Palmer Adams Millinery Turns Two: A Reflection

On February 22nd, Palmer Adams Millinery turned two, and I neglected to celebrate this milestone in any real way. It wasn't that I forgot about my business anniversary. I've really just been too busy to properly acknowledge and reflect on another year of hatmaking. 

So now I have made a cup of tea, and I am going to sit here and tell you about the best parts of Year Two.  

The past year has been pretty wonderful -- filled with new friends, more customers, fresh opportunities, additional training, lots and lots of new fabric and supplies, and expansion of my hat block collection. It's truly been a year of growth -- consistent, organic growth. 

I just re-read my first-year reflection to see what my goals were for Year Two. I wrote that I wanted to work more with blocks, launch a bridal collection, have a felt hat collection ready for fall, and start doing trunk shows. None of that happened. 

But lots of other great things did. 

Here are the highlights:

I spent many months learning surface pattern design, and in April I made hats with fabric that I designed myself

A cloche made from my own fabric line

In May I made my first cocktail hat to wear to Afternoon Tea at The Drake Hotel in Chicago for Coronation Day and the Kentucky Derby. 

Enjoying afternoon tea at The Drake in my first cocktail hat

I continued to make mostly flat-pattern hats throughout the spring and summer, but more of my time and energy was going toward sketching and designing fabric. 

Summer was all about art classes, art outings, and drawing. I could not get enough of flora and fauna. 

Learning to watercolor elements for my fabric designs

By September I launched a children's collection. The bridal collection didn't happen, but the Wee Ones collection did in a big way. 

By the end of this past January, I had finally started focusing again on blocked hats. And in February I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to take a workshop with Jenny Pfanenstiel, Master Milliner and Official Milliner of the Kentucky Derby Museum. I learned to work with parasisal and sinamay and reinforced some of the skills I learned in previous workshops. 

Learning from Jenny Pfanenstiel in Kentucky

In my first-year reflection, I wrote that the highlight of that year had been the opportunity to learn from Monica Viani in Stratford, Ontario. Well, in Year Two, the highlight of my year was the opportunity to learn from Jenny Pfanenstiel. This was not something I had planned. I stumbled across the workshop announcement on social media less than a week before the start date, and I knew I had to be there.  

So what do I want in Year Three? 

That's actually an easy answer. 

Unlike in my first-year, when I didn't know where I was going and was just moving forward one hat at a time, Year Three is for the most part already laid out before me. After two years, I finally feel I have enough inventory to do artisan fairs. I have four shows scheduled now. This is a big step for me. 

I want to get full lines of blocked hats launched: parasisal and sinamay spring/summer hats and wool felt fall/winter hats. 

I want to build on my skills by learning more finishing techniques and learning how to make my own silk flowers. 

Here at the beginning of Year Three, I am growing out of my studio space. But I don't think I will have a solution for that this year. That is going to have to be a Year Four goal. In the meantime, I'll keep working in my happy little space where the morning sun fills my studio with the wondrous light of each new day. And all the possibilities of another year. 

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