I think this has been the hardest page to write! So naturally I haven't! One client asked me why this page was blank when I was such an interesting lady (isn't she sweet!). So here goes:
Unlike many millinery designers, I actually began because women were ASKING me to make hats. I was in the floral business making wreaths and home decorations from dried flowers. I lived in Ocean City, MD but traveled to Virginia and DC/Northern Virginia areas to sell by creations. First were the ladies of Richmond VA requesting me to make hats for them to wear to the local Horse Races and Easter Parade. Naturally, I explained dried flowers would not hold up when worn. Do you know a Richmond Lady? I always say, "Richmond ladies have grit." They know what they want, and they know how to get it. Trust me, no one ever told them "no one else is wearing hats." When a Richmond woman plans her outfit, it includes a HAT. They have not forgotten the art of being a lady! I was inspired! It seemed I had a market for my passion...Hats!
I was already wearing hats. Not as a fashion statement but to cover my overwhelming life of "bad hair days." In my search of hats, I encountered two major obstacles: Hats were always too big in head size: I would turn my head and the hat was still pointing in the other direction. Second issue was there are some really, REALLY poorly trimmed (decorated) hats out there...downright ugly and not fashion friendly.
Since I am still not getting this page written, I am going to reprint a local newspaper article a friend (and one of my "Angels" who assists during Derby Season), Anne-Marie wrote last year:
In our neighborhood lives a milliner (makes and trims ladies hats) in a charming 1925 Craftsman bungalow. You have probably seen her walking, biking or at a neighborhood event and almost always in a hat. Kathi is the milliner and owner of her exclusive online ladies hat shop, HAT-A-TUDE.com. She has built her business on the philosophy “It’s more than a Hat, it’s an Attitude!”
January of every year Kathi does not allow sleet or snow of New York City to deter her from her annual buying trip to find the latest hats and millinery trims for her designs. Hats for every season or reason are part of her limitless creations: Hats for Spring and Fall, for the Kentucky Derby and other horse races, weddings, churches, synagogues, Mother’s Day, graduation ceremonies, garden parties, cruises or just “I want to look fabulous” moments!
The months of March and April were a whirlwind for Kathi and her neighborhood “angels” who help in the office and shipping department. Over 550 hat orders were received online or by telephone for the annual Oaks and Kentucky Derby racing events held the first weekend in May. Kathi personally answered all questions and gave advice to her clients before each beautiful custom hat was made and shipped across the USA for this one weekend a year. Oh, not all of her hat ladies attend the actual races, but they see no reason not to have elaborate parties! This year the Royal Wedding added to the excitement.
Where does Kathi work her magic? She works from a studio behind her home in the Historic Old Northeast neighborhood in St. Petersburg, FL. There one sees stacks of hats and walls lined with ribbons, flowers and feathers! Ribbons of every width and imaginable color, flowers from cabbage roses to exotic blooms and feathers that delight the eye are within reach of her nimble fingers. As she turns the mannequin head that holds each hat, she creates a custom hat to be shipped in less than a week.
People often ask how this unique profession began for Kathi. Combine her floral design business, love of fashion, one Richmond lady named Joan asking her to design a hat followed by all Joan’s friends wanting hats and Hat-a-Tude was born! When Kathi moved from Ocean City MD to St. Petersburg in 2005, she began marketing her hat designs solely through the website. The biggest challenge for her is never seeing her customer and making the hat flatter the lady, her dress and the occasion. It is her belief,” If you don’t look good, I don’t look good!”
Kathi shares her passion: “Hats just make everyone smile. And doesn’t that just make the world a better place!”