebook page. Members share when items arrive at certain stores (Santa mugs have arrived at Chester HomeGoods!). All of the members, including Wood, who has been collecting for three years and tends to keep quiet, resent news being spread this way.

“I would never advertise my findings,” she says.

As a Facebook group admin, Eagle is aware of the drama Dunn can create – people accuse others of flocking to stores and “cleaning the shelves”.

“People try to stir the pot if someone takes more than one item,” she says. Still, it’s common practice – buy one to keep, one to trade, one for a collector friend – and so on.

Once a local collector sent his child for a cartridge and accused another Dunnie of pushing his child. “You have to be quick. You must enter. This lady sent her child into a potentially dangerous system. People walk quickly towards an object,” says Eagle. “Why would you want to send your kid into a situation like this knowing there are some crazy people out there?”

Although no one has ever shoved Wood, “I’ve heard stories about it in Middletown and nasty insults. There are times when you go to the door and you can tell when someone is there to look for Rae Dunn.


It’s like a sixth sense. Certain times of the year are more unforgiving than others. Halloween is notoriously bad, while Easter stock is usually more plentiful, so collecting these seasonal items is more sedate.

Drama aside, each day the Hudson Valley Facebook group is mostly filled with requests (“Does anyone have a ‘Libra’ mug?”) – from avid collectors looking for their “unicorn” or their “Willy Wonka ticket”. Members also use the forum to upload pictures of their own Rae Dunn goodies arranged in displays – just for fun. Photos shown are NFS tagged (not for sale).

Other than the cups and a few canisters, most Dunn collections are only used for display, collectors say, until they are periodically cleared and sold to make room for more purchases.

Wood has a fairly modest collection – “over 100 but less than 200 pieces”. Eagle admits she owns more – an attic full of 15 pottery bins.

“I had over 150 cups. Why do we need so many cups?” she laughs. money in a year?’ If you multiply 150 by six dollars, that’s a lot of money.

Weird and Wonderful Hudson Valley



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