ELSEWHERE X BOLLMAN HAT COMPANY
Adamstown is a modest town, with a massive history of making hats. The town itself is quite small, but it holds itself proudly in the center of Pennsylvania. Many of its residents have at one time worked their way to a solid paycheck by handling part of the process at the multi-acre hat factory on the hill where Bollman Hat Co. calls home. It is much like any small town in USA we guess, but to us this one town holds a higher prestige being that there are master craftspeople at work every day hand making the finest hats you can find in the USA.
It takes over 35 hand touches to make a single hat. That process equates to be about 2 to 3 hours for each sombrero we made. Yes, there is machinery to use; steam, drying, stretching, cleaning, sanding, and more, but hands and human interaction are involved in every process. There is no one process that is completely automated in making a fur felted hat at the factory. If you can believe it, some specialists at Bollman Hat Co. are the only folks talented enough to hold their role in the process. Just think if they were to get ill, or retire! This speaks to the heritage of the company and their care of the employee, customer and the end product.
Many companies could learn how to operate with excellence based on the culture at Bollman Hats. Being on hand to see how a hat comes to life is enough to leave you speechless for days. The time and effort goes into each hat at the home office would leave any person feeling their product should cost 7 to 10 times what they do.
Our final design decision after hours with the designers at Bollman Hats was a blend of our initial direction: Tall Crown, 4 inch brim, Split Cattleman's look, Black in color. No trim, but just a string that we apply (can be removed by the user as preferred). Make a quantity of 38 or so. Also we spent a solid amount of time to design a protective box to round out the whole package, with artwork from our newest pal from Instagram, Cheyne Brooking .
Bollman Hat Co. - Alexis Biondi for having faith in us and to Tara for helping advise on technical details. Cheyne Brooking for creating some amazing lettering and artwork by hand, and for just being a super human. Seizure Palace - Fran and Nick for the constant care , direction, telling us about Custom Box,( and the list goes on) and kick-ass attitude to get things done. Custom Box Service - Jeff and Nick for helping us recreate an amazing vintage hat box we had found along the way. Brad Vaterlaus for helping soak up the first trip to the factory with us and keeping up with my hectic pace and constant distraction. Travis and Lauren for letting us drag them along to one of our many factory visits in Adamstown. Blue Moon Camera and Machine for constantly making our film look the best it can ( especially the scan work and consistent smiles by Anne ). Everyone who buys one of our hats because all this stuff isn't always easy to pay for, but we hope you find it worth every penny.
If you care to read a much deeper story, you can head to our journal and read design notes, journal posts from the various trips to NYC to build this project and more. Just use the filter and select Elsewhere003.