It’s not unusual for a company to have a list of core values. What is unusual is for one of those to be “be happy and weird.”
Then again, thanks to Garth Watrous, American Hat Makers isn’t your usual company. From “Keep It Weird Wednesdays” to a rousing game of line ball at lunch, the Watrous family is dedicated to promoting a sense of fun and family in the workplace.
Son of founder Gary Watrous, Garth Watrous has taken a hands on, interactive approach to managing the team at American Hat Makers since he became partner in 2005. “We’ve always made incredibly good hats,” Garth said. “So I decided to focus on company culture, promoting teamwork and connection and sharing fun and laughter with the team.”
Garth is dedicated to hiring incredible people who really want to find a home and grow with American Hat Makers. To help team members thrive – inside and outside of work hours – Garth focuses on mentoring, training and authentically connecting with each and every person at American Hat Makers. “Connection has always been important in my life,” he explained. “If we notice someone is struggling, or we see fear or uncertainty growing among the team, we address it. It is important to maintain open communication with our entire team.”
If nothing else, Garth wants everyone at the company to feel like they are appreciated, valued and trusted to make good choices for themselves and the business. Garth is not afraid of change and he wants to engender that spirit of innovation and fearlessness into the culture at American Hat Makers. When he first became partner he instituted a practice where anyone could make a decision that impacted the company up to $50. Since then, he has increased the limit to $500 with nothing but positive results. “When you are hired you are encouraged to try new things and we trust you to make independent decisions,” he said. “I believe this makes our team feel more connected, more confident and more fulfilled in their work environment.”
Ultimately, Garth is driven by a strong desire to stay true to his personal beliefs. Fortunately for the team at American Hat Makers, primary among them is to treat everyone kindly and, as he puts it, “to love them up.”
We hope you feel that love when you wear a hat from American Hat Makers.