Tell us about your business.Bonnet is a hat shop and millinery. We opened in 2008 in Portland, Oregon, with the goal of supporting local artists and focusing on quality made products. A few years in to trying to source the perfect hats for our collection, we decided to whip one up ourselves. We foraged for wool and velour felts, parasisal straw, troves of vintage ribbon, and got to work on a vintage set of hat blocks. We’ve been making them ever since.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.We make everything right in our little retail shop in Portland, Oregon. We hand-block, trim and sew on a vintage buffet -- the drawers filled with ribbon, new and vintage, collected with care over the past years. Our assortment of cloth heads and wooden hat blocks assist in shaping each hat with the help of a little steam. Our entire process is free from chemicals and starches, so we end up with something pure and simple, and dodge the mad hatter status. A vintage sewing machine is used to finish the edges of the straw hats, with any other sewing done by hand. We enjoy keeping the production process within the customers' view, sharing our design process with those who care to peek in.
What inspires you?Our biggest inspiration is our customers. By listening to what they want out of a hat, we go to work creating something that works for them. We're passionate about creating styles that can accompany you to the dog park, to the beach, or to a family gathering. And when life throws you fantastic occasions, we're happy to make you the perfect accessory for your Kentucky Derby ensemble, your son's wedding, or that Gatsby party your colleague is throwing. Our muses are actors and movies from the twenties through the forties. We strive to bring a little glamour into your everyday life.
What makes your business stand out?We are one of the few milliners who are bringing the hat into modern times. By focusing on face-flattering, simple, every day styles, we are making the hat part of the urban ensemble. On another level, we see more and more young, vibrant women going through cancer treatment. Having something lovely to wear on your head helps you feel that you haven’t lost your sense of self. We care deeply about our customers, and by offering discounts to those who need to build their hat wardrobe for medical reasons, and by donating to local cancer charities, we're doing our part to help make treatment easier.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?Part of the value of your work is the joy you experience in creating it.
What does American Made mean to you?American Made means Main Street America -- entrepreneurs designing and manufacturing quality, well-thought-out products for our neighbors, and supporting others doing the same. American Made is a frame of mind as much as it is a literal statement. By making and shopping local, we're helping our communities become stronger and more self-reliant, and allowing artisans and crafters to not only make a living, but to thrive in their creativity.
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NOMINATIONS ENDAug. 31, 2015
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Final day to cast your vote for your favorite makers.
WINNERS ANNOUNCEDOct. 23, 2015
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AMERICAN MADE SUMMITNov. 7, 2015
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