Back in February 2012 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 with 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 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 the significance of 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 on just 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. We 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?
I named my shop Madge’s Hatbox after my maternal grandmother who was a milliner in the 1910s and 20s. 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 my blog,www.madgeshatbox.com, in April, 2012 . Then, a passing remark by my aunt opened up a whole new chapter – a journey of discovery to connect the dots in the story of my grandmother, Ora Madge Beals Meredith. A young woman who found some backers and traveled alone from Kansas to Scooba Mississippi in 1917 and opened a hat shop. You can read the story of my journey here.
I have found a vintage world full of great friends. I am happy to report Madge’s Hatbox is here to stay. Please check out my curated collection of hats, jewelry and fashion. My heart is in every piece. Mom and Madge would be so proud.
About Pam, aka Madge
Starting with a career in commercial real estate restoring and repurposing historic properties, to owning one of the first dog biscuit bakeries in the world, an upscale pet boutique in Dallas named Happy Tails, Pamela Hill Lappin has always been an innovator and entrepreneur. Now she has returned to her first love – vintage style – as a writer and the owner of the vintage shops.
Also shop our vintage home store on Etsy at Madge @Home.
About The Blog
The blog on vintage style, Livin' La Vida Vintage is dedicated to Madge Beals Meredith, my grandmother. She was a milliner in the 1910s before she married and settled into her lifelong roles of housewife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Read Madge'sblog articlescovering the search for her 1917 hat shop in Scooba, Mississippi.