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Introducing both "Journeyman" and "Hitchhiker"

Art Fawcett

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3,717
Location
Central Point, Or.
Happy New Year!!!!

The following are two hat models that I have been working on recently that I hope interest you. I mentioned one in an earlier thread but here goes with both.

First, my goal was/is to develop something more rugged in appearance and style than my normal dress hats. To that end, my felter has agreed to make a rabbit, nutria blend for these hats and will come in two colors to start. Once we see the response the color range can be expanded.

I also intend them to be "crossover" hats in that they have a "Western" flair, slightly heavier felt for durability, and stiffer core to stand up to the elements as would a Western. I am making the leather bands in house and have 3 different buckle styles to choose from.

Without further ado, please consider yourself introduce first to the "Journeyman" in Olive drab Nutria blend
Open crown 5 1/2", creased to 4 1/2 front
Raw edge brim at 2 3/4
3/8 leather band

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Second, please take a look at "Hitchhiker" in the same Nutria blend but in 'Natural" color.

open crown 5 1/2" creased to 4 1/2
Underwelted brim at 2 5/8
Darker leather band

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I haven't taken the final leap on these yet so any feedback would be welcome. If it's a bad idea I'd just as soon not go down this road. If you think its a good idea, I need to know that also as it will make ordering the felts ( minimum is 6 doz) a little easier.

One more thing, they are both targeted to the $250 price range.

Thoughts?
 

Duper

Practically Family
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898
Location
Ontario, Canada
Wow, beautiful, rugged and great colours for getting the most use out of the hat. Terrific price point and I think the thin ribbon crowd will love this narrow leather band option.
 

randooch

I'll Lock Up
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4,869
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Ukiah, California
Gorgeous designs, Art.

The only sticking point I see are the buckles/tips because they make such a 'modern western' statement. The leather band, in my humble opinion, provides just the right amount of "cowboy" without the flash of a stamped silver buckle.
 
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10,039
Location
My mother's basement
I can see these styles really taking off, but not necessarily with the more classic/vintage oriented crowd that is so well represented around this joint. (If there is a lesson to be taken from the dismal sales performance of Hatco's Stetson Nostalgia model, it might well be that the hat styles that appeal to many of us here [count me in that number] don't appeal nearly that much to the hat-buying population in general.)

Truth is, Western styles far outsell "dress" hats. And I'm thinkin' that a heavier, stiffer hat better serves the purposes more people will put it to. I dig the look. It's not so "cowboy" that it would be out of place on the subway, and not so "city" that a guy would be at all reluctant to be seen sporting one in Miles City.

How does that nutria/rabbit blend take a finish?
 

masiaka

Familiar Face
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69
Location
Alabama
The only real "complaint" I have is that the hitchhiker looks way too good to actually have been worn by its namesake! The natural color on the hitchhiker is gorgeous and I really like the underwelt edge on the brim. The journeyman is also a stunning lid with great proportions. The leather bands give the hats a country feel, as does the olive felt option. I can see both hats as being custom made rivals to the banjo Paterson, though the brim on both hats is too short to be in the same class as DM's squatter or Bushman. If you offered thin ribbons as well as buckles then your Journeyman would be a great option for a modern "vintage" OR for outdoors wear. Do you have any plans for offering vent hole or eyelets?
 

Art Fawcett

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3,717
Location
Central Point, Or.
Thanks Gents, I knew I could count on a different perspective and will take everything in. Tony, I hope you are right , I hope it appeals to most as the initial investment , as you know, can be scary. I can't get the finish I would if it were pure beaver but then, the whole idea is to compete with the lesser finished brands. Hopefully, this will work to eventually let me retain an apprentice & keep him/her busy while learning.
 

DJH

I'll Lock Up
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6,351
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Ft Worth, TX
Art, wouldn't an apprentice have something like a 5 hour commute to where you live? :D:D

Seriously, it is really nice to see these - always good to shake things up and come up with new ideas.

That Olive felt is gorgeous - I could see me wearing a Journeyman, I'd have to talk you into a welted brim rather than the raw though!
 

JAVIER

Practically Family
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544
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Where's my Hat... ? in Upstate NY!
I was actually trying to keep the finish work to a minimum Javier but sure, I can use ribbon instead.

A drop down with some options such as http://www.mypanamahat.com/product_phc14.php (only referring to the drop down) would allow these hats to be customized, obviously with the options you make available. But i understand wanting to keep it limited too. I just think the hats are too good not to go into production, and this way they can with a little control from the end user/ buyer.
 

