Hatmaker Week 25, June 2019: Support Small Businesses. Help someone to live another day.

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This weekend is the yearly midsummer celebration in Sweden. Nor rain or snow would stop the swedes from drinking and singing at the summer table, filled with everything from pickled herring to the most wonderful boiled potato. Dancing takes place around a raised 4m pole in the ground. Search for midsummer celebration in Sweden on YouTube and you are in for a treat.

I stumbled upon a Facebook post this week that really got me thinking. I hope it had the same impact on others as it had on me. Making hats is my full time job. It’s the core income stream that I have that pays for housing and food. It does not leave extra room to splurge on clothing and luxuries. I get as excited and hopeful every time i receive a new custom order. Immediately I know that part of it will go to covering my living expenses. The following statement is for every single small business owner out there and I hope it will open your eyes to what impact your support has on them.

Picture this. A celebrity releases a new perfume for their clothing line. Immediately there is a huge success and sales go through the roof. Millions are cashed in and the world continues to spin.

At the other side of the spectrum. A regular person that is working, 9 - 5, on a regular job for several years. Gets burned out from the stress of a daily routine and from coworkers who bully, every single day. That same person decides to take a leap of faith and starts a business. Borrowing capital from friends and family, after being refused by the bank, the business takes off. Personal spending stops completely. Only necessities to stay alive are priorities. A person with kids would have to think seriously about where the next meal will come from. The stress is still there, though the motivation is stronger. At least for a while.

The newly started small business caters well to the environment. Potential for additional hiring (job creation) and creating sustainable products the world really needs. Prices are slightly higher than the average mass-produced product in the same category and it still nearly covers the cost of sales. With the optimism still intact the struggle continues with competing in a world that is still focusing on mass commercial success. Shark Tank success demands you to take your idea, move production to China and aim for a prime shelf at Target. Heavy pollutants, low paid workforce and a product that lasts for a week. Profit margins? Similar to Celebrity perfume sales.

The day someone decides to support a small local business, paying a bit more for a quality product made locally and that lasts for a lifetime, is the day that the person behind the product can take another deep breath. In some cases a family can put food on the table.

I support small businesses whenever I can. Having had, and still having, the first hand experience in starting a business, I opt for going for something locally made rather than big market items. It’s not always possible and many times the wallet will speak out loudly. But if I do, I personally feel happier to know that I supported someone who is trying to work and stay alive.

Etsy.com is a great place to find local makers that are either starting or are already established. Though be aware that Etsy takes 5 - 9 % of the sales on every transaction (9% in my case) and in addition the local country taxation can be anything from 15 - 30% on sales additionally (25% for me). A high price is payed and the largest chunk of the profit that should go to the makers pocket vanishes in taxation. Building a trusted personal website takes time but it helps to reduce the costs a bit (transaction fee through my site is 5% average).

If you want to make an impact, then support small businesses every time you get the chance to.

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Here is what I have finished this week and still working on for the next.

Stages of making a HUFVUD hat:

  • STAGE 1: Prepare and block out the hat (2 day process at most)

  • STAGE 2: Prepare and Stitch Sweatband - > Stamp Sweatband and Assemble (1 day)

  • STAGE 3: Attach Sweatband to the trimmed felt - > Shape and trim the brim (1 Day)

  • STAGE 4: Brim binding ( Part I, II or III) - Attach crown ribbon (2 - 3 days sewn by hand)

  • STAGE 5: Attach Liner and crease the crown/ brim -> All final touches (1 Day)

I will include these stages in future posts and you will be able to see which stage each hat is on.

Completed Hats:

  • SVEN HOMBURG, Rabbit & Hare Blend, SABLE BROWN

  • LEIFUR Lucky FEDORA, 30X Beaver, SABLE BROWN

  • LEIFUR Lucky FEDORA, 100X Beaver, DARK BROWN RUST

Currently Working On:

  • LEIFUR Lucky FEDORA, Rabbit & Hare, SAGE GREEN - STAGE 4

  • LEIFUR Lucky FEDORA, Rabbit & Hare Blend, SABLE BROWN - STAGE 3

  • LEIFUR Lucky FEDORA, 30X Beaver, SABLE BROWN - STAGE 3

  • RAGNAR FEDORA, 100X Beaver, DARK BROWN RUST - STAGE 2

On The Block Next Week:

  • LEIFUR Lucky FEDORA, Rabbit & Hare Blend, SABLE BROWN

  • LEIFUR Lucky FEDORA, 100X Beaver, SABLE BROWN

  • FLOKI FEDORA, 100X Beaver, SABLE BROWN

Have a great weekend and a lovely summer!

Regards,

Mikael Einarsson | HUFVUD HATMAKER | Lund, Sweden