A huge thank you to Star Binding/Printing Company!

Lately here at American Hat Makers, one of our biggest goals has been designing and attaining all new tip stickers for the inside of our hats. These stickers are meant to carry our name out into the world, and make sure that our hats are marked and noticeable so people know just where they came from! Hannah, our marketing director, spent months going from company to company trying to find a suitable match for manufacturing our tip stickers but to no avail. That is, until we found Star Binding/Printing Company!

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Our all new tip sticker design, thanks to Star Printing!

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In business for over 103 years, Star Binding/Printing are experts at what they do. Family owned since 1914, and providing exceptional service ever since, it’s very clear that they have made a name for themselves in the printing world. We were so excited when we came across them because we knew we had found our match. They worked with us so diligently in the design of our tip stickers and went to every length to insure that we were satisfied that we couldn’t go on without giving this awesome company a shout out. They said they love working with people in the hat industry because there are so many unique, interesting, and wonderful individuals they come across, and that everyone is so connected with each other! As far as their facility goes, it’s chock-full of original, antiquated equipment that was used since the start of the company. They even have an authentic Thomas Edison Dictaphone from 1878 on display!

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The Thomas Edison Dictaphone!

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Stuart’s grandfather (on the right) is still in charge of the company!

Their CEO is a man by the name of Stuart and he is the brains behind the operation, and is personally involved in every aspect of the company. He went to every length possible to deliver a product that was not only of the utmost quality, but carried us through the process with ultimate customer service. If you’re ever looking for a tip sticker or anything related to the countless other amazing services they provide, you can’t go wrong with choosing Star Printing/Binding! Here’s a link to their website!

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Garth and Stuart Zatlin – CEO
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The Extraordinary Doc Phineas!

We’d love to take some time to highlight one of our wonderful hat ambassadors! If the Steampunk world was personified into the body and soul of a single person, that person would be Doc Phineas! There’s hardly a more distinct character than he.

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Doc Phineas has an intriguing story for any day of the week! In fact, he’s probably runner-up for Most Interesting Man in the World! Doc is a seasoned world traveler, with experiences in 92 countries around the globe. He is a veteran actor who has starred in 15 Hollywood motion pictures. During his college years in the SF Bay Area he wrote, scored and produced 18 Broadway style shows which were produced at the Grace Church in San Jose, CA where he was Youth Minister. On top of this, he has produced 3 musical CD’s, authored 5 books, and has been teaching for over 45 years.

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It seems that since birth, even, Doc Phineas has had an affinity for artistic performance. At the age of 3, he went into full on dance lessons, tap, ballet, gymnastics, singing, violin, piano, and drum lessons. Every weekend his mother took him to do fancy dancing at Buffalo ranch in Akron, Oklahoma. From ages 5 to 8 he appeared as a regular tap dancer on the Pinky Lee Show on television, with appearances on Howdy Doody, the Mickey Mouse Club. He even made guest appearances on The Lone Ranger, Jungle Jim. As he got older his  piano skills really developed and he could play old fashioned rinky tink piano tunes. As a young teenager he was dressed up in a bowler and spatz and even a fake moustache, knocking out the tunes at the Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City, Kansas where they filmed Gunsmoke. Doc Phineas claims that he adopted the style known as Steampunk as early as the 1950’s!

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He soon landed a full scholarship to attend UC Berkeley and relocated to San Francisco, where he worked 3 jobs and produced broadway style shows for the children at a local church, where he was a youth minister. When he completed his BA degree he got a scholarship to study in India. He then headed off to India where he studied yoga under the tutelage of the great Indian saint Sri Anandamayi Ma. He completed his MCE at Madras University, and headed back to Berkeley to continue work on his Ph.D. He was very thin being 6 ft tall and when he returned from India he weighed only 105 lbs as he had gone through famine there. When he was walking in San Francisco one day in long flowing Indian clothing, the fashion diva Sabina saw him and signed him into her agency as a male model. He became a celebrated male model working for House of Dior in Paris and the house model of I Magnin in San Francisco appearing in GQ magazine and on fashion runways all over the world.