Short Balding Guy

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8,789
Location
Minnesota, USA
Art; The hats are terrific. I will keep them in mind for recommendations when I meet other horse husbands at my wifes horse show next month.

I know that opinions regarding fashion are very personal and regional. with that in mind, I share the following; I stop in at our local western goods and tack store perhaps a dozen times each year. The shop folks and I enjoy our visits (certainly my purchases for my wife’s horse needs :) ). We have spoken about hats and hat fashions the past year of my new hat wearing life. On a stop pre-holidays we were speaking to the “in-between hat. “ In between western and fedora. The discussion started by basically teasing me about my new VS sahara model I was showing them. To the “boys” in the shop it was a city mans hat. ( The loved everything about the materials and construction. ) The LL Bean, Stratoliner and a smaller brimmed OR were the styles mutually agreed make an in-between style. In this vain I had them change out a feathered band on an old Stetson Rancher (recieved it, and a cap gun, as a child in the early 60’s) for a narrow leather (ala LL Bean model) and it has become a hat I can wear around. We have been discussing changing the brim to a 2.5” (like my VS hats). I see as something I can wear it as an in-between hat.

The buckle is on a lot of the hats I see at the local shows and my local western shop. Art, if the market you are looking to is the in-between I would consider a narrower band (with appropriately smaller buckle) or even the narrow leather. Ala the in-between suggestions. Consider a nutria or rabbit blend or course with the in-between design(ala Strat/smaller OR, or LL Bean) and price. This creation would make a good in-between or an intro hat. An option of having a replacment ribbon band might be a clever option. I see the buckle bands being replaced at the shows so why not replace a leather buckle with a ribbon. I have seen tie, velcro being used on some bands. The western folks are pretty creative.

I recognize that I am not a normal customer as I straddle the hat worlds. I appreciate the rugged styles, see function in the stiff brims, yet spend much time in the city wearing a sport jacket, traveling and working in my suburban yard.
……….Wait, perhaps this is your sneaky way of getting me to adding yet another VS to the list of my future VS acquisitions. If that is the case, good for you it is working. I am considering.

I humbly submit the above as only my short balding guy opinion. Best wishes, Eric -
 
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Rabbit

Call Me a Cab
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2,561
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Germany
my 2 cents

I like the general idea - the option of a heavier felt for heavy use & abuse, in selected colors.

A very good choice of felt colors for the purpose. I'm sure the Natural can take quite a beating, too. These two colors might even be all that's needed (just my feeling), both Moss and Natural being very versatile.

One vote for another solution for a simple, easy-to-install hatband. Perhaps a narrow leather band without buckle?
 

Art Fawcett

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3,717
Location
Central Point, Or.
Javier, I see what you mean and this could be a good addition. I'm really on the fence for two reasons. First, I'm having a heck of a time getting changes ( of any kind) to happen on my site and second, by not having things like drop downs I'm removing myself from the retail fray, sort of.

SBG, I can certainly see what you are saying and after the initial opinions expressed here I'm already looking into alternatives. I've started trying to learn how to braid leather but the progress is pretty slow. Something about old dogs & new tricks I suspect.

DJH, you are right but we have a high school within 6 miles with a senior class of 37 so I'm hoping to attract someone that already lives close. If they have to come from Medford it's a 45 minute commute.
 
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10,039
Location
My mother's basement
FWIW, I have a fairly rough-finished former cowboy hat (it got something of a "crossover" treatment when I rebuilt it) that gets used when I expect to get rained on. It's a stiff, durable hat that has gotten thoroughly drenched on many, many occasions and is little the worse for it.

For a person who wants a hat to keep his or her head warm and dry for a good long while, under a variety of conditions, and stay looking good while doing it, there's a lot to recommend a heavier, stiffer body.
 
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10,523
Location
DnD Ranch, Cherokee County, GA
Art, I really like the Journeyman. Looks like a good "using" lid for outdoors = hunting/riding/chores/etc.
I'd like to see the other buckle options = something in antique brass to be muted for deer hunting = to not catch sunlight & shine to spook prey.

Love to see both with wider brim options = 2 7/8 on the Journeyman & 2 3/4 on the hitchhiker.

LOVE the blended felt body!

BTW, I have a similar band on my Resistol San Antonio as my "Justified" hat. Got a black one too...
 
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