Dixon Rand has collaborated with select artisans to create unique items that showcase great creativity and exceptional quality. With a commitment to products designed and crafted in the U.S.A., each individual brand tells a story of the entrepreneurial spirit we so embrace and cherish.
DR: Why did you start your business? How did it evolve from initial idea to what it is today?
Parker: My company was founded out of necessity and true passion. As a vintage collector in Prescott, AZ, I had a difficult time finding hats my size. I've got a big head and folks did not back in the Wild West days. I figured if I couldn't find them, I'd make them. I also found that there weren't many milliners focusing on traditional western hats, at least the shapes I really appreciated. And when I did they were modernized in a way I felt took away the authenticity. The inspiration behind Bowman Hat Co will always be to dig up lost history and try to recreate, preserve, and hopefully inspire others to do the same.
DR: What makes Bowman Hat Co unique in the millinery world?
Parker: Instead of focusing on what's 'hot' or trendy, I focus on the replication and historical preservation of hat styles that are often overlooked. That's unique in today's world of making for the sake of fashion trend. I collect old photographs and catalogues and use those as my guide. So I guess I'm creating what was a big seller just 100 years later. I rarely make an exact replica...that's where I see the similarity between Bowman Hat Co and Dixon Rand.
DR: Describe some of the specific artisan techniques used in your business that contribute to the end result of your products?
Parker: All of my tools are either antique, or I made them myself; each hat is truly handmade. I handblock my hats using old techniques. I hand pounce all my hats. And up until recently (with the aquisition of an antique Specialty Singer machine), I completely hand sewed them. Each hat has hours of love and work into it. I partner with each customer on every detail (personalized sweatbands, ribbons, shapes, final finishes) in hopes to make them as unique as possible.
DR: Tell us about yourself? What does a typical day look like?
Parker: As the sole owner and operator of Bowman Hat Co, everything is made by yours truly. I typically pick one hat to focus on a day (each hat takes about 1-2 days to complete). I usually start my morning by cutting and fitting a couple of sweatbands and then custom foil stamp them with the customer's requests. The next couple of hours are spent sewing the sweatband in and getting ribbon work prepped...then comes shaping. That's what I enjoy the most...it's when a hat really takes shape (pun intended). You can almost always find my dog, Odie, by my side.
DR: Does your business have a social or humanitarian element to it?
Parker: I feel a strong responsibility towards supporting local artists and craftsmen. Preserving traditional methods of the make of my products is important to me. These methods seems to be disappearing in modern America; I'd like to believe we'd accept quality products over mass production.
DR: What's next? Any new ideas you are working on?
Parker: Pretty soon I'll be starting a project I'm really excited about. Recently I had the opportunity to repair one of Tom Mix's personal hats, that was a thrill. I t had an 8" crown and 6" brim, a true 10 gallon hat. I am having furfelts created for me big enough to recreate this exact hat. I'll be making a small batch of them and expect these to be quite a site to see (and for some lucky cowboy to purchase).