By Jennifer Vazquez, Correspondent
Have you ever been outside under the Texas sun and think “I need a hat?” Twenty-five years ago, Bill Coe and Roman Sue Coe, his wife, were out fishing when Bill decided that his current hat was just not doing the trick.
“I just kept getting frustrated. The wind kept blowing off my hat. Granted I was wearing a good hat, but I needed something more. I just wanted a hat to sit a little more snug to my head and not blow off each time the wind blew. I needed something with elastic.”
That day, Bill went home without any fish. It was that day that inspired Bill to create a better hat for fishing. “I just wanted a hat that would stay on my head and keep the sun off me.”
Bill Coe spent the next three months cutting fabric, finding elastic and wires to create the prefect hat. “You know, it’s a process. I had to experiment with different kinds of wires, fabrics, cuts and elastics. It’s important to have a wire brim in a hat. The wire brim is what gives it the shape. My hats are created with a wire that doesn’t rust, so you can put your hat in the washer and not worry about it rusting.”
Once Bill came up with his final hat design he filed for a patent. Then, Bill and Roman Sue Coe created Lady Hats.
“My wife and I did everything together. We shopped for fabrics together. We cut fabric together. We sewed hats together. Then we traveled all over to sell our hats. Romona passed away in 2017, but she’s with me everywhere I go. I have her picture over there.”
“The fabric is the most important part of each hat. The print of the fabric has to be something people will buy. I have everything from butterflies, flowers, frogs, patriotic, beach print, cats all the way to football teams. All the hats are lined in a solid fabric. That way you can reverse them.”
“I really like the Green Bay Packer’s hat. I’m big fan of Brett Favre,” said Yolanda Quezada. “It was during one of our trips to Wisconsin that I found the Green Bay fabric. It’s has been very popular.” said Bill.
Bill takes moment to show every customer the best method of putting on hats. “There’s a technique to getting a hat on. “I want my customers happy. I want them to look great in their hat. That’s why I take the time to show each and everyone how to put them on.”
Timothy Baker purchased a hat for his girlfriend’s mom. “She is always in the garden. Her birthday is in April. I know she will enjoy and use this hat all the time.”
Lou Ann Woder purchased a hat with a green shamrock print. “I love hats. I wear them all the time to protect my light complexion from the Texas sun.”
Bill Coe with Lady’s Hats can be found at the Belton Market Day in Belton, Texas. Bill sews each handmade hat for only $14.50. Lady’s Hats has a great selection of prints and colors; however, if you need a special hat Bill will make a hat for you. “I just need to know what color and what print you need. Then, I’ll make you the hat. I’ve done many special orders over the years. Just come by and visit with me.”
Hats off to you Bill!