Originally founded in 1908 in New York City, The Headwear Association is the oldest trade association in the fashion industry, and is dedicated to promoting hats and the headwear industry throughout the world, and to foster goodwill and fellowship among those engaged in the headwear industry.
This year’s dinner is a bit of a special time for not just us here at American Hat Makers, but for everyone at the Headwear Association. Garth’s term as president has come to an end, and at tonight’s dinner we are passing the torch to Gerry Miller Jr.
“Serving as president has been an ultimate honor”, says Garth. “Being able to usher new business relationships and do my part to drive the hat industry to new heights has been such a gift.”
The night went so splendidly. Naturally, we started with the business end of things, and to unwind after that we had a little cocktail hour. After that, we had a wonderful fashion show featuring all of the new styles that everyone is testing out. It was absolutely amazing!
Seeing all the gorgeous outfits made us quite hungry, and we ate a fabulous dinner to prep us for the awards show. Retailer of the Year went to Hatsational!
The Ben Rosenthal Award went to Douglas Highsmith of Dorfman Pacific hat company.
The Lieberman Award went to the one and only Garth Watrous of American Hat Makers.
And finally, the Fit Scholarship went to Marisa Belfiore.
Hannah and Carol Fit Professor Millinery and Accessories Dept
Lovely Millinery Ladies
Flashback pictures of Garth and Hannah Watrous
Annual group photo stay tuned for updated photo from photographer
Socializing at the event
Garth, Don R, BobB
Zack @ Village Hats
This year the headwear Association provided pedicabs to shuttle us to The Boathouse. On corner of 5th Ave and 72nd and look for the pedicab drivers in the RED KANGOL Hats.
Thank you Ruby Roxanne for designing Hannah’s Hats every year.
American Hat Makers is pleased to introduce you to our new line of gorgeous handbags and accessories made from repurposed leather scraps from our hat making facility.
As American Hat Makers has grown, we have found ourselves with more and more scrap leather left over from our increased hat production. As dedicated stewards of our natural resources we wanted to utilize our leftover leather in a meaningful way.
To that end, our talented designers have worked with our team to produce these gorgeous, super-durable leather handbags and totes. The result is beautifully simple handbags that show off their raw, bohemian nature and offer extreme durability, water-resistance, and a lifetime guarantee.
Just like our hats, these bags are proudly Handmade in America with high-quality leather. Each bag is unique – as no two pieces of genuine leather are alike. Each scrap of leather is being repurposed into a one-of-a-kind piece.
In addition to our tote, messenger, and festival bags, we also offer handmade leather chokers, cuffs, and bag accessories. Now you can be fully outfitted at Coachella with your hat, choker, cuff, and bag!
Our sturdy totes come in small, medium, and large sizes – pick the perfect one for the days’ errands, a trip to the beach, or a day at work or school.
Perfect for school, work, or every day, our men’s and women’s satchels are made of supple leather and feature a long shoulder strap that can be easily adjusted with fashionable brass rivets.
Effortlessly channel the easy-going music festival vibe every day of the year with our fringed shoulder bags in a small or medium.
Come check out our smokin’ deals on these awesome bags all of which are available in black or natural brown. Because we are repurposing leather that may otherwise end up in the landfill, we are able to offer these items to you at incredible prices – but you better act fast, because once they are gone, they are gone!
Hardly a more powerful term has ever been coined. Hearing Rock and Roll can conjure images of leather, pyrotechnics, and powerful motorcycles, however these are not the only things that define Rock and Roll. At its core, Rock and Roll is the spirit and drive that all passionate musicians pour into their music. To be a part of such a free-spirited and rip-roaring genre would require equally powerful musicians.
Steven Tyler is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and former television music competition judge, best known as the lead singer of the Boston-based rock band Aerosmith, in which he also plays the harmonica, and occasional piano and percussion. He is known as the “Demon of Screamin'” due to his high screams and his wide vocal range. He is also known for his on-stage acrobatics. During his high-energy performances, Tyler usually dresses in bright, colorful outfits with his trademark scarves hanging from his microphone stand.