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His cousin was on her way to Hollywood to appear on Police Woman and St. Elsewhere so she took him to Hollywood and he ended up with parts on Young and Restless, and was featured in OOKid, Alexa, Out For Blood, Oakbay, Ardvarks, and Batman Forever. He was also working as a set designer and consequently ended up doing designing for Bette Davis, Doris Day, Barbara Streisand, and Michael Jackson for their homes. One night at a party for Wolfgang Puck, he met Tony Curtis. They became such great friends, Tony invited Doc to be on his production team and he worked with him on the last films of his life. He always plays characters that are like Steampunks and old characters in a Western city; the piano player in a bar, the old shop keeper in a western town. Tony asked Doc to move to Las Vegas so they could keep working together . In the year 2000 he had finished his Ph.D. at London University, Shefferton College, so he continued working in productions and teaching in the Las Vegas area. As a member of the Single Action Shooting Society he continued to work on Old Time Movies out at Bonnie Springs Ranch and Calico Ghost Town. Five years ago, he noticed the transformation of some of his students at UNLV to Victorian clothes, top hats, monocles and goggles. He told them he had been wearing that attire since he was a boy. They begged him to sponsor the Steampunk Group at UNLV they told him they couldn’t find one faculty member to back them up, that people laughed at them and they weren’t really welcome at Renaissance Faire…they loved this genre of fiction but they felt sad and alone. He decided it was time to resurrect Dr. Phineas, a character he had once played.

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He was named President of the Steampunk Guild and they got organized so that they could have meetings, learn more about garb, enjoy tea and conversation with eachother, work on wonderful inventions, and travel to archeological sites and digs all over the world including Valley of the Kings in Egypt! Without Doc Phineas’ drive and dedication to the fashion subgenre, who knows where the world of Steampunk would be!

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American Hero: Frank Shankwitz

It’s not too often that we’re graced with the opportunity to meet a true American hero. Around 8 years ago, while attending the Secret Knock seminar, we at American Hat Makers had the opportunity to receive invaluable advice from the one and only Frank Shankwitz. As one of the founders of the Make-a-Wish foundation, Frank has dedicated the majority of his life to impacting the lives of terminally ill children through his selfless acts.

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Raised in northern Arizona, Frank graduated from Prescott High School in 1961. Frank graduated from Phoenix College in 1970, with continuing education at Arizona Western College and Arizona State University.

 

Following high school, Frank enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, was stationed in England, and received an Honorable Discharge in 1965.  Upon returning home, Frank was employed by Motorola, Inc. for seven years. In 1972, Frank started his career with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, assigned to the Arizona Highway Patrol as a car officer assigned to Yuma, Arizona where Frank’s interest in working with children began as a coach for the Special Olympics program.

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In 1975, Frank was transferred to the Phoenix area to be part of a new 10-man Motorcycle Tactical Unit designed for work throughout the state. For the next 10 years, whenever assigned to small towns, Frank would visit local grade schools and talk about bicycle safety and let the children sit on his motorcycle.

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Frank was one of the primary officers from the Arizona Highway Patrol who was responsible for granting the “wish” of a 7-year old boy with leukemia, who wanted to be a Highway Patrol Motorcycle Officer like his heroes, Ponch and John from the television show, “CHiPs”. Chris was made the first and only Honorary Arizona Highway Patrol Officer in the history of the Arizona Highway Patrol, complete with a custom made uniform, badge, and Motor Officer Wings.

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Chris succumbed to his illness a few day after receiving his “wish”, and was buried with full police honors in Illinois, with Frank leading the police funeral procession. Chris was the inspiration for Frank’s idea to start a non-profit foundation that would let children ‘make a wish‘ and have it come true.

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Officers Frank Shankwitz and Scott Stahl flew back to Illinois for the funeral, where Chris was given the ceremony of a fellow fallen officer. From the time the two officers landed in Chicago to when they left again, word spread of their story, and they were amazed at how strangers were affected by it.  They talked on the flight home of making this the beginning of something wonderful for children. Meanwhile in Phoenix, similar discussions were taking place. At an officer’s retirement party, Shankwitz talked to Kathy McMorris, the wife of a DPS officer, about creating a wish-granting organization.That summer, a group of working-class DPS officers, friends and family gather.  That meeting marked the beginning of Make-A-Wish. The first donation is $15, given to Shankwitz by a grocery store manager. In November of 1980 the group receives its tax-exempt status as a non-profit organization.   By the following spring the group has raised $2000 and can grant its first official wish. Today, the organization grants wishes through its 61 chapters located throughout the US. Make-A-Wish also operates in 45 other countries around the world through 38 affiliate offices.

