Hatmaker Week 18, May 2019: Expansion with hired help - Working hours?

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The last orders from February are starting to take shape, but they are not yet completed. I worked on six hats at the same time and realized that this is my limit. 4 - 5 hats per week has been the norm but I decided to push it even further. Needles to see, I will not be working on 6 hats at one time ever again. If I had a helping hand I would be able to double my production of hats and shorten the delivery time. On the other hand, I am glad and truly blessed that orders keep on coming in for new exciting hats to be made.

This leaves, however, little room to be creative and make fedoras that I want to see on the shelves in the HUFVUD. studio. My mystery project is still on hold as I am filling orders. Ten - twelve hours per day, seven days a week making hats is simply not enough time to get things done faster. They say that hiring your first employee is as difficult as starting a business in the first place. It’s a mental barrier to overcome to entrust tasks to someone else to execute. I wouldn’t mind hiring, but hiring in Sweden is simply a hassle. It’s not only costly but the system makes it confusing and who would want to work ten hours per day making hats in the same manner as I do? Not many. Part timers perhaps or apprentice program would work.

The day I am overwhelmed with double the current orders is the day I will consider outside help. It is a reactive strategy but at this stage it would be too costly. Especially when my own salary just about covers living expenses. A very minimalist life style I might add. But when you love what you do and when making hats fills a very important segment of your life then anything is possible.

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Once I complete the final orders of February, which was a lot, then I can commence with March. If your order is from march then expect to be hearing from me soon as your hat will most likely be on the block next week.

There is a lot of stitching work left. Three hats need brim binding and the rest needs a crown ribbon and a liner attachment. It’s often not very time consuming, but when you only have one set of hands, it does take time. I am working on a 100X Beaver hat that is something very different from what I have done before. An outdoors hat that can take on the weather and still be a great companion in a city environment. With brim binding, the three inch brim will be the best weather protection there is. More on that as it progresses.

A 100X Beaver SVEN HOMBURG is starting to take shape. The brim binding on that hat is complete but still needs a few details and additional shaping of the crown to be considered done. It’s already starting to look and feel amazing. Another HJALMAR BOWLER in Emerald Gray is getting ready to have the brim shaped up before binding it with a brown ribbon. It’s the second hat in line fore brim binding, which puts it on hold for the moment.

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Two LEIFUR Lucky FEDORAS are currently being worked on. The first one, in Rabbit & Hare Blend, was completed yesterday and displayed below. The 100X version in Sable Brown has just had it’s sweatband attached and needs a ribbon to be completed. This one will be a bit different from the traditional version as the ribbon color is not the same. More LEIFUR FEDORAS are coming up as well as a replenishment of felts are coming in next week and a few weeks after.

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I can’t say for certain which additional hats I am working on next week. I normally start the week by blocking out additional hats and stitching the sweatbands throughout the late evenings. I need to focus on finishing up the ones I have started but I will attempt blocking out 2 - 3 new hats.

Currently working on

  • SVEN HOMBURG, 100X Beaver, Sable Brown

  • LEIFUR Lucky FEDORA, 100X Beaver, Sable Brown

  • CUSTOM ORDER, 100X Beaver, Sable Brown

  • HJALMAR BOWLER, 30X Beaver Blend, Emerald Gray

On the block next week

  • RAGNAR BOUND EDGE FEDORA, Rabbit & Hare Blend, Moss Green

  • RAGNAR BOUND EDGE FEDORA, Rabbit & Hare Blend, Moss Green

  • IVAR HOMBURG, Rabbit & Hare, Black

It’s not a mistake, I am making two of the same hat styles in the same color next week. It’s just a coincidence. Both bound edge too. Have not made a RAGNAR in a while, even though I know there are a couple of orders for it coming up next.

Have a great weekend!

Regards,

Mikael Einarsson | HUFVUD HATMAKER | Lund, Sweden