The business Fresh Hats isn’t new at the market but the hats are fresh as can be.
Rene Ewbank has 11 styles of hats in production, “I have three styles crocheted, the rest are made out of fabric, three styles of brimmed hats, three styles of caps, best attachable party hood and stocking caps.
Three of my caps are in reversible fabrics and everything is washable.”
When you see a Fresh Hat you will recognize it because every brim and bill has some cosmic geometry stitched on it.
When I asked Rene what the origin is of the pattern she said, “Well, they were way more interesting to work on than going round and round and it has become my trademark, it takes them from being hats to being art.
“For me it is all about ‘love on your head,’ if I don’t love making the hat then you don’t get love on your head.” You will see the little tag on her hat with the quote “Love on Your Head.” I always hear her telling folks, “These hats are love on on your head,” and she can’t say enough about how much she enjoys making them.
Rene began selling hats in 2000 while doing various odd jobs to survive as a small businesswoman. The name Fresh Hats began in 2003, “I decided I liked making hats more than all my other odd jobs which were taking me all over the map. Love on Your Head hatched shortly after.”
I asked her how she makes her product and she replied, “Everything that is made out of fabric is made on a 1940 Singer treadle sewing machine, while the others are made with a crochet hook. There is no electricity used in my process.”
Rene got into sewing started really young. “When I was just past being a toddler, 5 or 6, I had a needle and thread, I started sewing for others with patterns I drafted at age 12 and by age 16 I was making three-piece tuxedos and overcoats. I rather enjoy it still, amazingly. I enjoy it because I don’t have to think about it anymore and I still have challenges which I like, plus I don’t have to go anywhere to do it.”
Rene tells me, “This is my full source of income — for 14 years I have been in business. The hats became my full source of income vending at farmers markets and events years ago.”
As for the future of the business, “I used to travel and do shows around the area, over weekends. This year I had some big home expenses so I only did farmers markets and not expensive shows. I used to not vend in the winter, during the time of year when many use hats. This year I will be vending in Port Angeles during the winter and I will be at the Sequim Farmers Market Holiday Show Nov. 16 at Carrie Blake Park.
“I like the community, the fellow vendors and the music. The market is my community, it is sound, strong and worthwhile plus it’s cost effective.”
“What I love at the market is when people, like this woman from Bainbridge, for example, had gotten a hat from me somewhere at a show along the way, didn’t know where to find me, came to Sequim for something else and found me and was ecstatic and bought a bunch of hats. Then she brought a friend a few weeks later and they both bought a couple more hats. She was so much fun. They were just sweethearts. She brought her old hat from 2006 to show me, it took her a long time to find me again.”
Come visit Rene of Fresh Hats at the market this week, she has pointy hats which are fun for Halloween, she says, “They give you better reception and ventilation, fostering an aura of delight or menace.”
“All the hats are special, none is more special than another.”
The music will be Howly Slim and Sandy Somers on the Sept. 28 and Open Mic on Oct. 5. Live music is always free and always 11 a.m.-2 p.m.