A busy week this week not just from a productive hat point of view but cognitively with the design planning and launching of a web site and Instagram account, which I have been assured is a successful way to market a small cottage industry such as mine, in its infancy. Imagine the look of horror on my face as I heard the words ‘get a web site’ and ‘Instagram’ never mind the dreaded ‘hash tag’ word. Now I am not a technophobe and thanks to my sons who have grown up with all of this and my own involvement with technological evolution through 35 years of working  I thought ‘it won’t be so bad’.  Well suffice to say it was a learning curve. Now I can do the usual, I can surf the net, send emails, attachments, links etc, copy, past, blah blah as good as the rest but navigating around a website under construction wasn’t all plain sailing. In fact my eldest, the ever patient Justin, lost his patience, elbowed me out of the way and basically did it for me. Hurrah! One website up and running.

The hats. Settling down on Monday 17th April 2017 to my first week of full time hat making I surveyed my tiny little world of millinery around me, a 10ft by 8ft sturdy pine wood cabin, with as much light flooding in as possible to compensate for my worsening eyesight. A table with digital radio that links with I phone for total music satisfaction, a shelf for tablet (essential for Netflix), oil heater essential for when it gets a bit chilly by 4.pm, iron essential for when it goes wrong, steamer essential for shape, re shape and re shape again, and of course a very long power extension lead for these things to plug into.

I then eyed my apron. Now this is probably the most important piece of equipment.  When I put my apron on I actually feel as though I am at ‘work’. It has pockets for snippy scissors, thimbles, plasters for needle stabbing injuries, hat block pins (bit silly really as they are like bramble thorns), little bits and bobs that I am continuously picking up and moving about on and off hats in progress.  It has a clever way of focusing the mind which keeps me in the shed and out of  the house. The dogs settle on the dog bed, I reach for the chewing gum (horrid habit I know but it stops me sucking sweets) and pick up the deed for the day.

Last week I managed to re shape and spruce up old stock and restore them to their event level presentation, consider redesigning hats that were rarely looked at as 10 out of 50 came home after last year and it’s always good to revamp poor sellers,  so this little job was a good introduction back into hat making after a winter of rest. This week I managed to block and pin three hats. A man’s fedora, a black brushed velvet cap, and a red wine ‘pork pie with cloche’ style brim, finishing them off completely with hat silks, wire brims, leather sweat band and hat elastics and began the shaping of two others. Amazing what you can get done when you STAY IN THE SHED! I am also now an avid fan of MAD MEN!

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