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Creativity – Hat Designer Barbara Cobb

Aug 12 2014

by Whitney Long

In this series on The Southern C, meet some great Southern creative minds – the artists, designers, makers and doers – that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity. Go behind the scenes to see where they work, what they are working on, the path that led them to this moment and just what made them “take the leap” from idea to doing.

The subjects may vary but most share many of the paradoxical traits of creative individuals – they daydream, observe, ask big questions, people watch, seek new experiences, view life as an opportunity for self-expression, take risks and bounce back all while following their true passions. We hope you will be inspired as we spotlight the creativity that abounds in our region. According to Einstein, “Creativity is contagious” and this is one thing we are happy to spread!

This week we meet Atlanta native and Dallas based hat designer Barbara Cobb. Barbara had an idea, based on a personal need, and created a company that specializes in creating stylish, comfortable hats that are sized to fit. Great for the beach, sporting events, or just around town, Barbara’s hats are custom sized and hand-made in the US. She offers over 100 fabrics to mix and match and topped off with a monogram, every hat becomes one of a kind. Sounds like a Southern creative to me!

Barbara Cobb Brim Couture

Describe your brand and business:

Launching Barbara Cobb Brim Couture two years ago came from a vision of allowing everyone to have a hat that fit well. I was always frustrated trying to find a hat that fit correctly myself because I have a larger head. All the hats left a crease on my forehead!

Now we make cute custom hats (hand bags soon, too) where women have a lot of fun choosing their personal fit, style, fabric combinations, and if they want a monogram.

I feel like hats are better than jewelry or lipstick, because they’re a statement piece that makes a girl feel like she’s the belle of the ball. As one client described after receiving her first hat, “this is portable joy” and that our hats make people feel good!

What’s a “normal” day like in your work space or studio/gallery:

Well, my studio is really my living room. And if we’re being honest here, there is lots of coffee involved! Whether it’s getting ready for a trunk show (we’ll do about a 100 this year), designing new styles, or finding great new fabrics that go well together, there is not typical day.

Recently we have been spending a lot of time on our new website which enables the buyer to you “click and build” their own hat by choosing different fabrics, styles, and monogram. It’s really exciting and fun!

How has your background influenced your work?

I grew up in Atlanta and worked for the Ritz Carlton hotels for many years. Because of this, really, really good customer service is engrained in my vision for the company. I think I’m just a pleaser.

Also I grew up in a house with an artist mother and three creative sisters who all loved fashion. We still laugh when we think of the days where we would sneak around the house and steal each other’s clothes before school. I think my sister Mary Mac still has one of my sweaters!

What was the catalyst to “take the leap” from idea to doing?

I actually thought about the business for a long time before I started it. I was looking for something to do and my husband said, “Why don’t you just do that hat thing?” Funny because now he is full time running the business side of things.

Favorite blogs, websites or other sources of inspiration:

I really like clean lines, so you might be surprised that I love classics like Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, and Lily Pulitzer and a brand called Kule.

High and low of being a “creative entrepreneur”:

High would have to be seeing the excitement of customers when they put on their new hat for the first time. The shows are also fun because everyone has a good time with each other trying new fabric combinations and styles. The low or stressful part would definitely be having high expectations that I have for the brand quality during the process. I always want to please so I can put too much pressure on myself by making it too personal.

Favorites Speed Round

Escape:

My greatest escape is just finding quality time to spend with my husband and three children. We also have an English bulldog named Mable, who is full of beans.

Book:

People Magazine (I know, I know… does that count?!)

Indulgence:

America’s Got Talent. Trashy TV in general that’s funny. I love to laugh.

Quote(s):

“An Attitude of Gratitude” and The Lord’s Prayer

For more of Whitney’s Southern Creatives Q&A’s click the names below:

Andrea Gray Harper

Emily Bargeron

Erin Gregory

Harrison Blackford

Meredith Anne Sutton

Elizabeth Stafford White and Jacquelyn Stafford Buckner

Amy Kinslow

Whitney Wise Long, co-founder of The Southern C and contributing editor for Southern Living, loves to connect with Southern entrepreneurs and learn more about their creative endeavors. This series – “In the Studio With” – offers her the perfect opportunity to do so!

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Whitney Long View More Blog Posts from this Author

Whitney Long is co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit. Mama x 4, wife x 1. Entrepreneur, thinker, doer, writer, researcher, believer. Enjoys working alongside creative entrepreneurs to build community while supporting established and upcoming brands. Hobbies include travel, reading, bike rides and clever craft cocktails.

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