Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Unexpected Journey of a Kentucky Derby Hat

When I found it, I had to buy it. Even if I would never make it to the Kentucky Derby.
Maybe one of my Etsy shop customers would, I thought. It was definitely an amazing vintage hat!

So I took some pix in my studio, like this one:

and put my beautiful hat online. The description read, in part:

"What a spectacular vintage hat this is, created out of 100% red wool and decorated with a black velvet band, feathers, lace, and large black velvet flower...The label inside reads Toucan Collection, New York. In excellent condition, this gorgeous, classy hat is perfect for any dressy event, like a wedding, Easter--or the Kentucky Derby!"

It was in my shop for a few weeks, and then, finally, I heard that "cha-CHING" that's the happy sound from my iPhone's Etsy app indicating a sale.

But I was curious about the buyer, so I wrote to her and said "This is truly a lovely hat--you must be going to Derby Day!"

And she wrote back: "Oh, I wish! I'm hosting a Kentucky Derby Bridal Shower for 50 in black and white with red. The bride is marrying a Kentucky boy. This will be part of my main centerpiece and I HOPE to wear it to the Kentucky Derby next year! I searched and searched and this was the prettiest one I found."

I wrote back: "That sounds fantastic! If you have time, I'd love to have a picture of the centerpiece with the hat. And you definitely should wear it to the Kentucky Derby next year."

About a month passed and then the buyer, Jody Smalley, wrote back and sent me to the Badollet House Bed and Breakfast on Facebook (which she owns and runs in Salem, Illinois), where pictures of the Kentucky Derby Bridal Shower were posted:

How creative and festive was this party! And how pleased I am to have helped Jody with her Kentucky Derby-themed shower decor.

But next year, she really needs to wear this fabulous hat to the real Derby!


  1. Great story Chris. I will click from here to your page, and I hope you can visit my shop through my blog... https://rescuers-of-history.mn.co/posts/1192615

  2. What a beautiful hat and a great story! I hope she does get to wear it to the Derby!

  3. What fun, Kris. I love how you got a follow up story about your gorgeous hat.