I have to laugh when I tell people I failed textiles in high school. It seems ridiculous to think that it’s now my purpose and career. Perhaps I’m just a late bloomer, although I think it goes to show that artistry takes all forms – and it’s never too late to nurture a creative spark.
I moved to Melbourne from Scone as a little girl with Mum and my brother. We loved our city life. But there was something easeful, an exhale and inhale of fresh country air, coming back to Scone in the school holidays to be with Dad. I remember vividly the expanse of the countryside, horses roaming in front of far distant hills. Billy tea and tomato sandwiches down by the river, no matter the season.
Working for fashion label Mimco after school is where I found my passion for accessories, and learned the right design can truly elevate an outfit and say so much about the wearer.
While working in corporate Sydney, I realised I desperately needed something to pour my creative energies into. Something that was authentic, that felt like me. I started making head pieces at night as a way to decompress after a long day in the office – and soon, friends were making orders for special events.
Travelling back home to Scone for Christmas in 2019, a spark was lit. My dad had been battling cancer for nearly a decade, and time was precious with him. We were watching John Wayne movies, analysing the actors’ hats, marvelling at the stories they tell, when I turned to him and said, ‘that’s what I want to do’.
Entirely self-taught, I poured everything into experimenting and creating, crafting hats that personified the wearer. Setting up my stall in the hallowed aisles of Bondi Markets where so many great Australian creatives have started before, my love, sweat and tears culminated into the prototypes of the collections you see today. I nearly fell over when Delta Goodrem one day moseyed over and bought a hat – it cemented my vision that I could craft this beautiful product that resonated with storytellers.
I moved back to Scone to be near my beautiful family and set up my studio in my spare room. Just before he passed, Dad gifted me his extraordinary collection of hats – the beaten up felt work hat of my grandfather’s from the 60s, sweat stained and blanket-stitched with yarn around the crown. The short-brimmed fedora my then actor father wore on set, the day he met my mum. Hats that whisper of full lives lived richly.
In 2021, six-months to the day after my dad’s funeral, I opened the doors to our flagship store in Scone. In a time when businesses are moving online, I wanted something tangible, tactile, physical – a place where hat lovers could come and have an intimate, glorious experience feeling the felts and silks, surrounded by colour, helping to create something bespoke and long-lasting.
Sustainability is incredibly important to me. This is seen in my hat hooks fashioned from old horse shoes, the re-upholstered vintage couches, the 60-year-old fence posts from a nearby horse property and the half-burned ladder from an old orchard from which my silks hang. Longevity is the foundation upon which I have built my business. Looked after accordingly, my hats should be generational pieces – murmuring of the adventures collected over a lifetime.
Love, Laura xx