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Frank retired as a Homicide Detective from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, returned as a sworn Reserve Detective assigned to the Prescott Police Department Cold Case Homicide Unit, and is the current secretary/member with the Yavapai County Mounted Sheriff’s Posse. Frank has 42 years of service in law enforcement.

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Coming soon, a film centering around Frank’s life will be released. “Wish Man” covers Frank’s young life, the incidents and people who helped develop his character, and his adventures during his law enforcement career, including being killed in the line of duty and being brought back to life.  And, finally, it portrays his realization of what his mission in life was when he met Chris, the little boy who inspired Frank’s idea to create the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

frankgrouppicGreg Reid, Dave Corbin, Frank Shankwitz, and Garth Watrous at the U.N. Greg was the recipient of the coveted “Excellence in Leadership and Empowerment” award.

 

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 Actor Clarissa Burt and Philanthropy Frank exchange their iconic hat styles.

 

Having the rare opportunity to meet with someone so passionate about helping others is truly inspiring. Frank’s actions have guaranteed that sick children worldwide have the chance to experience life’s immense joys, and have truly solidified his reputation as an American hero.

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Business Highlight: Chapel Hats

Chapel Hats is a nationwide chain of high-end hat stores that is dedicated to providing a fun environment in which the consumer can find a hat that’s perfect for them. Every Chapel Hats store has a story to tell. An interesting fact about Chapel Hats is that they partner with architectural salvage companies to reclaim wood and iron to build the shelves, tables and cash counters used in their stores. Each store is built on history with the use of old pieces, and salvage from old shops, factories, schools, pubs, churches, etc. When you step foot in any of their shops you will be taken to a different time period!

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Chapel’s Chinook location.

We first got involved with Chapel Hats 6 years ago at a Las Vegas trade show. John Mckernan, owner and founder of Chapel Hats, came into our booth and remarked at how much he loved our Steampunk Hatter line. We instantly hit it off! John is honest, open, and willing to try new things, which is one of the core values we employ here at American Hat Makers. John is a knowledgeable buyer who is dedicated to the organic growth of his company and isn’t in a rush when it comes to the way he runs his business. The values he employs in his company insures that he does not get too big too fast and lose touch with his clientele.

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John is well known among hat enthusiasts for the impact his chain of shops has had on the hat world. By making high end, high quality hats more widely available to the public, a resurgence of hat styles has been started. Each location has a wide variety of styles in order to cater to a larger demographic. Chapel hats has a reputation for stocking new and cutting edge styles that keep them ahead of the curve when it comes to fashion.

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Working with such dedicated people, such as those at Chapel Hats, is always so rewarding. Our shared interest in hats and hat-making has really made Chapel Hats a part of the American Hat Makers family. Sharing such similar company values and culture has made Chapel Hats a pleasure to partner with! If you’re ever around one of their amazing locations go check them out! The vintage appeal of their stores is only surpassed by the many fashionable hat styles they carry!

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The amazingly talented Lindsey Stirling!

Lindsey Stirling  is an American violinist, dancer, performance artist, and composer.

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She presents choreographed violin performances, both live and in music videos found on her YouTube channel, which she created in 2007. Stirling performs a variety of music styles, from classical to pop and rock to electronic dance music. Aside from original work, her discography contains covers of songs by other musicians and various soundtracks. Her music video, “Crystallize” finished as the eighth-most watched video of 2012, and her cover version of “Radioactive” with Pentatonix won Response of the Year in the first Youtube Music Awards in 2013. Stirling achieved one million singles sold worldwide by August 2014. As of July 2016, her Lindseystomp YouTube channel exceeded 8 million subscribers and over a billion total views. Stirling has been named in Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 In Music: The Class Of 2015. Forbes notes her quarter-finalist position on America’s Got Talent in 2010, a No. 2 position on the Billboard 200 for her second album Shatter Me in 2014, and her 8 million subscribers on YouTube. Stirling’s debut album was a commercial success in Europe, selling 200,000 copies in Germany, winning a platinum certification; three additional certifications were given by Austria, Switzerland and Poland. The debut album was nominated for the 2014 Billboard Music Awards for Top Dance/ Electronic album. Stirling’s second album Shatter Me won the 2015 Billboard Music Awards for Top Dance/Electronic Album. Check out this awesome video, Roundtable Rival, to see just how talented Lindsey is!

 

 

Her dancers are always so coordinated and alluring! It’s always such a pleasure watching one of Lindsey’s videos. She’s so obviously passionate about what she does, seeing someone create something so beautiful and genuine is so inspiring!

