A coworker told me of a new custom hat maker who was opening shop 10 miles from my office. I excitedly stopped by the shop and engaged the charming proprietor/hatter in conversation. She was passionate and enthusiastic and very young. She had some of her hats on display and they looked...sort of decent, but not great. I asked if she had a #52 block in my size and she said she only has a couple of blocks and just makes band blocks for the sizes she doesn’t have. She has perhaps seven flanges, a Jiffy Steamer, an iron, a rounding jack, puller downer, and not much else. I asked about her prices and she said her basic Winchester beaver with a raw edge starts at $700.
I really wish her luck as we need more hatters, and I like having one local, but I can’t understand how these just starting out folks think they can command such prices. I’m dropping off some hats for ribbon and sweatband replacement (decent pricing), but I’d never consider a custom hat from her at any price. Added to this, her shop (the entire county) is located in an area of working class folks and ranchers who are not so free with their hard earned money. What are these young people thinking?
Perhaps she did a google search of "big city" hatters and just replicated their pricing. For me having to pay in Canadian dollars one of her hats would hit the $1000++.....pretty soon you are talking real money here. I wish her well as I would any young person starting a new venture but starting out charging at the top of the range is indeed a head scratcher. Charging prices that are double those of the master hatters here in The Lounge requires real chutzpah (sp?)
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