Jennie Hart Robinson of Glory B Hats talks about her fun and wacky craft concept – and her sales success!
ABI: How did you start making hats?
JHR: I have known how to make party hats for quite some time….but really this whole thing started when we celebrated my Mom and Dad’s combined 70th birthdays. My family and I threw them a second childhood birthday party complete with pin the tail on the donkey, hula hoops, face painting and handmade paper party hats. The hats were an instant ice breaker and the party was a huge hit.
Jane and Billy Pritchard of Stray Dog Designs were at the party and invited me to make hats in their showroom during the AmericasMart in Atlanta. A huge buzz ensued and I got the courage to approach AmericasMart about providing hats for their events during the market. Three years later, I continue on my rollicking adventure of creating a paper hat business.
ABI: What materials do you use?
JHR: I am a mom of three boys. I live on my family farm in Georgia where I gather many of the feathers, lichen, bark, bean pods and natural materials used on my hats. Other embellishments include sparkling accents, tassells, tissue fringe, flowers and greenery….and paper paper paper! Having a large basket of colorful flowers is very inspirational to me!
ABI: How do you fill wholesale orders since your work is one-of-a-kind?
JHR: My work is one of a kind; however, there are certain styles of each hat that are consistent. Within each style, I can vary the color and embellishments that are used. I do give my customers some say so in their hat choices. I encourage them to give me descriptive adjectives about their shop, their customers and if they have a specific event in mind for the hats. Some of my favorite adjectives are woodsy, natural, organic, flamboyant, over the top. I also love to work within specific color schemes. And I always love the person who gives me an order and says, “Do what you do, create me something wonderful!”
ABI: What type of stores buy from you?
JHR: All sorts of stores buy from me….garden stores, she-she boutiques, stationery shops, book stores, furniture stores, hospital gift shops, galleries, as well as event and party planners.
ABI: What do you like best about exhibiting at wholesale trade shows?
JHR: Wholesale shows are great because of the geographical reach! I have customers in Australia, California, New York, Puerto Rico etc etc. Its a great opportunity to catch up face to face and get feedback on whats working in the shops, get display tips and there is always a funny story because the hats themselves are contageous joy makers, they lighten the mood, they get used in many many different arenas…. weddings, teas, street parties, dinner parties, derby events, gallery openings, one customer even ran a marathon in hers!!