Girls Just Wanna Have Dunn: How Rae Dunn Is Causing Women To Fight & Get Into Debt Over Mugs

Photo: Salvadorxrodriguez / Shutterstock
Rae Dunn

But first, coffee mugs — coffee mugs emblazoned with the words "mugs," "coffee," or "but first, coffee."

"I never intended on becoming a brand, much less creating this weird phenomenon," Rae Dunn, the master mind behind the popular houseware brand that sends women spiraling — both financially and emotionally. 

Popular is an understatement. Viral videos on TikTok show mobs of suburban swarming the aisles of TJX corporation stores trying to get their pretty little hands on Rae Dunn home goods. 

Mobs of Suburban moms are rushing to TJ Maxx, Marshall's, and HomeGoods to take drinking the kool-aid to a whole new level.

What is a Rae Dunn woman and why are they so obsessed with ceramics?

Rae Dunn women are fanatics of the viral ceramics brand who rush out to buy Rae Dunn products and, typically, upsell them online. 

“The first time I ever did an opening shift for Marshalls," one TikToker claimed, "I was told by my manager to watch out for the Rae Dunn women."

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"And I was like, What’s a Rae Dunn woman?," the TikToker asked. "They basically told me that it was this group of women who would go [from store to store to] and buy out all the Rae Dunn."

Rae Dunn, the woman behind the brand, never intended to create a cult.

You've probably seen Rae Dunn mugs in the flesh before, even if you just learned about the cult-like nature of its following. 

"My work is me," said Rae Dunn, the 58-year-old master mind behind the pottery adorned with phrases like “Slay All Day,” “Pumpkin Spice,” or “You Grow Girl.”

Her mugs simultaneously encourage us to live, laugh, love and “gulp,” “sip,” and “Deck The Halls.”

Her products became mass produced and thus, a massive cult-following was born. Although, that was never her intention. 

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Rae Dunn women even have their own Facebook groups.

The Rae Dunn women— also known as Rae Dunn Hunters, Rae Dunners, or the Rae Dunnies — prefer to communicate over Facebook Groups titled Rae Dunn Addicts, Rae Dunn Newbies, Girls Just Wanna Have Dunn, and What Have I Dunn!?

On these Facebook groups, Rae Dunnies and Hunters alike track orders heading to TJX stores across the country, in hopes to figure out the exact moment shipments arrive in specific areas. 

One superfan claimed that within only five minutes after a TJ Maxx shipment, each and every “trick,” “treat,” and “happy haunting” halloween-themed Rae Dunn product was gone. One guy cleared the shelves completely, an employee reported, purchasing every Rae Dunn product he could get his hands on.

Store workers have shared horror stories about Rae Dunn women.

“Y’all know I work for TjMaxx and this is 100% true,” one TikToker said. The Rae Dunnies,  “stand around like VULTURES and even get into fights over Rae Dunn mugs that cost like $8.99.” 

A former HomeGoods worker filmed a viral TikTok video in which she talked about the mobs of superfans. “It doesn’t matter if it was raining or not,” she said, “They would still be out there. 

“It’s an adrenaline rush when you’re able to get things that other people want and they don’t get to have because there’s only so many pieces,” she said. “That’s kind of why it got super-crazy for me — because I started to get addicted to having things before somebody else was able to get it.”

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It’s no secret that the harder an object is to obtain, the higher its value can increase. But of all the meaningless objects to launch into a full-fledge frenzy over, why a bread pan inscripted with the word “loaf” or a wine cozy labeled "fall y'all?"

Rae Dunn women go to great lengths to get there hands on these products.

"I’ve often seen collections posted with hundreds or thousands of pieces," one self-proclaimed Rae Dunn Hunter said. "I’ve seen people fighting over it and posting about how much they NEED it."

"I’ve seen people making up fake sob stories to get pieces sent to them, tricking people, people fighting, crying, complaining, humiliating others, people using natural or personal disasters to get pieces sent to them," she continued. "If we told someone about this behavior without telling them what the addiction was, many would probably believe it was something a lot worse than pottery."

Another woman even went into debt over her Rae Dunn obsession. 

“I spent over $15000 in 6 months. It consumes my every thought," she said. "I even think of it when trying to fall asleep. Nearly cost me my marriage!”

Marriages aren't the only thing thats destroyed, relationships with children are lost too. 

Michelle Green, a Rae Dunn Hunter and Florida-based TikToker said, “My kids say, ‘Mom, you choose pottery over us. It’s bad. It’s bad.”

Talk about a hot mess express, to quote the coveted kitchenware brand itself. 

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Izzy Casey is a writer who covers pop culture, entertainment, and news for YourTango. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she receieved a fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Her writing has been published in The Columbia Review, Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, New York Tyrant, Bennington Review, The Iowa Review, Black Warrior Review, BOAAT, and elsewhere. Currently, she lives in Brooklyn.