Alice Cooper is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over five decades. With his distinctive raspy voice and a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, deadly snakes, baby dolls, and dueling swords, Cooper is considered by music journalists and peers alike to be “The Godfather of Shock Rock”. He has drawn equally from horror films, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a macabre and theatrical brand of rock designed to shock people.
Vincent Paul Abbott, also known as Vinnie Paul, is an American professional drummer and producer who is best known for being a former member, and co-founder, of the heavy metal band Pantera. He is currently a member of supergroup Hellyeah. He also co-founded the heavy metal band Damageplan in 2003 with his late younger brother, Dimebag Darrell.
Joseph Thomas “Joe” Elliott is an English singer-songwriter and musician, best known as the lead singer of the English rock band Def Leppard. He has also been the lead singer of the David Bowie tribute band the Cybernauts and the Mott the Hoople cover band Down ‘n’ Outz. He is one of the two original members of Def Leppard and one of the three to perform on every Def Leppard album.
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal wearing a limited edition Plainsman.
RonBlumenthal, better known by his stage name Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, is an American guitarist, songwriter, recording artist and producer. He adopted his nickname from the bacterial infection of the same name, which he learned about while helping his wife study for her veterinary exams. The name went from being just the name of an album, to the name of a record label, to a band name, to eventually his name as a solo artist. He was one of two lead guitarists in Guns N’ Roses from 2006 until 2014 and performed on their sixth studio album Chinese Democracy.
James William Durbin is an American singer and guitarist from Santa Cruz, California who finished in fourth place on the tenth season of American Idol. Durbin is currently the lead singer for the heavy metal band, Quiet Riot. He was the lead singer in a band called Hollywood Scars, where he went by the stage name of Jimmy Levox. Influenced by bands such as Metallica, Pantera, Judas Priest, Dream Theater, Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden and Motley Crue, Hollywood Scars drew their inspiration from the glitz, glam, and decadence of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip in the 1980s and early 1990s. The band released a single entitled “Under The Cherry Tree”.
Todd Ögren-Brooks is the ultra talented keyboardist for the band Rival Sons. Rival Sons is an American rock band from Long Beach, California. Rival Sons was formed in 2009 from the ashes of guitarist Scott Holiday’s previous band Black Summer Crush (which featured Michael Miley on drums and Robin Everhart on bass). The band took shape when singer Jay Buchanan was persuaded to come in as vocalist on the re-recording of Before the Fire. The band currently features bassist Dave Beste after Robin Everhart left in August 2013. They are currently signed to Earache Records. In September 2013 Rival Sons supported Sammy Hagar across the US then played Hard Rock Vegas in December and started the New Year by headlining a street party in their hometown of Long Beach. Rival Sons toured the United Kingdom from March to April 2015 as well as playing the main stage at Download Festival in 2016. In October 2015 they recorded their fifth album Hollow Bones again with Dave Cobb in just three weeks. The album was released July 2016. After the recording they toured with Deep Purple in Europe. In 2016 they toured as main support for the entire Black Sabbath farewell world tour lasting the entire run.
Dave Yaden is a producer, songwriter and actor, he has co-written songs on records by Tyler Hilton, Josh Kelley, Josh Hoge, Curtis Peoples, and Lady Antebellum. Dave cut his teeth in the LA music scene playing in a number of bands while attending USC. He signed a record contract with Atlantic Records alongside singer-songwriter Joe Firstman. With Joe, he toured the country, opening for everyone from Sheryl Crow to Michelle Branch to Willie Nelson. He has recorded and performed with Josh Kelley, cowritten many songs on Josh’s records and played on his hit Amazing, featuring a prominent wurlitzer solo by Dave. He has appeared numerous times on a number of national television shows including Good Morning America, CDUSA, The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Tonight Show, MTVs TRL, and Late night with Carson Daly.
