Peak & Brim Hats Tells All!
I have known Sophia Kathalina from Peak & Brim Hats for a number of years, from my last job and now with my own company. I knew she would be an important part of the Rain Hat Collection. A joy and a ray of light to work with...
Let's start this interview with a difference!
What three words best describe you?
Creative, ambitious and knowledgeable of my art.
What three words best describe your hats?
Unique, well-made and affordable
When did you know that you wanted to become a milliner and who or what inspired you?
My background is tailoring and I have a degree in fashion and textiles. I went on to work with quite a few fashion businesses in Birmingham and Leicester, where l had a very special client who asked me to design and make several vintage 1940s and 50s suits and hats for her. I did, and she was absolutely thrilled, looked gorgeous and told me I should look to sell them. I booked a table at my local university to sell them and sold out. From that Peak & Brim Designer Hats was born in 1990 and my 1st shop was opened.
My inspiration was an amazing designer who is English, but who went to live in America called Louise Green. I absolutely adored her work. Twenty years later when I joined Instagram and started posting photographs of my hats, I received a private message from her, saying how she absolutely loved the style of my work. I was blown away with pride, and I am happy to say she’s been a friend of mine ever since. She was and is my inspiration.
What skills do you need to become a milliner? Are there any qualifications or courses that you would recommend?
I am very lucky because I have a strong background in textiles and design. I completed an intensive course in pattern cutting and tailoring for both costumes, fashion and headwear. After completing this, I worked for many fashion houses as well as on the shop floor of many factories to hone my skills and keep me grounded.
I have learned that when designing, always look at how your design sits with your customers, and when completed listen to what your customers say about the design and how you can improve that design. Always looking for quality and a good finish is very important to me.
Describe a typical day
My usual day starts at 7 am with a note pad by my side, a cup of coffee in one hand and my phone in the other to do all my social media posts. The pad is because during the night I usually have some inspiration about something I want to design for that season, and I can't wait to draw it down in detail so that when I'm in my workshop I can make the first sample.
Then once in my workshop I go up to my studio and look on my “to do” board to see what needs doing for the day. Now that's only if I'm not packing and selecting hats for one of the many exhibition/shows we do all around the country.
What do you love most about your job?
The thing I love most about my job, apart from meeting so many amazing customers, who have now become such good friends and are so supportive of everything I do, is the freedom that it allows me to be creative and do the things I always want to do.
I feel incredibly lucky to be working in an environment I love and after all these years still love. I feel very blessed.
What’s the worst part of your job?
Oh that’s very simple, administration. I absolutely hate paperwork and that’s why I have the amazing Jane who does it all for me. I'm very lucky.
If you could advise your fifteen year old self, what would it be?
I don’t really think you know really what you want when you’re 15, and I don’t think you really know what you want when you’re 20. I think you start to know what you want when you’re in your mid 20 ’s (well I did). And what would I advise myself? I’m not sure, because whatever decisions I made when I was younger, and jobs I did, I really enjoyed, and to be honest, they all were made, for the end result which I am doing now.
If you could have any celebrity as a brand and ambassador wearing your hat who would it be and why?
The person I would pick is Megan Markle and the reason why is because she’s an outsider as I feel I am sometimes when I go to shows/exhibitions. People don’t expect it to be me that designed and made these hats. Megan is a trail blazer and reminds me a lot of Princess Diana. I would love her to wear one of my hats.
But I am proud to say Princess Anne owns two of my hats!
What do you love Most about the rain?
People wearing my hats of course!
Is there anything else that you would like us to mention in the blog about Peak & Brim Hats?
I’m very proud to say that a few years ago I was approached to sell my hats at Highclere Castle the home of Downton Abbey. We also sell in many other Stately homes here and abroad as well as many shops.
I am very proud of my brand, and I’m very happy to have been well received both here and abroad. My hats are created for women who want to be unique, individual and want to be recognised for who they are. And want to wear a quality product that is designed by an English designer.
Please do take a look at the fabulous Peak & Brim Hats and be tempted! You will love Sophia's style and quality of hats
Here are a few testimonials:
Alison Lancaster - Nola hat
'The hat Nola is so comfortable to wear, stays on in the very high winds and keeps your head warm and above all dry. Delighted with my purchase.'
JLE Wilmot - Bonnie hat
'Great quality hat. Loved it and so stylish.'
Carmen Dominguez - Clara hat
'Practical and beautiful.'