Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 12, 2013.

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Please help Kitty Mae Millinery expand their line & create fabulous new Kentucky Derby hats for 2013!

Hello!  My name is Susan Dillon and I am a milliner (maker of lovely hats) in Denver, CO.  My line is called Kitty Mae Millinery - one of a kind hats & accessories for those who demand the spotlight!  I specialize in bespoke, couture and ready made hats & headpieces for anyone who wants all eyes on them.

Look!  It's me!
Look! It's me!

I discovered the world of millinery in 2008, and have been going full steam ever since.  What started as a little hobby of making fascinators & mini top hats for myself and other performers, became a passion (and profession) when I began offering bridal & couture styles in 2010.  And, once I discovered the process of hand blocking dress or Kentucky Derby style hats, all thought of doing anything else was gone!  I ADORE hats... making them, wearing them, seeing others wear them, talking about them, anything to do with hats... I am happy to take part!

I am a self taught milliner... everything I know comes from trial & error, a couple of books and a few internet searches.  It's the process I love more than anything.  Hat making is almost sculptural; I often think of what I create as more art than fashion (but it is art you can wear)!  From molding the materials on blocks, assembling the combination of brim & crown (or fascinator base) to determine the style of the hat, and all the way to choosing & manipulating the embellishments to finish the piece, each step is fascinating and immensely rewarding for me. 

A large bow fascinator rocking the runway
A large bow fascinator rocking the runway
Spring 2012 dress hat
Spring 2012 dress hat
Wool cloche with a handmade silk rose
Wool cloche with a handmade silk rose

In 2012, I offered dress hats for the Kentucky Derby for the first time.  American milliners can really let loose on hats for the Kentucky Derby... it's our one domestic event renowned for hat wearing.  I sold more than a dozen handmade hats, each unique and several made to order, with 3 actually traveling to Kentucky to attend the Derby in person!

Shirley's custom Derby hat- She went to Kentucky with it!
Shirley's custom Derby hat- She went to Kentucky with it!

I am ready to expand, both professionally and creatively.  And, in order to expand, I need to be able to offer even more incredible styles for the upcoming  2013 Kentucky Derby.  And that means ordering new blocks.  These blocks will allow me almost exponential growth in the fabulous hats I can create.  But blocks are expensive, and you need a different one for each different style or size. I would also like to help bring back "hat culture" (really just celebrate the art of dressing up), by throwing a Kentucky Derby event here in Denver where we will also show off the Kentucky Derby and Spring/Summer 2013 line.

And I need your help!

I am asking for your help to purchase the blocks and materials to make the 2013 Spring/Summer Dress & Derby hats & to help fund our Kentucky Derby event to celebrate the line.  There are so many rewards available to thank you for your help.  Every little bit helps, and your support will be truly appreciated. In this era of mass produced goods & quantity over quality, a business where EVERYTHING is handmade one stitch at a time is rarity.  Please help me keep the handmade millinery tradition alive, and with it, my dream of being able to do what I love for a very long time!

Thank you so much for your support!

Susan -AKA- "Kitty Mae"

~New!  Pictures of rewards!!~

I have had some time to make some samples of the incentives for support, so I thought I would pass some images along!

For a pledge of $15, you will get one hand made hat/stick pin.  Each one is unique, and goes beautifully on your hat or jacket lapel.

Pretty hat pins!  One could be yours for $15!
Pretty hat pins! One could be yours for $15!

For $55 support, you will receive a beautiful, hand made silk rose pin in hot pink.  These flowers are all made by me, each petal is cut by hand then pressed with two different flower irons one at a time to make the fluffy rose.  It is huge, too... almost 8 inches across!  I normally sell this style & size rose for $75, but here is your chance to get your own for a bargain AND help out a small business!

Hot pink silk rose pin... gorgeous!!
Hot pink silk rose pin... gorgeous!!

The "Cocktail hat thank you" in black, is your only chance to get this piece... I will only make them for Kickstarter supporters!  Its is a button style base with a black sinamay flower, black stripped rooster feathers and a a spiral curled peacock sword.  It is finished with a bow of black veiling, and mounted on a headband.  This is one of the rewards for $150 in support.