Kenny Kweens is an American musician who is best known for his nine-year tenure as bassist in the hard rock band Beautiful Creatures In 2009, Kweens left the group and joined L.A Guns (fronted by Phil Lewis), replacing previous bassist Scott Griffin. However, in 2011, Kweens departed, replaced by Griffin. On September 22, 2014, it was announced that Griffin had once again departed the band, and Kweens rejoined the band. Prior to joining Beautiful Creatures, Kweens was a member of Shake the Faith, No. 9, Diamond Star Halo and Melody Black while in 2008 he formed his own solo project titled Villains of Vaudeville.
Steven Scott “Steve” Harwell is an American musician who is best known as the lead vocalist for the band Smash Mouth. Smash Mouth is an American rock band from San Jose, California. The band was formed in 1994, and was originally composed of Steve Harwell (vocals), Kevin Coleman (drums), Greg Camp (guitar), and Paul De Lisle (bass). They are known for songs such as “Walkin’ on the Sun” (1997), “All-Star” (1999), and a cover of The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer” (2001), the latter two of which were featured on the soundtrack for the animated film Shrek.
The power of Rock N’ Roll is far reaching and intoxicating! Once you travel down the road of rock, you’ll never look back!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
Lindsey Stirling is an American violinist, dancer, performance artist, and composer.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
Just as the shopkeeper told Harry Potter, “The wand chooses the wizard…” so does the hat choose you!
It is not an unusual occurrence that someone will come into the shop and say they are “just looking” and don’t want our help. But they go on to try on hat after hat, looking for the “right one” while our sales person is standing by, hat in hand, waiting patiently.
You see, our sales people are trained hat whisperers, and they know how to listen. They can see the customer’s energy and can listen to which hat is calling to them.
Beth Watrous helping customers pick their perfect hat.
Our sales people may ask you a few questions to help narrow your options, such as:
Is this hat for everyday wear or a special occasion?
Have you heard of SyFy’s competition series, Face Off? It’s an absolutely crazy show where special effects make-up artists participate in elaborate challenges for a grand prize and the honor of being Hollywood’s next great effects artist.
Gotta get it just right!
We at American Hat Makers love seeing what other creative minds can do, so naturally this show was right up our alley! Seeing the contestants give their all at something they are so passionate about is awe inspiring!
We’ve been introduced to some really unique and talented individuals such as Cig Neutron! As the love child of 80’s campiness and 50’s sci-fi, Cig Neutron has been creating creatures from his imagination — his “Cig Neutron Universe” — since childhood. He crafts an elaborate story for all the creatures he designs in order to better realize his sculpts.
Mr. Cig Neutron looking gloriously dapper!
He is currently a special effects make-up artist and a freelance sculptor, and co-founder of his company Bizarro Au Go-Go. In 2013, he won the Son of Monsterpalooza costume contest with his Baphomet makeup. Cig and his girlfriend Rani enjoy dressing up in full creature makeup and going out to karaoke bars.
Rani rocking a Draco with her amazing makeup!
We also got to meet the amazing Rachael Wagner! Rachael Wagner is an accomplished makeup artist with a professional concentration in special effects makeup, creating and applying highly realistic prosthetics for film, television and live events. She is a graduate of Make-up Designory’s Master Program and a finalist in multiple IMATS Battle of the Brushes events. She has worked with and for many diverse clientele, including Fall Out Boy, National Geographic, Girl Scouts of America, the Metropolitan Opera, Universal Studios, Hyundai, Nerdist, Syfy, MGMT, Solar City, Sheroes Entertainment LLC , the Magic Castle and DragonCon. Rachael has returned to freelancing after almost a year of working as Global Effects Inc’s project supervisor, a prestigious costume and fabrication shop with whom she had the honor of working on many special projects, including Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Castle, the upcoming film Geostorm and a host of live events including Universal’s stage shows.
Rachael knows how to wear a Garbo just right!
