Jo Jo Hats - An Exclusive Interview!
We are thrilled to be selling Jo Jo Hats. Jacqui Osborne, the creator and maker of the most stunning rain hats, is a delight to work with. I am so pleased we have found each other!
Thank you Jacqui for being my May blog subject! So lovely to get to know you better and for our customers to learn more about their potential hat maker.
How and when did you get into millinery?
I have always been able to sew since I was a small child but I was never going to sew for a living. However, back in the early 90’s life had different plans for me. When I had a small daughter and floppy velvet Paddington hats were very fashionable I made us one each. And everyone loved them, so much so that I soon had a business making them for friends and family. I discovered I had found myself a business I could pursue around a small child. I made hats during the week, as and when I could, then took them to St Nicholas’ Market in Bristol every Saturday where I had a stall in the foyer. I also found I loved sewing hats! Later on I started doing small craft fairs but quickly moved on to large craft fairs and shows all around the country. These days I am full time in Tavistock Pannier Market and only go to three shows a year, Devon County Show, the Royal Cornwall Show and Truro Christmas Market.
Describe a typical working day.
My week is divided into two very different work environments. Both of which I thoroughly enjoy. Three days a week you will find me in my beautiful work shop at the bottom of our garden. This was purpose built for me by my husband nearly two years ago. It’s a log cabin and is kitted out exactly as I wanted it with my machines, cutting table and fabrics. In here I will design, cut and make my hats. What I do depends on the time of year but I usually spend some time cutting, and some time sewing, and some time hand finishing the decorations on the hats.
The other three days are spent selling hats in Tavistock Pannier Market where I have my hat shop. This is such a great place to meet my lovely customers. Who would think the public could be so nice, but hat customers certainly are.
What is the best & worst thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is seeing that fabulous smile on someone’s face when she tries on ‘the’ hat for her for the first time. I just love the fact I can make ladies feel so good about themselves. The worst thing? Cutting satin linings. In fact I’ve given up with them. They never go where you want them.
You are based in beautiful Devon - how much around you inspires you?
Well, if you lived in the second wettest town in England (Tavistock) and tried to think positively you might come up with waterproof rain hats too!! But seriously, I am so fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK (and I have lived in some of the worst) that it is inspiring just to get up in the morning and see the countryside around me. The moors are wild and beautiful and the rivers are like none I’ve ever seen anywhere else, just amazing.
What advice would you give to an up and coming milliner?
Listen to your customers. Hear what they are trying to tell you about your designs. Work hard and bit by bit always try to improve in every way.
What is the best advice you have been given?
There are no short cuts if you want to give your customers a quality product and quality service.
Is there a hat wearer that you admire or a hat maker that has inspired you?
Who can not admire Kate Middleton? She has so much style. But on a more everyday level I admire any person, male or female, who wears a hat well, and enjoys wearing it. There is no hat maker who has inspired me because the well known ones make hats very different to mine. These are usually blocked with many processes involved in their making. Mine may have many pieces in them but they are made on sewing machines. To be perfectly frank it is my customers as hat wearers who inspire me to make new designs as I must be able to see them wearing them. And it always goes back to what I said earlier…..listen to your customers!
If you could make a hat for anyone famous who would it be?
Eliza Acty a young up and coming jazz singer from Devon who has several of my hats. She’s beautiful inside and out.
We love your rain hats, have you any plans to make more styles of rain hats?
Yes, we have two new styles about to hit the website. Bonnie and Cassie (just realised it should’ve been Bonnie and Clyde!)
Currant rain hats - new styles coming soon!
What do you like the best about rain?
I love the cleansing effect it has on the world around us. I love hearing it on the metal clad roof of my workshop when I’m warm and cosy and working inside. And I love to see the river Tavy in Tavistock in full roar when we have had too much rain. I find the power mesmerising.
Is there anything else you would like me to mention about you and your business in my blog?
Having started with velvet hats in the winter I added rain hats after two or three years. These have proved to be very successful over the years and we sell them all year round if the weather is bad. When I first started summer was a slow time. This has changed as we now make a whole range of sun hats of which I’m very proud, I love making them as the colours are so cheerful. We now make lots of hats for all seasons.
Please take a look at our collection of Jo Jo Hats suitable for the rain, wind and whatever else the British weather has to throw at us!