Fabulous cocktail hat in black
Fabulous cocktail hat in black

And finally, a new reward!!  A hand made silk bridal bouquet in two tones of red with vines of green silk & fresh water pearls.  Each petal is cut one by one & shaped with two flower irons... a time consuming process (with over 150 petals) but with beautiful results!  This style bouquet (10 sweetheart roses and 3 vines) normally retails for $450, but I will make one for you for a pledge of $350!  There are only four available, so don't miss out! 

Sweetheart rose bridal bouquet... NEW REWARD!
Sweetheart rose bridal bouquet... NEW REWARD!

NEW PICTURES!!

I have gotten a couple requests to post some pictures of some of the other rewards.  I have finished a sample of the bridal fascinator reward, so here it is!

The bridal fascinator incentive... cream & rhinestones!
The bridal fascinator incentive... cream & rhinestones!

And, because I shot this against a white wall, you lose the veiling & feathers.  So here is a shot on a dark background.  You can see the detail of the ruffly petals, all hand formed, and the rhinestone center as well (and did you notice the rhinestone teardrops at the base of the feathers?). 

I do love rhinestones!
I do love rhinestones!

I would normally sell this piece for $175, but, as a "thank you" for supporting my Kickstarter campaign, you can get this hand made pretty created especially for your big day for $125!  

Now to finish the Derby Fascinator!  Pictures as soon as I do!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The biggest challenge will be increasing the rate of production of the hats should the orders come in at a higher rate than I anticipated. Although I would LOVE to have more orders than I can handle, I do recognise that this is a possibility as I do all of the work myself. I have begun training interns in millinery to assist me should this happen. I would welcome enough orders to afford the opportunity to hire assistants, and pass on my love for millinery and hats (as well and provide gainful employment for others)!

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    The "Thank You" Thank You- A shout out & thanks on our website & Facebook page

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    The "Big Sticky" Thank You- A Kitty Mae "Meow Meow" sticker, and a shout out & thanks on the website & Facebook page

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    A "Noteworthy" Thank You- A Kitty Mae Millinery & Accessories notepad, and a shout out & thanks on the website & Facebook page

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    The "Hat Pin" Thank You- A limited edition hat/stick pin (only available on Kickstarter) designed & created by Kitty Mae, and a shout out & thanks on the website & Facebook page

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    The "Gold Showgirl" Thank You- A custom made Kitty Mae Millinery Showgirl clip in gold sequins & black accents, PLUS a Kitty Mae "Meow Meow" sticker, and a shout out & thanks on the website & Facebook page.

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    The "Kitty Mae Note card Set" Thank You- A set of 4 custom made Kitty Mae Millinery note cards and envelopes, PLUS a Kitty Mae Millinery & Accessories notepad, and a shout out & thanks on the website & Facebook page.

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    The "Silver Showgirl" Thank You- A custom made Kitty Mae Millinery Showgirl clip in silver sequins & black accents, PLUS a Kitty Mae "Meow Meow" sticker, and a shout out & thanks on the website & Facebook page.

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    The "Fiber Art" Thank You- A one of a kind fiber art postcard hand made for you by Kitty Mae (mailed in an envelope so you can display it or send it to someone else), PLUS a Kitty Mae "Meow Meow" sicker, and a shout out & thanks on the website & Facebook page.

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    The "Silk Rose" Thank You- A hot pink silk dupioni rose, hand made for you by Kitty Mae and mounted on a pin back, PLUS a Kitty Mae "Meow Meow" sticker, PLUS a Kitty Mae Millinery & Accessories notepad, and a shout out & thanks on the website & Facebook page.

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    3 backers

    The "Two Pin" Thank you!- A hot pink, handmade silk rose pin AND a limited edition hat/stick pin, both hand made by Kitty Mae, PLUS a Kitty Mae "Meow Meow" sticker, PLUS a Kitty Mae Millinery & Accessories note pad, PLUS a shout out & thank you on our website & Facebook page.

