Dear True West Hats Friends and family,
I’m sure you have heard it a plenty, but what a year 2020 was! The experience of the ups and downs was intense and hopefully in 2021 we are coming out the other side. This year has been one of extreme rapid growth, not only for Charlie and I as humans but the metamorphosis of our business as well. As we were faced with either growing and adapting or caving in, which we felt strongly to do many times, we chose to adapt. We paused, evaluated, reached inside to see if our passions were aligning, and now we have come out the other side. Our journey has taken us through the extremes of highs and lows.
March 2020 - Our art show for New Mexico cancelled just 1 day before we were to attend. And the award for small business of Colorado at the Governor’s Mansion in Colorado, also cancelled just 1 week before we were to be honored.
April to May 2020 - Our business was required to close and we felt our livelihood was over and the state of the world was in shambles. We made gowns for the local hospital and helped make masks. Then, we checked out and headed to the desert and camped.
June - October - We finally opened and people flooded to the mountains towns our business thrived as people came from all over to custom design a hat with us. However, art show after art show cancelled, Telluride Blues and Brews cancelled, and we felt the unavoidable end. Paonia was almost a ghost town in the winter… we had to do something else.
October - We packed up our shop, packed up our house, and with heavy protest from the kids - headed to adventure.
October to January - Ecuador -traveling to Ecuador had always been on our to do list and even more so when we started making our straw hats as the cones we make the hats out of are all hand-woven in Ecuador. Taking the down time, we set out to visit the weavers and we headed to Ecuador. Maybe not everyone’s idea of a good time for international travel during a pandemic as we look back - but we made it with only a few bumps along the road.
Ecuador - we traveled from the coast to Cuenca and down to Vilcabamba. We met with weavers and designers, swam in the ocean, hiked in the forest, and lived in eternal spring eating 3 mangos a day.
We hibernated in Ecuador for a while and weren’t sure of how to return or even if we would. We felt beat up and saddened. Every morning throughout this entire time we would wake and discuss, how can we mentally make our way out in the best manner possible. What were we going to do? But as we contemplated life, our conviction strengthened and our hope grew. The summer had really shook us in a way that held on to our spirits - people love our hats and traveled to custom design them with us and we loved making them. However, the part of our business where we attended 16 art markets for the summer and 10 in the winter was exhausting. Hauling the kids all over each weekend was hard. Living in Paonia was in fact wonderful, but as our business grew, we knew we needed to find a place with a little more happening so people could come to us. We debated every ski town in Colorado, we looked at Oregon, we thought of New Mexico, and we thought of Arizona. We made cases for each and every place, but with a desire to be closer to April’s family and so many other reasons, Sedona, we felt, is our best option.
So, as we emerge from 2020, I can’t help think that we are emerging as a butterfly does from their cocoon. We have new line of straw hats coming after spending so much time in Ecuador, we are introducing Soltree Sedona, a focus on products that are quality and ethically made by us or by others as we grow and bring even more products on. And, True West Hats opens in a beautiful new location in Uptown Sedona. Our grand-opening will be March 1st. Production is open now, hats are being made, websites being updated, retail shop is being built out, kids are getting in to school and we encounter life head on with zest, love for what we do, and excitement to be a part of this world no matter what. We love this adventure… and so we begin again!
Opening goal March 1, 2021!
True West Hats - Charlie, April, Willow and Luz!
To New adventures.