 

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Lindsey and the Roundtable Rival dancers. The top hat on the left is a Trinket!

Stirling describes her childhood as being raised in a modest household and stated “I would not trade my humble childhood years for anything else. Due to her family’s financial limitations, her parents could only afford to find a violin teacher who would give her half lessons. Told by instructors that “a child isn’t going to learn how to play in 15 minutes a week”, her parents persisted, and at the age of five she began taking violin lessons. You can see where this led!

 

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Lindsey with the Master of Tides dancers. The hats pictured here are the Pipefitter, Kraken, and Trinket!

Nowadays, Lindsey is recording amazing music and stunning crowds with performance pieces like “Master of Tides”. Lindsey partnered with UE Boom to create a live, spontaneous performance piece in a crowded plaza and filmed it with hidden cameras! Check out this one-of-a-kind performance!

 

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Whenever we get the chance to partner with such a unique, creative-minded individual such as Lindsey, we’re reminded of why we do what we do! At American Hat Makers, we strive to create masterful pieces of art, so that artists like Lindsey can achieve their vision and continue to fill the world with captivating and genuine art!

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Prosperity Camp

This year’s Prosperity Camp was such a fun and fulfilling experience! For those that don’t know, Prosperity Camp is a 2-day seminar created by Greg Reid where the lucky few that attend have the opportunity to interview and discuss key points of business with a multitude of successful entrepreneurs. The energy, information, and networking we walked away with was invaluable and we left feeling completely fulfilled and ready to improve the way we approach running our company. Along the way we met so many interesting, amazing, and driven people who’s experiences gave valuable insights on many aspects of living your life to it’s full potential.

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We at American Hat Maker’s are all about constant improvement in all aspects of life, so we of course jumped at the opportunity to attend such a useful event. Among those we met there was Jeff Hoffman. Jeff is a successful entrepreneur, proven CEO, worldwide motivational speaker, published author, film producer, and a producer of a Grammy-winning jazz album in 2015. He has been the founder of multiple startups, a CEO of both public and private companies, and has served as a senior executive in many capacities. Jeff has been part of a number of well-known companies, including Priceline.com. uBid.com, ColorJar, and more.

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Steampunk Couture!

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Steampunk has elevated past a cultural fad and graduated into a way of life. It’s influence can be seen everywhere when it comes to art, television and cinema. Allowing for the uninhibited creation of beautiful masterpieces, steampunk and its’ subgenres has opened entire worlds of artistic possibility. Harnessing the energy and soul of such a powerful movement would be hard, but not impossible.

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Kato wearing a limited edition Curio.

Such a daring, unlimited universe would require someone with equal daring and drive! Introducing Kate Lambert, or Kato. Pioneering the steampunk subgenre from the early 2000’s onward, Kato has become one of the biggest faces in the steampunk community. Starting off making post-apocalyptic wear and modelling it on her Myspace page, Kato’s influences drew heavily from Victorian styles mixed with elements from the Mad Max universe and Tank Girl.

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Kato showing exactly how to rock a brown Topper.

In 2005 Kato launched Steampunk Couture. Steampunk Couture was founded as a private couture business producing custom-fit clothing and accessories, and was the first company to cater specifically to the steampunk genre.  Focusing on high quality with a hand-made touch, this independent label remains as a one-woman team, adding a personal touch while striving to make each collection exciting and unique. Kato releases seasonal collections of limited edition designs throughout the year, as well as vintage finds and accessories.

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Rin wearing a limited-edition Pistol.

Another influential name in the world of steampunk is Katrina Wilkinson, or Rin! Rin is a model and college student based in Las Vegas. Rin never had a big interest in becoming a model until she did her first photo shoot for graduation. After that, she continued doing photo shoots for other students, and from there it developed into a passion!

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In 2010, Rin discovered the amazing world of steampunk. Rin’s obsession with clockwork and steam-powered machinery put her right at home in the steampunk world. In 2012, after following Kato for quite some time, Rin entered a “Cosplay Kato” contest. Rin was chosen as the winner and was flown up to Portland, Oregon where she modeled for Kato’s clothing line and website. From then on, Rin and Kato became close friends and business partners. Today, Rin’s modelling is used in and inspires many steampunk works. Her unique look and eye for style has made her one of the most recognizable and in-demand steampunk models. For the latest in amazing, high quality steampunk fashion check out Steampunk Couture and Rin’s Facebook!

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