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    The "Bridal Fascinator" Thank You- Okay brides-to-be, this one is for you (and a bargain, as this fascinator is a $175)! You get a custom made bridal fascinator made from a creme silk organza & dupioni flower with a rhinestone center, a spray of veiling & feathers all mounted on a comb, PLUS a shout out & thanks on our website & Facebook page.

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    4 backers Limited (6 left of 10)

    The "Cocktail Hat" Thank you in Black- A limited edition black sinamay cocktail hat made exclusively for the KickStarter campaign embellished with black veiling & peacock feathers, and mounted on a headband, AND a Kitty Mae “Meow Meow” Sticker, AND a shout out & thank you on our website & Facebook page.

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    3 backers Limited (7 left of 10)

    The "Derby Fascinator" Thank You- A limited edition Kentucky Derby Fascinator of black sinamay embellished with green horsehair crin, feathers and sinamay spirals (held on head with elastic band). PLUS a Kitty Mae “Meow Meow” Sticker, PLUS a shout out and thank you on our website & Facebook page

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    The "Cocktail Hat" Thank You in Fuchsia-A limited edition fuchsia sinamay cocktail hat made exclusively for the KickStarter campaign embellished with black veiling & ostrich feathers, and mounted on a headband, AND a Kitty Mae “Meow Meow” Sticker, AND a shout out & thank you on our website & Facebook Page.

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    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    The "Two Season Cloche" Thank You- A black straw cloche for Spring/Summer AND a black wool felt cloche for Fall/Winter, AND A limited edition hat / stick pin designed and created by Kitty Mae (available only on KickStarter), AND a Kitty Mae “Meow Meow” Sticker, AND a shout out and thank you on our website & Facebook Page

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    The "Sweetheart Silk Rose Bouquet" Thank You- A beautiful bouquet of handmade silk roses in two tones of red, and vines of green silk with freshwater pearls. Over 150 petals, each cut out one at a time and formed with 2 separate irons, are used to create this bouquet. The wire "stems" are wrapped in silk, and then wrapped in a creme satin ribbon with a rhinestone embellishment. This bouquet would normally sell for $425, but you can receive your own as a thank you for support of $350. An heirloom that you can treasure for years and years!

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    The "Girls Night Out" Thank You- A package for TWO ladies! You EACH get a limited edition, handmade Kitty Mae fascinator (black sinamay, feathers, & veiling) and hair & makeup and a photoshoot from Norman Dillon Photography (with an 8x10 print for each of you), and then we send you off to hit the town (travel, lodging & night on the town expenses not included), AND a shout out & thank you on our website& Facebook page.

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    The DELUXE Local Kitty Mae Millinery Derby Package- One hat from the 2013 Kentucky Derby collection, a photoshoot of you and your hat with Norman Dillon Photography, (with Hair & Makeup provided), and an 8x10 print, a copy of Kitty Mae: The Art of style featuring YOU as a special guest interview, along with an image from your photoshoot! VIP for The Kitty Mae 2013 Kentucky Derby Event TBA and transportation to & from the event (does not include lodging or transportation to/from Denver), and a schwag bag of goodies. We will also give you a shout out & thank you on our website & Facebook page.

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    The ULTIMATE Kitty Mae Millinery Derby 2013 Package- One hat from the 2013 Kentucky Derby collection, a photoshoot of you and your hat with Norman Dillon Photography, with Hair & Makeup provided, and an 8x10 print. A copy of "Kitty Mae: The Art of Style" featuring an you as a special guest interview, along with an image from your photoshoot! VIP for The Kitty Mae 2013 Kentucky Derby Event TBA. Airfare within the Continental US to Denver, Hotel accommodations for two nights, Transportation to and from your photo shoot and event, as well as dinner with Kitty Mae, (this package covers the cost of ONE individual only), and a schwag bag of goodies. We will also give you a shout out & thank you on our website & Facebook page.

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Funding period

- (60 days)