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Power of Nostalgia – Vintage Dolls, Fuzzy Feelings and Human Behavior

Dollkind.com Vintage Dolls
Greetings from inside the SEOigloo,
We’re currently working on a most awesome website for a truly talented guitar player. One of the things he does is teach people to play their favorite songs, and one of the popular songs he teaches is a 1976 hit called More Than A Feeling by Boston. I vaguely remembered this song, and working on the website sent me on a trip down YouTube lane to listen to this classic tune. The lyrics contain this line:
It’s more than a feeling, when I hear that old song they used to play…
Apart from the very vintage rock feeling of this tune, it is actually describing the quality of nostalgia within the lyrics. What is most interesting to me is the reaction YouTube users are having to hearing this song. Everything from heartfelt expression of undying devotion to the band to wistful longings that it could be the 70’s again. The sincerity in the thousands and thousands of comments being left on vintage YouTube videos is almost palpable . Nostalgia is a powerful thing.
A couple of months ago, we launched a site of our own, Dollkind.com. The basic concept of the site is that it provides interested readers with articles about best-loved 20th century dolls. It’s a side-side-side project, and I’ve had only a small amount of time to devote to it, but it’s beginning to rank decently for various terms and the adsense on the site is bringing in some pocket change. The real value in this venture for me so far has been in the dozens and dozens of emails I’ve received from visitors to the site.
These are not comments along the lines of, “I like your website.” They are more in the nature of, “Oh my gosh! I’m was so excited to find your website. I LOVE these dolls. I can’t believe you have all this information. My grandma gave me 3 of these dolls when I was little and I miss them so much. I’ve been looking for this information for 10 years. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”. Again, the sincerity and excitement is genuine.
Bradley Doll image on Dollkind.com
One of the most popular articles on my site revolved around a mystery doll from the 1970’s I could find almost no information on it. I didn’t even know what the doll was called. I only knew they were everywhere in the 70’s and that you could buy them at drugstores or win them at fairs. I published an article asking for help in identifying these dolls, and thanks to readers, was soon able to identify them as Bradley Dolls / Big Eyed Dolls. Since correctly identifying these dolls, you wouldn’t believe how many emails I’ve received about them, swimming in nostalgia, full of gratitude for the information I’ve provided.
The dolls are kind of strange looking, and they were cheaply made, but it doesn’t matter. People remember them with the hazy, fuzzy fondness that makes seeing the dolls again so satisfying. “I remember that!” is the mantra of nostalgia, and it can be a potent connection between people. It can also be an excellent connection between business owners and customers.
Websites like this one and this one show just how much time and interest people are willing to devote to remembering an era and the cultural and pop-cultural elements that marked it. I know I can find common ground with nearly any 70’s kid in a matter of seconds.
– Do you remember that Sesame Street skit…
– Do you remember that Rush song…
– Do you remember that Atari game…
– Do you remember Holly Hobbie dolls…
– Do you remember when everything was major and excellent…
Start asking these kinds of questions in a crowd of your same-age peers and watch faces soften, watch eyes light up.
Figure out a way to monetize that situation and you may just have a brilliant little business idea.
If I had the time and interest in starting to sell some of the dolls I’ve written research pieces about on Dollkind.com, my readers have already proven to me that I could go into business doing this. If I hit upon a truly great nostalgia product, I might even be able to make a living from the venture. Companies like the Vermont Country Store have made a serious business out of delivering gone-but-not-forgotten products to thrilled customers.
What Do You Remember Oh So Well?
People my parents’ age break into huge grins when they start talking about listening to the Lone Ranger on the family radio. They talk about Peter, Paul & Mary with a note of love in their voices. People of my generation remember different things. Maybe it was a song that was playing on the transistor while you built a fort in a sunny, golden back yard. Maybe that song was playing as you drove on a country road with your friends, feeling on top of the world because you were young and believed in your own immortality. Maybe it was a really neat toy. They don’t make ’em like that any more. A forgotten TV show, snack food, jeans jacket, pair of waffle stompers, hot rod, turn of phrase, bean bag, decal on your bedroom window.
You know it when you feel it. That sense of slipping away into a quiet, glowing place, all the dearer because time has put it just out of reach. As the Boston tune says about nostalgia, it’s more than a feeling…
For bright minds, there’s got to be a business in there somewhere. Any ideas?