Among others we had the pleasure of interacting with was RJ Haddy! Robert “RJ” Haddy’s goal when he was cast in season two of Face Off was to give his career a push so that he could quit teaching high school and work full time on his art. Mission accomplished. These days, RJ works full time creating special effects and running an e-commerce site selling airbrush equipment, including his own Shadow line of brushes. He hopes that his new confidence and refined techniques will propel him to new heights in the special FX world. He’d like to use the champion’s prize money to build up his airbrush business, and also to allow his mother to retire. His favorite movies with special effects are Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Little Shop of Horrors, Star Wars, Batman (1989), Beetlejuice and Gremlins.
RJ as the Penguin, and Merry Lee.
Seeing our hats grace the heads of such inspiring, driven, and creative individuals is exactly why we do what we do. Being around others who have the same mission to create art and impact the community pushes us to reach for higher standards when it comes to every aspect of the way we do things. Don’t forget to check into Syfy channel on January 24th for the newest season of Face Off and keep an eye out for the latest and greatest in headwear only from American Hat Makers.
One of the first things you notice about Hannah Bertollini Watrous is the warmth of her smile. Most likely the second will be the warmth of her hug, because whether she is meeting you for the first, or fifty-first, time she will greet you like you are a long lost friend.
It’s that open joy that drives Hannah’s work as the Global Brand Marketing Manager for Watsonville-based American Hat Makers. Hannah is an integral piece of the family business (Husband Garth is the son of Founder Gary Watrous), whose mission is, “Having fun, laughing often, and honoring everyone’s unique strengths.”
When I first met Hannah it was not long after American Hat Makers had moved into their large warehouse near the Watsonville airport. What began as a one-man operation in her father-in-law’s garage over 40 years ago has since grown to employ 50 positive and fun loving people who work together to produce the finest, most striking, handmade leather hats in the world.
As Global Brand Marketing Manager, Hannah is tasked with promoting several unique brands under the American Hat Makers umbrella. This is no small task, as each line has its own distinct personality. Her work takes her all over the country, from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, to high-end trade shows in Las Vegas and New York.
Regardless of how many miles she is logging, Hannah’s priority is family first and foremost. “I love that my beautiful daughters (Gianna, 23 and Leilani, 16) have the courage to follow their dreams, take risks, and fall short. They both love deeply, are knowledgeable, athletic, nurturing, humorous, and part of the next generation of entrepreneurs who will make a difference in our community,” she said.
As far as her marriage is concerned, Hannah clearly loves working with her husband Garth as much as she loves him. “We really complement each other. I’m proud of the fact that we work so hard on our relationship so that our girls are able to see what a healthy relationship looks like – to be respected, loved, and enjoy life to the fullest!”
Clean and sober for over 18 years, Hannah is now addicted to living life fully present and finding love and laughter in every day. Her dedication to enjoying life is evident in every aspect of her being. With her guidance, American Hat Makers dedicates as much to the fulfillment of their employees as they do to making amazing hats. She and Garth mentor employees, provide monthly themed breakfasts and lunches and Keep it Weird days (where everyone dresses up and laughter and smiles abound!) They work to encourage each and every employee to become their highest selves and fulfill their dreams.
One of the things Hannah feels most strongly about is helping the community. “I know we are fortunate to live a charmed life and it feels exceptionally good for my family to be able to give to those in need.”
Whether it is through American Hat Makers’ annual Hat Day in the Sun event, where they give away hundreds of hats and educate the community about protecting their faces from the sun, or by gifting beanies and socks to the homeless each winter through their Headwear for the Homeless campaign, Hannah knows it is through giving that we receive much more.
“I used to really worry about what others thought of me,” she said. “Now I feel incredible knowing I work hard at keeping my side of the street clean and discovering how I can be the best me, and finding ways to impact our world in a positive way. There’s not a doubt in my mind that I can make a difference.I have an abundance of Faith in the outcome.”